Chula Vista South may have been the youngest team entered in this year’s eight-team Colt League West Zone tournament in San Jose, but the South County-based all-star squad was the least intimidated in upstaging its older and more experienced competition.
Chula Vista South, comprised primarily of last year’s Pony-13 World Series championship team with a few new add-ons, upset the favored Los Gatos Legends, 3-2, in Tuesday’s final to lay claim to this year’s zone championship.
Next stop: the Colt League World Series Aug 5-10 in Lafayette, Ind.
Chula Vista South takes a 13-1 record into this weekend’s World Series tournament, including a four-game winning streak that included three clutch consecutive elimination game victories.
“It was a great comeback, especially for being in the losers bracket, and then winning the championship — that is an accomplishment in itself,” explained Chula Vista South Pony League President Omar Castro. “It has been great seeing these young men working hard and stepping up to the plate to challenging themselves.
“This is the first time that a Colt team from Chula Vista South Pony has made it to the World Series.”
It took everything the CV South team had to make it through.
The Legends had won the zone championship in four of the last five years, but when the final strike had been called and the final ball had been caught this year belonged to Chula Vista South.
Not that it was easy. After winning last year’s Pony-13 World Series title, Chula Vista South elected to by-pass competing at the Pony-14 level this season and instead enter the Colt Division tournament. In doing so, the Chula Vista team gave up two to three years in experience and maturity to its competition.
The tournament field was heavy on Bay Area squads, with Los Gatos fielding two teams along with teams representing Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Jose. Upland and the North Seattle Rainiers joined Chula Vista South as out-of-area qualifiers.
How the west was won
Chula Vista South used a pair of runs in the seventh inning to outlast Santa Cruz Red in last Saturday’s tournament opener in a gritty 2-0 win.
The victory propelled Chula Vista South — winners of the Southern California Southwest Region and Southern California Super Region tournaments – to Sunday’s winners bracket match-up against Los Gatos Grey, which had blasted the host San Jose PAL team, 10-0, in its tourney opener.
Chula Vista South entered the game sporting an undefeated 9-0 all-star tournament record, but saw its perfect record evaporate in a 6-2 loss to Los Gatos Grey.
Instead of folding up shop, the Chula Vista squad put on its rally caps and got down to business in making mincemeat of teams in the challenger bracket. CV South won a return engagement against Santa Cruz Red, 2-0, and then got some revenge by topping Los Gatos Grey by a score of 15-0.
Both games were played on Monday.
Chula Vista South was forced into a position to win two games on Tuesday in back-to-back fashion to have a shot at winning the tournament title while coming through the back door.
Chula Vista South first had to play a double-elimination game against Los Gatos Grey at 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon, with the winner advancing to the 5 p.m. championship game against the Legends, who — at 3-0 — were the only remaining undefeated team in the tournament.
Chula Vista South won 8-5 to eliminate Los Gatos Grey and earn the right to play the Legends, who had been idle since Monday, for the tournament title.
The shutout win over Los Gatos Grey fueled the team’s momentum for what was to come, CV South manager Valentin Luna noted.
“We took it to them,” Luna said in regard to the lopsided win over Los Gatos Grey. “The bats finally came alive, the defense was tight and our pitcher, Benton Hart, was on to win it in five innings.”
The ensuing elimination win over Los Gatos Grey the following afternoon was sweet.
“We were feeling confident after putting up so many runs on a good team,” the CVS manager said. “There were no more cup-cakes in this round.”
There certainly will not be any pushovers in the next tournament.
To start the final day of competition, Chula Vista and Los Gatos Grey faced off in a rubber match.
Fisher Pyatt pitched the first four innings and Emilio Luna pitched the final three innings to combine for the win. Big hits came from DiMaggio Cazares, Eric Nakano and Ben Hart to get the Chula Vista team on the scoreboard.
“Brodie Romero and Emilio bunted safely on consecutive at-bats to keep the rally going to put us ahead and keeping us there,” the elder Luna explained.
In the ensuing championship game, Chula Vista South faced the Legends, an organization that had won four out of the last five Colt League World Series.
“Their starting pitcher was 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, who was consistently throwing 84 mph,” the CV South manager explained. “Keoni Cavaco was our starting pitcher. We had hits in every inning but one. Emilio Luna, Keoni Cavaco and Eric Nakano all had two hits each.
“They scored first in the third inning to go up 2-0. We tied it in the fifth inning and Antonio Garcia got the game-winning RBI on a fly ball to the outfield with one out and runner on third base. He also pitched the last two innings.”
The 2016 Colt League World Series features 10 teams — two teams from Indiana, one team each from Michigan and North Carolina, an unnamed team from the South Zone, Chula Vista South and international teams from Tijuana, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Aruba and South Korea.
Chula Vista South will open the tournament against the South Zone champion at 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday morning, Aug. 5.
If Chula Vista South wins its first game, it will next play on Sunday, Aug. 7. If Chula Vista South loses it first game, it would next play in an elimination game on Saturday, Aug. 6.
Twenty games are packed into a seven-day schedule: there are a total of five rounds of elimination games.
The championship game is scheduled Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.
To follow the tournament online, visit www.pony.org.
West Zone Tournament
July 30 to Aug. 2 in San Jose
Saturday, July 30
Santa Clara 10, Upland Grey 2
Los Gatos Legends 9, North Seattle (Wash.) Rainiers 2
Chula Vista South 2, Santa Cruz Red 0
Los Gatos Grey 10, San Jose PAL 2
Sunday, July 31
Los Gatos Legends 4, Santa Clara 3
Los Gatos Grey 6, Chula Vista South 2
Sunday, July 31
North Seattle (Wash.) Rainiers 7, Upland Grey 1
Santa Cruz Red 11, San Jose PAL 0
Monday, Aug. 1
Chula Vista South 2, Santa Cruz Red, 0
Santa Clara 12, North Seattle (Wash.) Rainiers 2
Monday, Aug. 1
Los Gatos Legends 1, Santa Clara 0
Chula Vista South 15, Los Gatos Grey 0
Tuesday, Aug. 2
Chula Vista South 8, Los Gatos Grey 5 (double-elimination game)
Tuesday, Aug. 2
Chula Vista South 3, Los Gatos Legends 2
Road weary Chula Vista South team scores surprising win in Colt League World Series opener
The underdog Chula Vista South all-star team continued its amazing post-season run by defeating the South Texas Sluggers, 14-9, in the opening game of the 2016 Colt League World Series Friday (Aug. 5) in Lafayette, Ind. The West Zone champions scored six runs in the second inning and led 14-0 after three innings to make a statement for their youth-infused squad.
Elliott Cazares drove in four runs with a three-run double and a single while Benton Hart pitched five innings, scattering six hits. Among other individual highlights, Emilio Luna amassed three hits and scored three runs.
South Texas scored nine unanswered runs after trailing 14-0. However, it was not enough to overtake the Chula Vista team, which seemed to suffer in the final three innings after making the cross-country trek from San Jose where the team won the West Zone final on Tuesday.
Chula Vista South gets a rest until Sunday when it will meet the winner between Saturday’s challenger bracket game between Aruba and Hoosier North (Ind.).
“Ther boys got a little tired and the humidity got to them,” CV South manager Valentin Luna explained. “After arriving at midnight here local time and playing the first game in the morning, now we have a full day of rest and ready to roll against who we get.”
Games can be viewed on livestream at the following address:
Winners bracket game:
Chula Vista South motors to early 5-1 lead but Aruba speeds to the finish line to post comeback 12-8 win
Chula Vista South got a much-needed rest day as the 2016 Colt League World Series moved to its third day at Loeb Stadium in Lafayette, Ind.The Southern Californians appeared to respond to the rest day by building a 5-1 lead through two innings. But the Caribbean representatives went on to our-score Chual Vista South 11-3 over the balance of the game to post a come-from-behind 12-8 win and remain undefeated in the winners bracket.
Chula Vista South will now play an elimiantion game Monday at 5 p.m. Eastern Time against Hoosier (Ind.) North; Aruba has a bye and will play the winner of Monday’s game in Tuesday’s semifinals.
Lenin Ashby led Aruba with three hits, including a two-run home run, and three RBI in Sunday’s winners bracket contest while St. Augustine’s Fisher Pyatt led Chula Vista South with four RBI. Keoni Cavaco also drove in two runs for CV South, which now must pin its hopes on advancing in the elimination bracket.
Chula Vista South starting pitcher Dante Schmid gave up a run in the top of the first inning but Chula Vista South repsonded with three runs of its own to take a 3-1 lead over Aruba in Sunday’s winners bracket contest.
Aruba led off the game with back-to-back singles and eventually scored on a run-down between first and second bases. However, Chula Vista South quickly got back in the game when Emilo Luna and Elliot Cazares led off with back-to-back walks. yatt struck out for the first out but both runners advanced on a double steal. Cavaco then delivered a key two-run single up the middle and Eric Nakano singled to the oppostie field to place CV South runners at the corners. Jesus Villegas then scored CV South’s third run of the inning on a forceout.
Aruba placed a runner on base via an error but Chula Vista South got out of the inning with a double play.
Chula Vista South loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning with out out. Bradley Romero and Luna drew back-to-back walks. Cazares followed with a single through the hole to load the bases. Pyatt then drove a double down the right field line for two RBI. Cavaco drew a walk to re-load the bases by a double-play ended further run scoring.
Schmid was playing in his second consecutive youth baseball World Series after particiipating in last year’s Little League World Series with Sweetwater Valley Little League. He got the opening two outs in the top of the third inning before giving up a two-run home run to Ashby to narrow the score to 5-3.
Aruba loaded the bases in the top of the fourth inning and, with two out, a looping single to center field by Lyonell Briesen scored two runs. Ashby followed with a line drive to center field to put Aruba up 6-5.
But Chula Vista South responed by scoring two runs in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Cazares doubled and Pyatt tripled to tie the game, 6-6, and collect his third RBI of the game. Cavaco grounded out for the second out but Nakano followed with a walk to place runners at the corners. With Villegas at the plate, a wild pitch scored Pyatt for the go-ahead run.
Aruba came back to score three runs with two outs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 9-7 lead. Pyatt later scored on a wild pitch to pull Chula Vista South to 9-8 on the scoreboard but Aruba closed out the game by scoring three more runs in the next two innings.
Hoosier North defeated the South Texas Sluggers, 8-1, in an earlier elimiantion game on Sunday to advance to meet Chula Vista South on Monday.
“We made five errors and a couple of bad base running errors, CVS manager Valentin Luna explaioned. “That team hits very well and has great speed on the bases. Our age showed today. We’ve come back before and will try it again. Hopefully without the errors.”
Through three days of play, four teams have been eliminated: Central Michigan Stars, Czech Republic, South Texas Sluggers and Greensboro (N.C.). Greensboro finished as last year’s runner-up to Puerto Rico.
Incredible journey to Colt League World Series ends for Chul Vista South
Chula Vista South’s incredible journey to the Colt League World Series ended short of winning a world championship but it will remain an odyssey that will be remembered for a lifetime.
“The team played hard and came up a little short, but I am proud of them for challenging themselves,” Chula Vista South Pony League President Omar Castro explained. “I have to admit I wasn’t happy about them not going to the 14U all-star level, but they proved me wrong by how far they got. I am proud to be from Chula Vista South Pony and they represented us well.”
“It was a great experience and wouldn’t change it for anything,” Chula Vista South manager Valentin Luna said.
Chula Vista South entered the tournament giving up an average of two years to older and more experienced team and proved competitive. The West Zone champions won their first game at the Colt League World Series but dropped their next two contests in Lafayette, Ind.
Monday’s 4-0 loss to Hoosier North (Ind.) eliminated Chula Vista South from the 10-team international field.
Hoosier North, which won its second consecutive elimination game, advances to Wednesday’s semifinal against Aruba in the double-elimination tournament.
Chula Vista South trailed just 1-0 into the bottom of the fifth inning in Monday’s elimination contest before the Indiana team scored three insurance runs to deflate the Californians’ bid to remain in contention for the tournament championship.
Grant McCoy hit a solo home run to stake Hoosier North to a 1-0 lead and the teams remained locked in that score. Chula Vista South appeared poised to possibly tie the game in the top of the fifth inning but a base-running error defused the threat.
Bubba Villegas drew a one-out walk and Garrett Taylor followed with a basehit. With Benton Hart at the plate, the ball got away from the catcher. But only Villegas took the extra base, placing runners at the corners with one out.
Hoosier North got out of the jam with an inning-ending double play. Had Taylor taken the extra base, the play would likely have gone for ja fielder’s choice and a possible game-tying run scored for CV South.
The hit by Taylor was only the second allowed by Hoosier North starter Eric Talcott, whose dominant pitching performance stymied the Californians throughout the contest. Talcott allowed just two hits and one walk in the game.
Chula Vista South’s top five batters did not reach base in the game.
An error, base hit and wild pitch, followed by another base hit, scored two runs. A stolen base and base hit then set the stage for an additional insurance run.
Talcott set down Chula Vista South in order in both the sixth and seventh innings to end the game. Talcott got the game’s final out on a called third strike.
The game took only 74 minutes to complete.
Bradley Romero and Taylor recorded the only two hits for Chula Vista South in the game.
Chula Vista South completed its all-star journey with a 14-3 record and four tournament championships — Southern California Southwest Region, Southern California Super Region and West Zone.
Colt League World Series
Aug. 5-10 in Lafayette, Ind.
Friday, Aug. 5
Chula Vista South 14, South Texas Sluggers 9
Tijuana (Mexico) 7, South Korea 5
Hoosier North (Ind.) 11, Czech Republic 0
Lafayette (Ind.) All-Stars 6, Central Michagan Stars 4
Saturday, Aug. 6
Aruba 18, Hoosier North (Ind.) 5
Tijuana (Mexico) 8, Greensboro (N.C.) 4
Sunday, Aug. 7
Aruba 12, Chula Vista South 8
Tijuana (Mexico) 7, Lafayette (Ind.) All-Stars 3
Tuesday, Aug. 9
Hoosier North (Ind.) 9, Aruba 8
Tijuana (Mexico) 4, Lafayette (Ind. All-Stars) 3
Double elimination game
Wednesday, Aug. 10
Hoosier North (Ind.) 11, Aruba 5
Saturday, Aug. 6
South Korea 16, Central Michigan Stars 13
South Texas Sluggers 9,Czech Republic 8
Sunday, Aug. 7
South Korea 13, Greensboro (N.C.) 6
Hoosier North (Ind.) 8, South Texas Sluggers 1
Monday, Aug. 8
Hoosier North (Ind.) 4, Chula Vista South 0
Lafayette (Ind.) All-Stars 10, South Korea 3
Monday, Aug. 8
Central Michigan Stars 6, Czech Republic 5
Tijuana (Mexico) 6, Hoosier North (Ind.) 5