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Talent, sportsmanship define season for District 42 Little League teams Phillip Brents | Fri, Aug 01 2014 02:03 PM

While a California District 42 team will not be representing Chula Vista in this year’s Little League World Series that does not diminish the accomplishments generated by this year’s group of all-star units. Sweetwater Valley Little League’s 11U and 12U all-star squads both advanced to the Southern California-South Sub-Division III championship tournaments, as did Chula Vista American Little League’s 10U team.

The Sweetwater Valley 11U team made it as far as the sub-division championship game before ending its season.
As the saying goes, there’s always next year. We likely haven’t heard the last from these respective groups.

District 42 teams dominated post-season play this summer, with the two Sweetwater Valley and the CVALL teams all winning California Section 7 championships to advance to sub-division play.

The sub-division level is one level short of the farthest teams can advance at both the 10U and 11U age divisions.
Southern California is so populous that Little League Baseball has divided the region into two sub-divisions, with the Southern California-South and Southern California-North sub-division champions meeting in a best-of-three series to determine the Southern California Division III state championship.

Sweetwater Valley 12U manager Ward Lannom had exact statistics on where his team finished in the grand scheme of things — third among the 288 leagues fielding teams in the SoCal-South sub-division level.

Sweetwater Valley’s 11U team finished second among all Southern California-South Sub-Division III teams.

Sweetwater Valley’s 11U team dropped a tight 4-3 decision to SoCal-South sub-division champion Aliso Viejo (District 55) to finish all-star play with a 10-2 win-loss record.

Aliso Viejo went on to challenge SoCal-North sub-division champion Thousand Oaks (District 13) to finish runner-up for the SoCal Division III state title.

Sweetwater Valley’s 12U team dropped a 6-3 decision to Section 10 champion Ocean View (District 62) in the challenger bracket final to drop out of contention in the sub-division tournament.

Section 6 champion Encinitas (District 31), which defeated Sweetwater Valley, 3-1, in an earlier winners bracket game in the tourney, went on to top Ocean View, 9-4, in the sub-division championship game. Encinitas then bested SoCal-North sub-division champion Long Beach (District 38) for the SoCal Division III state title.

Encinitas will represent the San Diego region in the upcoming Little League Western Region tournament in San Bernardino — one step from advancing to the coveted Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa.

The Section 6 champions will face Hawaii on Saturday, Aug. 2, at 4:30 p.m. and will follow with bracket contests against teams representing Northern California (Sunday, Aug. 3), Utah (Monday, Aug. 4) and Nevada (Wednesday, Aug. 6).
All games will be webcast on ESPN3.

Sweetwater Valley’s players, in a show of sportsmanship, will be rooting for Encinitas in upcoming games.

In a gutsy and emotional display, SVLL pitcher Wyatt Lannom went on camera after the elimination loss to Ocean View to personally wish the Encinitas team luck in the sub-division championship game.

The video clip on KUSI-TV’s nightly sports wrap quickly caught the attention of the Little League community.

The younger Lannom’s poise was clearly above his years. His heart-felt message struck a particular chord with the entire Encinitas team.

“Giving a shout-out to our league showed incredible poise at 12 years old,” Encinitas manager Chaz Gagne wrote in a complimentary e-mail to the Sweetwater Valley Little League board of directors. “Having the courage to do that after a tough loss shows some real character. (It was) a class act, and it helped get us through!

“Please know that we appreciate that immensely. The Sweetwater Valley Little League all-star team certainly earned our respect, both on the field and off ... fierce competitors, great team, good sportsmanship. Please know that you have friends in Encinitas.”

Moving on up
Sweetwater Valley 11U manager Albert Armas said his team went into all-star tournament play this summer “optimistic that they would show well at every level of play they would compete in.”

That certainly proved to be true at the district, section and sub-division levels.

“Our boys were well prepared by not only the coaches but also the parents and league officials who provided endless support to the team which made it possible for these boys to feel support at all levels,” Armas explained. “The boys, in my opinion, raised their level of play significantly during the tournament as displayed by the numerous home runs hit and runs scored. It just seems that they all took it to a higher level.

 “The boys never led me to believe that there was a question as to whether they felt they could compete going into the sub-division tournament. If anything, it was the lack of experience at that level of play that may have hindered their succeeding. However, this last tournament served notice to the other So Cal teams that SVLL will definitely have to be dealt with next year.”

Armas noted his team’s achievement was in defeating Encinitas, 11-10, in the sub-division tournament’s challenger bracket final.

“(Sweetwater Valley), for at least till next year, is considered the No. 1 team in San Diego,” the SVLL manager proudly said. “This achievement and, most importantly, the valuable experience they gained — although in the loss at the subdivision — gives them an opportunity to visualize how they will succeed next year.”

Armas explained that advancing in successive all-star tournaments is based on “having a great team and a lot of luck.”
“We had a great team we just did not have the luck this year,” the SVLL manager said. “These boys will come back strong next year, there is no doubt about that.”

District 42 administrator Ernie Lucero, who has made the trek to the Western Region tournament twice in the past five years to cheer teams from Park View and Eastlake on to the LLWS, remained complimentary of the effort put in by the district’s various age-group champions this summer.

“We had a great season, especially our 10/11 and 11/12 Sweetwater Valley all-stars teams and our 9/10 Chula Vista American Little League all-star team,” Lucero noted. “Even though we did not advance (past the sub-division level), I’m very proud of all the players showing great determination playing hard for District 42 but, more importantly, showing good sportsmanship even in defeat.  

“I want to thank all the managers and coaches for their dedication this season and especially the parents for signing up their children to play Little League Baseball. The players who played TOC (Tournament of Champions) and All-Stars represented their individual leagues with great pride … giving us adults a joy to watch.”


Almost famous: Spring Valley Little League Senior Division squad scores runner-up finish in state finals

Kudos must go to Spring Valley Little League’s mighty Senior Division team after it wrapped up a runner-up finish in the Southern California Division III state championship tournament last weekend in Manhattan Beach.

After winning California District 66 and Section 7 championships, Spring Valley qualified to compete in the division tournament after defeating Section 10 champion Central Garden Grove, 6-5, on July 23, to finish as Southern California-South Sub-Division III champions.

Spring Valley met Southern California-North Sub-Division III champion Manhattan Beach for the Division III title in last weekend’s best-of-three championship series. Manhattan Beach won by scores of 12-2 and 15-0 to advance to the West Region tournament in Ontario — the final step before the Senior League World Series in Maine.

Despite the loss in the state championship series, it was still a proud moment for the league, noted Spring Valley Little League President Hope Bedsole.

“For my first year as president I have been extremely proud of how our league and our boys have represented Spring Valley Little League this season,” Bedsole explained. “It has been a very fun and eventful season for all of us. For the last few years we have had a strong Seniors Division and it’s exciting to see how far we've come and look forward to seeing how our league does next season as well.”

District 66 Administrator Rolland Slade concurred with Bedsole’s sentiments.

“It is exciting for the league and the district,” Slade noted. “It really shows that the Little League program is all about community, as it takes dedicated volunteers to run leagues and to help teams get this far. When a team accomplishes something like this it really brings a sense of pride to a community.”

Spring Valley finished with a final 7-5 win-loss record over the span of four post-season tournaments. The team entered last weekend’s state championship series with a 7-3 record through sub-division play.

Making good things happen on the field were manager Eddie Camacho and coaches Gilbert Valero and Kirk Williams.

Players included Krystian Camacho, David Garcia, Junior Sandoval, Thomas Shawcroft, Miguel Angel Orozco, Angel Abarca, D'Angelo (D'Lo) Wanton, Andrew Montijo, Kirk Williams, Ernie Valdez, Jose Alvarez, Juan Davalos, Juan Nicasio and D'Andre Sumler.

District 66 is comprised of 10 leagues stretching from downtown San Diego to Spring Valley and includes residential areas between Highways 54 and 94.

Slade noted that this is the third time over the last 14 years that Spring Valley has advanced to the Southern California Division III championship.

“Getting to the division championship is a tough road in itself, as there are more leagues generally in Southern California than there are in some states,” Slade explained.

“Remarkably, this is the fifth or sixth time that a team from District 66 has gone this far. The district is only 14 years old. We were carved out of Districts 41 and 42 back in 2000.”

Slade said that if a formula for success exists, it deals with “good players, good coaches, solid support and a desire to stay together,” he explained.

“These young men are talented and they play the game the right way,” the District 66 administrator said. “That is, they play together as a team and for each other. They understand they represent their league, but also their families and the community.

“Many of them have played either together or in the same league since they were in tee-ball at age 5 or 6. So, over the nine, 10 or 11 years, they have known each other and developed relationships, plus all of them have attended the local schools together. That is to say there is a bond between them. Then when the community comes out to support them, they draw from that and it makes the game even more fun.”
All 10 of the leagues in the district charter Senior Division teams, though Slade noted that some of the leagues combine to field a team. Spring Valley Little League fielded four Senior Division teams this season.

This year’s Spring Valley all-star team was comprised of players from both leagues in the district that are in Spring Valley. Spring Valley Little League contributed 11 players while Valley De Oro Little League contributed three players.

Slade noted that SVLL’s Bedsole and Valley De Oro Little League President Michael Chism applied for a combined team back in January.

“I think that is one of the reason that there is so much community pride in this team,” Slade explained. “The two presidents came together at the beginning of the year, which set a tone of cooperation and togetherness.”

Players come from a tight-knit geographic area, attending either Mount Miguel, Monte Vista or Helix Charter high schools.

When asked why District 66 seems seem to do well in the Senior Division all-star tournaments each year, Slade said he could not point to any one reason.

“I think the success of the Lemon Grove team in 2012 brought attention to what can happen if a team stays together,” the District 66 administrator said. “That team went on to be the U.S. national champions. Some of the members of that team came back last year and were part of our district Big League team. I can foresee some members of this team doing that next year.”

Slade said he felt the overall success of teams from Section 7 has a lot to do with cooperation between the various district administrators: Jose Larios (District 22/Imperial Valley), Kimberly Mowrey (District 41/East County), Ernie Lucero (District 42/Chula Vista) and himself.

“We work hard at helping not only our leagues but each other,” Slade explained. “When you look at the overall success of Section 7 throughout all levels of Little League Baseball, you have to be impressed. Section 7 teams have won one Little League World Series championship, three U.S. national championships and six state championships in the last five years. That is quite an accomplishment!

“I think we run the program the right way and it shows.”


Southern California Division III
Little League Champions

10U Division
Site: Lompoc American Little League
Saturday, July 26

Ocean View (District 62) 11, Moorpark (District 13) 10

Sunday, July 27
Ocean View (District 62) 9, Moorpark (District 13) 2
Note: Ocean View wins Southern California Division III title

11U Division
Site: Pacific Coast Little League
Saturday, July 26

Thousand Oaks (District 13) 13, Aliso Viejo (District 55) 10

Sunday, July 27
Thousand Oaks (District 13) 14, Aliso Viejo (District 55) 12
Note: Thousand Oaks wins Southern California Division III title

12U Division
Site: Fletcher Hills Little League
Saturday, July 26

Long Beach (District 38) 12, Encinitas (Section 31) 2
Encinitas (District 31) 9, Long Beach (District 38) 3

Sunday, July 27
Encinitas (District 31) 9, Long Beach (District 38) 3
Note: Encinitas wins Southern California Division III title

Junior Division
Site: Tehachapi Little League
Friday, July 25

Manhattan Beach (District 36) 7, Brawley (District 22) 3

Saturday, July 26
Manhattan Beach (District 36) 9, Brawley (District 22) 2
Note: Manhattan Beach wins Southern California District III title

Senior Division
Site: Manhattan Beach Little League
Friday, July 25

Manhattan Beach (District 36) 12, Spring Valley (District 66) 2

Saturday, July 26
Manhattan Beach (District 36) 15, Spring Valley (District 66) 0
Note: Manhattan Beach wins Southern California District III title

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