After run-ruling its first three opponents and going a perfect 3-0 in pool play, top-seeded Sweetwater Valley faced off against second-seeded Chula Vista American in Sunday's District 42 Little League 7-8 Division Tournament of Champions title game. The game looked to be another runaway victory for SVLL but CVA had other ideas and the game turned into a nail-biting affair by the time the final inning came around, with SVLL pulling off an 11-8 win after initially leading 10-0.
SVLL jumped ahead early with four runs in the first inning and added another run in the second inning while keeping CVA scoreless. After scoring five runs in the third inning to build an imposing 10-0 lead, SVLL only needed three outs to run-rule its fourth consecutive opponent. However, with two outs in the top of the fourth, the scrappy Chula Vista American team rallied to score four runs and stave off a run-rule defeat.
Sweetwater retired CVA in order to start the fifth and then added a run in the bottom of the inning to lead 11-4. The top of the sixth inning began with a pop out to first base. However, after a couple of hits and a few walks, the score was 11-8 with the bases loaded and still one out. It was nail-biting time for coaches, parents and players on both sides of the field. But SVLL took care of business with two strikeouts to end the game, and the celebration began.
Victorious SVLL players included Preston Flemming, Paul Garcia, Benjamin Kettlehake, Walker Lannom, Wyatt Lannom, Levi Mendez, Eric Nakano, Leo Pena, Dante Schmid, Tyler Sherard, Jordon Thompson, Trevor Trussell and Dylan Zegers. The team is managed by Smokey Trussell, with Matt Sherard and John Fleming serving as coaches.
Chula Vista American played it close to the vest in the tournament. CVA rallied from an 11-3 deficit to defeat Park View, 15-12, in the semifinals on June 24 to land a spot in the division championship game. SVLL defeated fourth-seeded Chula Vista National in the other semifinal contest.
In a format change this year, the Major and Minor divisions were split into two pools, with the top two seeds in each pool advancing to the championship game. Each pool will have a separate champion. The 7-8 Division, meanwhile, included just one pool, with each team playing two games. The top four-seeded teams advanced to the semifinals.