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District 42 teams prove competitive in California Section 7 Little League championship tournament Phillip Brents | Mon, Jul 16 2012 02:14 PM

California District 42 Little League stole the spotlight at last year’s Section 7 championship tournament by capturing titles in four of the five divisions. Teams from the district once again proved their competitive mettle by advancing to championship games in four divisions earlier this week, though only one came away with a coveted section title.

Park View defeated District 66 champion Spring Valley to win the Little League (11-12) division while Eastlake (10-11 division) and Luckie Waller (Junior and Senior divisions) all settled for runner-up finishes.

Championship games took place Monday in the Senior Division, Tuesday in the Junior Division and on Wednesday in the other three divisions.

Sweetwater Valley Little League played host to three title games — 9-10, Junior and Senior divisions — while  District 41/Fletcher Hills Little League hosted the 10-11 sectional and District 22/Imperial Little League hosted the 11-12 tournament. 

Road warriors
District 42 champions Eastlake (10-11 division) and Park View (11-12 division) both forced double-elimination games on Wednesday after avenging earlier losses to their championship game opponents.

In the Little League (11-12) Division, District 42 champion Park View opened the tournament in Imperial Valley with an 11-1 victory against District 41 champion Santana National before coming up short in a 4-3 loss to Spring Valley on Sunday.

Park View recorded an 18-1 must-win elimination game victory against D22 champion Calexico on Monday and then walloped Spring Valley, 16-5, on Tuesday to earn a spot in Wednesday’s championship finale.

In the rematch against Spring Valley, Park View claimed the section title, 12-11, on a dramatic three-run walk-off home run by Marc Cole with two outs in the sixth inning.
“The Park View Nation moves on,” gushed an elated Park View board president Rod Roberto, who called the sectional round “tough mentally.”

“The team had to deal with distance and heat on top of playing formidable competition,” Roberto said. “Although we lost Sunday, the mentality of the team was that we were not done yet.”

Park View advances to the Sub-Division III Southern California tournament hosted by District 55/Aliso Niguel.

In the 10-11 age group, District 42 champion Eastlake dropped its tournament opener, 8-2, to District 41 champion Rancho San Diego but battled back with three consecutive wins while facing elimination each time to force a championship rematch against RSD in Wednesday’s double-elimination tourney.

Eastlake eliminated District 66 champion Twin Hills with a 10-0 victory on Sunday and followed that up with a 3-0 victory on Monday against Brawley.

Eastlake forced the proverbial “if” game by defeating RSD, 4-1, on Tuesday.

In Wednesday’s climactic finale, Rancho SD advanced to the Sub-Division III Southern California tournament (which Fletcher Hills Little League is also hosting) by claiming a 7-5 victory.

Eastlake Little League board president Randy Adkins gave credit where it was due in summing up the Eastlake team’s all-star odyssey.

“It sounds like a bunch of clichés but the coaching staff has done a fantastic job managing the pitch count, the players never give up — they control every square inch of the playing field on defense — and they play a perfect combination of small-ball and aggressive base running with a splash of big home runs to make every game absolutely exciting to watch,” Adkins said.
Almost famous
In Monday’s Senior championship game at SVLL, District 66 champion Lemon Grove shut out District 42 champion Luckie Waller, 3-0, in the rubber game of their best-of-three championship series.

Lemon Grove advances to the Sub-Division III Southern California tournament hosted by District 58/Yucaipa.

Luckie Waller captured the series opener, 9-6, last Saturday but Lemon Grove battled back with a 15-9 victory on Sunday to even the series at a win apiece.

Luckie Waller defeated District 41 champion United Santee, 4-3, in an elimination bracket game on Monday to advance to Tuesday’s Junior finale against District 66 champion Twin Hills. But the District 42 champions couldn’t force a double-elimination game on Wednesday as Twin Hills claimed this year’s section crown with a 5-3 decision.

Luckie Waller opened the section tournament by defeating  United Santee, 14-10, last Saturday but dropped a 17-7 decision to Twin Hills on Sunday.

Twin Hills advances to play in the Sub-Division III Southern California tournament hosted by District 58/Yucaipa American.

Sweetwater Valley’s 9-10 District 42 championship team ended its post-season run following a 5-1 loss to D66 champ Lemon Grove in Monday’s elimination bracket final.

Lemon Grove advanced to Tuesday’s championship game against D41 champ Rancho San Diego, winning, 12-1, to force a double-elimination game on Wednesday.

RSD persevered to claim the Section 7 championship with a 5-3 victory to advance to the Sub-Division III Southern California tournament hosted by District 24/Magnolia Center Little League.

Sweetwater Valley opened the sectional with an 11-1 win against District 22 champion Calexico but dropped a 14-2 match-up against Rancho San Diego to fall to the single-elimination bracket.

“We (had) a great group of kids playing for our teams this year in all of our divisions,” SVLL board president Dan Kettlehake said. “Our coaching staffs (went) above and beyond their call of duty. We are very proud of our kids. We would like to thank all of our board members and parents for their continued support.”

For more information, visit the Web site at www.eteamz.com/cad42.

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