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Chula Vista American 10U All-Stars make trek to SoCal sub-division tournament Phillip Brents | Fri, Jul 18 2014 06:46 PM

While the 10U Division in Little League Baseball does not have a national championship tournament, it does award titles at the state level. In California, teams play for regional championships.

Chula Vista American Little League remains in the running for a Southern California state title after winning the California Section 7 championship Tuesday at the Sweetwater Valley Little League complex on the strength of a 7-6 victory in seven innings over District 41 champion Fletcher Hills.

The reigning District 42 and Section 7 champions now advance to the Southern California-South Sub-Division III tournament being hosted this weekend by Imperial Beach Little League.

CV American will play its first sub-division game Saturday, July 19, at 7:05 p.m. against the winner of Friday’s Section 8-Section 10 match-up.

The Southern California-South Sub-Division III winner will face the Southern California-North Sub-Division III winner for the Southern California Division III championship in a best-of-three series the final week in July.

In effect, this weekend’s games can be considered the regional state semifinals.

The last time a team from Chula Vista American advanced this far was in 2007 when the league’s 11U all-star team won district and section titles.

CVALL President Howard Bannister said there were some expectations for the league’s current 10U all-star squad to be successful in post-season play.

“All of the kids on the team played Majors and did well, and all have played travel ball,” Bannister noted. “We knew they would be successful but they’ve kind of surprised us by how well they’ve played so far.”

CV American finished section play with a 3-1 record. The District 42 champions won their opening two games by handy margins, defeating District 41 champion Fletcher Hills, 10-0, and then pounding District 22 champion Brawley, 12-1, in an ensuing winners bracket game.

However, the local all-star squad suffered a 5-4 setback to Fletcher Hills on Monday. That set up Tuesday’s winner-take-all contest to cap play in the double-elimination tournament.

CVA had to rally from a 4-1 deficit in Tuesday’s game. “They went up 4-1 in the second inning and we came back to even the game in the fourth inning at 4-4,” Bannister related. “We ended up going ahead 6-4 in the sixth inning but they got a runner on in their half of the sixth and their power hitter, Justin Brown, hit a two-run homer to tie the game.”

But the District 42 champions rallied in the next frame to go ahead with what proved to be the game-winning run on an RBI single by Devin Hinojosa.

CV American used three pitchers in the game. Andrew DeCasas started and went two innings, followed by Hinojosa (three innings) and Bret Leonhardt (final inning). Hinojosa was credited with the win.

Bannister noted the District 42 champions faced the District 41  champions in three of its four tournament games.

“This was the third time we played them,” Bannister explained. “We beat them 10-0 in the first game. In the second game, we were ahead Monday night 4-1 and they came back to win 5-4.”

Bannister said CVALL’s Section 7 champions will have to keep doing what they’ve done best, noting that everyone is available for the upcoming sub-division tournament, including the team’s No. 1 pitcher to this point: Christian Lizarraga.

“We’re deep in pitching but not tremendous, and have a good-hitting team,” the CVALL president said. “If the kids continue to keep the sticks going, I think we have a good chance to beat anyone.”

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