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Sweetwater Valley secures perfect ending, Section 7 banner Phillip Brents | Fri, Jul 19 2013 11:30 PM

Interesting fact: There are more than 300 Little League programs in Southern California. By the end of this week’s sectional championship tournaments, only 10 teams will be advancing in each of three age divisions. 

Chula Vista’s District 42 owns three of those coveted 30 berths in this weekend’s sub-divisional tournaments.

Sweetwater Valley’s 10/11 Division all-stars advanced to the Sub-Division III South championship tournament being played at Fletcher HIlls Little League by sweeping through the Section 7 tourney hosted by District 22 Brawley Little League.

The reigning District 42 champions claimed their second championship banner of all-star play by topping Calexico, 13-8, on Tuesday.

Previously, Sweetwater Valley clobbered Alpine American, 16-5, on Saturday and edged Calexico, 7-6, on Sunday.

The newly crowned Section 7 champions will face the winner between the Section 10 and Section 6 champions, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“It’s been a total team effort,” SVLL manager John Rose said. “We have new heroes every night. Someone different is always stepping up.”

Perfect ending

Sweetwater Valley began its championship run to this year’s Section 7 title by subduing Alpine American, 16-5, on Saturday.

Wyatt Lannom, Jake Rose and Tyler Sherard each hit home runs while Lannom and Rose took turns pitching on the hill. Rose served as the game’s closer.

In contrast to the first game, Sweetwater Valley’s second game in the section tournament on Sunday proved to be, in the elder Rose’s words, a “nail-biter.”

“To start with, the temperature was 100 degrees when the game started,” the SVLL manager said. “Sweetwater Valley took a 2-0 lead and Calexico came back to tie the game at 2-2. Sweetwater Valley took a 4-2 lead and Calexico tied it at 4-4. Sweetwater Valley then took a 6-4 lead and, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Calexico came back to tie the game 6-6.”

The game was destined to go extra innings.

In the top of the seventh inning, Eric Nakano propelled a pitch over the left field fence for a home run to give Sweetwater Valley a 7-6 lead.

Sherard came into the game in relief of the younger Rose after Calexico had loaded the bases with two outs.

“Jake had to come out of the game because he had reached his pitch count of 87,” the elder Rose said.

Sherard managed to tame Calexico’s No. 4 hitter with a wicked curve ball, forcing a ground-out to end the game.

Lannom was starting pitcher in Tuesday’s championship game and was relieved by Sherard, who kept Calexico off balance with his curve ball, according to the SVLL manager.

Jake Rose, Hayden Pritchard and Nakano each hit home runs in the game.

The elder Rose noted that the title game ended on a strange play. With the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the sixth inning, a Calexico batter hit a double to the fence. However, as the runner for Calexico crossed the plate, he intentionally knocked down Sweetwater Valley catcher Issac Amaya whereupon the Calexico runner was ruled out and the game ended.

“The temperature at the start of the game, at 7:30 p.m., was over 100 degrees and it pretty much stayed that way all game,” the elder Rose said.

Heavy hitters: The SVLL manager noted that of the 12 players on the team, eight have hit at least one home run in all-star play.

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