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Big numbers, big wins posted by Section 7 champion Sweetwater Valley Little League's 11U All-Stars Phillip Brents | Fri, Jul 18 2014 06:50 PM

Sweetwater Valley Little League played the short end of the Section 7 championship tournament schedule by collecting run-rule victories in each of its three contests, including Monday’s 15-5 championship game victory against District 41 champion Rancho San Diego at the District 66/Spring Valley Little League complex.

The District 42 champions blasted opponents from start to finish, ending each game in the fourth inning due to the mercy rule.

Sweetwater Valley opened the tournament last Friday by hammering District 66 champion Lemon Grove by a score of 11-1 and then walloped Rancho San Diego, 18-1, in an ensuing winners bracket contest the following day.

RSD topped District 22 champion Imperial, 20-3, on Sunday to draw a rematch against Sweetwater Valley in Monday’s title match-up. But it proved to be the same story: lots of offense by the District 42 champions as well as stingy pitching.

Sweetwater Valley captured the district championship with a 4-0 showing. The team now takes an unblemished 7-0 record into the next stage of post-season competition when it faces Section 8 champion Deer Canyon (District 71) on Saturday, July 19, at 11 a.m. in the Southern California-South Sub-Division III tournament at District 33/Chollas Lake Little League (6005 College Grove Ave., San Diego).

Section 8 covers the San Bernardino/Riverside region.

The SoCal-South Sub-Division III tournament runs through Thursday, July 24.

Winners advance to the final stage of competition for this age division: the California Division III state championship, scheduled July 26-28 in West Covina.

Sweetwater Valley manager Albert Armas said the secret to the team’s success has been its togetherness.

“The majority (of the players) have been together since they were 6 years old and started playing T-ball at Sweetwater Valley,” Armas explained. “These boys are a very quality group of boys, not only baseball-wise but character-wise also. They all have the drive and focus that makes training and preparing them for these games very enjoyable.

“They are never satisfied with their efforts, it seems, and always strive to do better. Even with the quality of play they have shown thus far, they would all tell you that they could have done better. I believe that is a formula that all these wonderful boys share.”

By the numbers
Sweetwater Valley took command of Monday’s championship game by scoring nine runs in the first inning, highlighted by a grand slam home run by Levi Mendez.

Rancho San Diego tried desperately to get back in the game with a pair of home runs but the SVLL defense supported pitcher Preston Fleming in maintaining the lead until Mendez relieved Fleming in the fourth inning to, as Armas explained, “shut the lights out.”

Sweetwater Valley scored 44 runs in its three games, averaging 14.7 runs per game, while allowing just seven runs in those three contests (2.3 runs per game).

During the section tournament, SVLL players clubbed five home runs. Ariel Armas hit two home runs and racked up five doubles while Mendez slammed two homers and stroked three doubles. Nick Maldonado had the other home run for the section champs.

Dante Schmid totaled 11 strikeouts in his only appearance on the mound.
 
Senior Division
In the Section 7 championship game, also played Monday at Spring Valley Little League, District 66 champion Spring Valley defeated District 42 champion Luckie Waller, 15-12, to win the teams’ three-game series two games to one.

Luckie Waller won the best-of-three series opener by a score of 5-1 last Friday, but Sping Valley came back with two consecutive victories to claim the title. Spring Valley evened the championship series at a win apiece by capturing a 15-4 decision the next day.

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