Eastlake Little League’s 9/10 and 11/12 all-star teams will write another bold new chapter in the league’s history books after winning Sub-Division III South bracket titles on Wednesday.
The next stop for the two high achieving teams is a berth in this weekend’s best-of-three Division III Southern California state championship round
Go for it
Eastlake’s 9/10 all-stars secured a history-making date in the Southern California state championship series after defeating Section 10 champion Ocean View, 12-4, on Wednesday at Chollas Lake Little League.
The Chula Vistans scored at least one run in every inning to eliminate the Huntington Beach team. It was the eighth consecutive game in which Eastlake had scored in double digits.
“This incredible post-season tournament run only seems to get better and better,” said Eastlake manager Enrique Mayer, whose team opened sub-division play with commanding 14-4 and 11-1 victories against Ocean View and Point Loma, respectively.
Ocean View (home of the 2011 Little League World Series champions) needed to defeat Eastlake twice in order to advance to the Division III finals, but was unable to muster a victory.
Eastlake (10-0) has not lost a game yet in all-star tournament play this summer.
The reigning District 42 and Section 7 champions advance to play the Sub-Division III North champion in the Division III finals, which will also be hosted by Chollas Lake Little League on Saturday (noon start) and Sunday (1 p.m. start).
If a third game is necessary, it will be played Monday at 5:30 p.m.
The championship game featured solid pitching performances from Noah Lane, Brandon Mora and Benji Maldonado, a trio that has come up big for Eastlake several times this post-season.
At the plate, Eastlake rapped out 14 hits, including a two-run homer by Quinn Roelofs, who now has three home runs this post-season.
Marcelo Mayer continued his torrid hitting as he collected another four hits, including two doubles, while scoring two runs and knocking in two more. Mayer finished the tournament with a total of 11 hits in three games.
Cade Birchmier went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBI while Elijah Christensen also collected two hits. Kieran Archer and Aiden Calvert also contributed key hits while Alex Gabaldon got on base four times via walks.
In the first game against Ocean View, Eastlake racked up 17 hits. Mayer and Lane combined to go 8-for-8 with seven runs scored and seven RBI, including a two-run homer by Lane, while Christensen and Gabaldon each added two hits.
Birchmier blasted a double and scored three times. Every one of the team’s 13 players reached base at least once. The game ended in the fifth inning as a result of the mercy-rule.
On the mound, Lane and Mora combined to allow only three earned runs.
In the second game of the tournament, Roelofs came up big at the plate and on the hill against Section 6 champion Point Loma.
Roelofs racked up three RBI on two hits. He homered in the first inning and singled in the third inning. Besides Roelofs’ two hits, Mayer, Christensen and Archer each added two hits.
Point Loma managed just three hits off of Roelofs, who did not allow an earned run, walked one and struck out four during his 2-2/3 innings of work to lower his earned-run average to a team-leading 1.59.
Maldonado came in to close the game as he has done throughout the all-star run, pitching one-and-one-third scoreless innings.
Eastlake’s pitching staff has a combined 2.84 ERA.
Sultans of swat
Eastlake’s 11/12 all-stars continued to make history by collecting four more wins at the Sub-Division III South tournament played at Corona National Little League.
The newly crowned Section 7 champions defeated Section 10 champion Huntington Valley, 10-6, last Saturday as Micah Wiggs, Grant Holman, Giancarlo Cortez and Rennard Williams each slammed home runs.
Eastlake defeated Section 9 champion Corona National, 12-8, on Sunday to advance to Monday’s winners bracket semifinal against Section 8 champion Highland.
“Corona National made us work hard to win this game,” Eastlake manager Rick Tibbett said. “We were down 6-1 after three innings but in the fourth inning we came back to score nine runs to take the lead for good.”
Cortez hit a solo home run and a grand slam to help Eastlake’s cause.
Eastlake topped Highland, 10-3, to collect its third consecutive win in the sub-division tourney.
Holman pitched five-and-one-third innings with 13 strikeouts. Cortez had a solo home run in the third inning and Holman broke the game wide open in the fourth inning with a grand slam.
Highland defeated Corona National in Tuesday’s challenger bracket final to draw a rematch against Eastlake in Wednesday’s championship game.
However, Eastlake won the rematch 15-5.
Nick Mora had a grand slam, Jake Espinoza had a two-run home run and Wiggs had a three-run home run.
Eastlake advances to the Division III championship against the Sub-Division III North winner Sherman Oaks. The best-of-three series starts Saturday at Long Beach Little League.
(Update: Eastlake defeated Sherman Oaks by scores of 6-3 and 5-0 to earn a berth in the upcoming weekend's West Region championship tournament in San Bernardino. Eastlake becomes one of just three District 42 teams in history to advance this far.)