On the road to the Little League World Series with Sweetwater Valley

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Sweetwater Valley Little League’s 12U all-star team shows who is No. 1 after winning last Saturday’s district title. Photo by Jon Bigornia

Sweetwater Valley Little League’s 12U all-star team has officially stepped on the golden road to the Little League World Series after defeating Chula Vista American Little League, 6-1, in last Saturday’s California District 42 championship game at Park View Little League.

It’s a long road that SVLL manager Ward Lannom has taken before, and in 2015, landed in a final stop in South Williamsport, Pa.

“The biggest thing for the kids is getting them to know what they’re up against,” said Lannom, whose 2015 District 42 champions advanced all the way to claim third place in the LLWS United States bracket. “To me personally, all-stars has always been exciting. You’re playing for your little league, then your district, then your community. When you keep winning and the crowds get bigger and bigger, you get an adrenaline rush.”

Lannom hopes to experience that adrenaline rush again. This is his fifth SVLL 12U team he has managed, the first being in 2014, then 2015, 2018, 2019 and this season.

His teams have won four district championships, three Section 7 championships and two Southern California regional championships.

The 2015 and 2019 squads both advanced as far as the western regional level, with the fabled 2015 team advancing to the Little League World Series.

This year’s team could also enjoy a long run, he said.

“We’re solid defensively,” Lannom explained. “We have seven pitchers, two who are P1’s and others who can chip in. It’s a very special group of boys.”

Sweetwater Valley started on the road to the Little League World Series with a 26-0 win over Luckie Waller to open California District 42 tournament play. Photos by Jon Bigornia

Sweetwater Valley went through the district tournament with three wins without a loss — defeating Luckie Waller (26-0 on July 2), South Bay (15-0 on July 5) and Chula Vista American (6-1).

Rostered players include Niko Duncan, Tatum Feria, Maelo Forrero, Brandon Hirsch, Kenson Johnson, Roman Murphy, Ethan Orozco, Joel Vargas, Nico Villa, Austin Walrath, Joe Waters, Beckett Wilson and Lucas Yriqui.

Johnson pitched a complete-game victory in the district championship game, striking out nine batters in six innings. Duncan went three-for-four with two RBI, Vargas hit a two-run home run (and was walked twice) while Johnson went two-for-four with one RBI.

Sweetwater Valley rapped out 11 hits total in the game.

Family affair: Sweetwater Valley 12U all-star manager Ward Lannom with wife Kelly and son Walker.

The newly-minted D42 champions advance to the California Section 7 championship tournament, which starts this Saturday and runs through next Wednesday at Spring Valley Little League. Sweetwater Valley will be joined in the sectional by District 41 champion Lakeside National, District 66 champion Spring Valley and District 22 champion Calexico.

“We need three wins — Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday,” Lannom said when asked what is on order for his team in the next round.

“We faced three tier 1 pitchers (in the district tournament). District 42 is the toughest tournament to get out of.”

Lannom is assisted by coaches Arturo Maldonado and Ramon Orozco.

10U Division champions — Chula Vista American Little League. Photo by Jon Bigornia
11U Division champions — Eastlake Little League. Photo by Jon Bigornia
Junior Division champions — Park View Little League. Photo by Jon Bigornia

Batter up
Championships were decided in four divisions at last Saturday’s finals at Park View Little League. Chula Vista American defeated Park View, 5-3 to win the 10U banner while Eastlake defeated Sweetwater Valley, 11-0, to win the 11U title.

Park View defeated Eastlake, 12-0, to win the Junior Division (13U) championship.

All victorious teams advance to the California Section 7 tournament.

“This year the 2022 all-star tournament delivered on the expectation of excitement we all anticipated for the return of Little League baseball,” District 42 administrator Ernie Lucero said.

“There was a strong showing by the community attending the games, including the two mayoral candidates for the City of Chula Vista: Councilmember John McCann and Ammar Campa-Najjar. They threw out the ceremonial first pitch and we thank them for participating with us.

“The strength of our Little League baseball culture in the South Bay was demonstrated by Sweetwater Valley Little League in the Senior, Intermediate and 10-12 years old Little League divisions. Park View Little League won in the Junior division. Eastlake Little League were winners in the 9-11 year-old division and Chula Vista American Little League won the 8-10 year-old division.

“These champions across all age brackets from different little leagues within District 42 goes to show the competitive nature of all teams in this year’s tournament.

“I attended the 10-12 year-old Little League division championship game. Under the leadership and guidance of manager Brian Carter from Chula Vista American Little League, his team played exceptionally well, successfully taking numerous games in a row to advance to the championship game. Even though this team fell short in the championship game, all along they displayed sheer cohesion, team spirit, and perseverance.

“The Sweetwater Little League team that won the 10-12s division had familiar faces with manager Ward Lannom and coach Arturo Maldonado. These two individuals are well-known for their stints at Western Region in San Bernardino and Williamsport.  I have no doubt they will have their team ready to play at the next level in sectionals in Spring Valley in District 66.”

Making a pitch

Photos by Jon Bigornia

Chula Vista mayoral candidates Ammar Campa-Najjar and John McCann had the honor of throwing out the first pitch prior to the start of last Saturday’s District 42 Little League championships.

Next level
California District 66 Little League will host three Section 7 tournaments — all at Spring Valley Little League, 1312 Sweetwater Lane in Spring Valley. They include the 11U and 12U all-star divisions as well as the Junior Division for younger teenagers.

The 11U all-star bracket includes championship teams from three districts: Rancho de Oro (District 41), Eastlake (District 42) and Lemon Grove (District 66). District 22 is not sending a team.

The 12U all-star bracket includes championship teams from all four districts: Calexico (District 22), Lakeside National (District 41), Sweetwater Valley (District 42) and Spring Valley (District 66).

The Junior League bracket includes teams from all four districts: Holtville (District 22), West Hills (District 41), Park View (District 42) and Spring Valley (District 66).

California District 41 will host the 10U sectional tournament at Fletcher Hills Little League.

10U Division
Saturday, July 16
District 41 vs. District 66, 10 a.m.
District 22 vs. District 42, 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 17
Winners bracket, 10 a.m.
Elimination game, 1:30 p.m.

Monday, July 18
Elimination game, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 19
Championship game, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 20
If necessary, 6:30 p.m.

 

11U Division
Saturday, July 16
District 41 vs. District 42, 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, July 17
District 66 vs. District 41-District 42 winner, noon

Monday, July 18
Elimination game, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, July 19
Championship game, 6 p.m.

Thursday, July 21
If necessary, 4 p.m.

 

12U Division
Saturday, July 16
District 66 vs. District 42, 3 p.m.
District 41 vs. District 22, 6 p.m.

Sunday, July 17
Elimination game, 3 p.m.
Winners bracket, 6 p.m.

Monday, July 18
Elimination game, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, July 20
Championship game, 6 p.m.

Thursday, July 21
If necessary, 6 p.m.

 

Junior Division
Thursday, July 14
West Hills (District 41) 16, Spring Valley (District 66) 2

Friday, July 15
Park View (District 42) 16, Imperial (District 22) 1

Saturday, July 16
Winners bracket, noon
Elimination game, 4 p.m.

Sunday, July 17
Elimination game, 2 p.m.

Monday, July 18
Championship game, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, July 19
If necessary, 6 p.m.

 

California District 42 Little League
2022 Parade of Champions

10U Division: Chula Vista American Little League

11U Division: Eastlake Little League

12U Division: Sweetwater Valley Little League

Junior Division: Park View Little League

 

CALIFORNIA DISTRICT 66 CHAMPIONS

10U Division: Las Palmas Little League

11U Division: Lemon Grove Little League

12U Division: Spring Valley Little League

Junior Division: Spring Valley Little League

Senior Division: Spring Valley Little League

 

California District 42 Little League All-Star Tournaments

10U Division

Saturday, July 2
Eastlake Little League
Chula Vista American 13, Imperial Beach 0
Eastlake 13, South Bay 3

Sweetwater Valley Little League
Park View 18, Chula Vista National 0
Sweetwater Valley 11, Luckie Waller 1

Sunday, July 3
Eastlake Little League
South Bay 10, Imperial Beach 3

Sweetwater Valley Little League
Luckie Waller 14, Chula Vista National 13

Tuesday, July 5
Eastlake Little League
Chula Vista American 16, Eastlake 2

Sweetwater Valley Little League
Sweetwater Valley 8, Park View 7

Wednesday, July 6
Eastlake Little League
Park View 14, South Bay 3

Sweetwater Valley Little League
Eastlake 22, Luckie Waller 0

Thursday, July 7
Park View Little League
Winners bracket final: Chula Vista American 10, Sweetwater Valley 2

Sweetwater Valley Little League
Elimination game: Park View 10, Eastlake 0

Friday, July 8
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Elimination bracket final: Park View 18, Sweetwater Valley 4

Saturday, July 9
Park View Little League
Championship game: Chula Vista American 5, Park View 3
Note: winner advances to Section 7 tournament hosted by District 41

 

11U Division

Saturday, July 2
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Eastlake 10, Park View 0
Sweetwater Valley 5, Chula Vista American 0

Sunday, July 3
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Eastlake 12, Imperial Beach 0

Tuesday, July 5
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Chula Vista American 6, Park View 5

Wednesday, July 6
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Chula Vista American 19, Imperial Beach 1

Thursday, July 7
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Winners bracket final: Eastlake 13, Sweetwater Valley 1

Friday, July 8
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Elimination bracket final: Sweetwater Valley 7, Chula Viata American

Saturday, July 9
Park View Little League
Championship game: Eastlake 11, Sweetwater Valley 0
Note: winner advances to Section 7 tournament hosted by District 66

 

12U Division

Saturday, July 2
Sweetwater Valley Little League
South Bay 3, Imperial Beach 2
Sweetwater Valley 26, Luckie Waller 0

Eastlake Little League
Park View 9, Chula Vista American 7
Eastlake 21, Southwest 0

Sunday, July 3
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Luckie Waller 4, Imperial Beach 3

Eastlake Little League
Chula Vista American 18, Southwest 0

Tuesday, July 5
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Sweetwater Valley 15, South Bay 0

Eastlake Little League
Park View 7, Eastlake 1

Wednesday, July 6
Sweetwater Valley Little League
Eastlake 11, Luckie Waller 7

Eastlake Little League
Chula Vista American 14, South Bay 8

Thursday, July 7
Park View Little League
Winners bracket final: Sweetwater Valley 4, Park View 1

Sweetwater Valley Little League
Elimination game: Chula Vista American 10, Eastlake 0

Friday, July 8
Park View Little League
Elimination bracket final: Chula Vista American, Park View 2

Saturday, July 9
Park View Little League
Championship game: Sweetwater Valley 6, Chula Vista American 1
Note: winner advances to Section 7 tournament hosted by District 66

 

JUNIOR DIVISION

Sweetwater Valley Little League
Wednesday, July 6
Eastlake 8, Sweetwater Valley 1

Thursday, July 7
Park View Little League
Park View 17, Eastlake 0

Friday, July 8
Park View Little League
Eastlake 11, Sweetwater Valley 2

Saturday, July 9
Park View Little League
Championship game: Par View 12, Eastlake 0
Note: winner advances to Section 7 tournament hosted by District 66

 

Senior Division

Sweetwater Valley Little League
Saturday, June 25
Sweetwater Valley 9, Imperial Beach 5

Sunday, June 26
Imperial Beach 5, Sweetwater Valley 4

Monday, June 27
Championship game: Sweetwater Valley 5, Imperial Beach 4

 

California District 42 champion Sweetwater Valley swept California District 41 champion Singing Hills to lay claim to this year’s 2022 California Section 7 Intermeidiate Division championship banner. Courtesy photo

Sweetwater Valley fires first salvo to capture Section 7 Intermediate Division championship

Sweetwater Valley Little League’s Intermediate Division all-star team became the first California District 42 team to claim a California Section 7 championship banner after sweeping California District 41 champion Singing Hills Little League by scores of 18-0 and 20-1 in tournament play June 29-30 at Jamul Little League.

Previously, Sweetwater Valley went 3-0 to capture the district championship, defeating Southwest Little League, 10-6, in the championship game on June 27.

“The boys have been having so much fun playing this year,” SVLL manager Mark Hatton said. “Most of these kids have been playing together since T-ball at Sweetwater Valley. Our team mascot is an orange Charmander. We had a day off from the fields and took the team to the Del Mar Fair and they won it. And it has been following us around ever since.”

The Charmander will be following the team to this weekend’s Southern California regionals at Rancho Peñasquitos Little League. The newly crowned Section 7 champions were scheduled to meet Section 2 champion Santa Anita in Thursday’s tournament opener.
The regionals run through Friday, July 15.

The Sweetwater Valley roster includes the following players: K.J. Norton, Don Divinagracia, Cole Margetts, Jackson Hernandez, Leo Nguyen, Julian Barraza, Gio Muro, Diego Topete, Dylan Hatton, Lorenzo Robles, Lucas Nguyen and Super Akins.

Coaches include Kendrick Johnson and Ruben Hernandez.

Jackson Hernandez opened on the mound to start Game 1. He pitched four scoreless innings while allowing only one hit. Lucas Nguyen closed out the game with a scoreless four-strikeout inning in the run-rule shortened game. Margetts, Nguyen and Hernandez each rapped out three hits while Nguyen slammed two home runs and Topete had another round-tripper.

Margetts started on the mound in Game 2 and pitched three innings with two hits and one run allowed. Robles finished off the game by allowing no runs with three strikeouts in one inning. At the plate, Topete had three hits, including a home run, while Dylan Hatton smashed a grand slam.

 

California District 42
Intermediate Division

Friday, June 24
Sweetwater Valley 11, Southwest 1
Eastlake 17, Imperial Beach 0

Saturday, June 25
Sweetwater Valley 15, Eastlake 2
Southwest 15, Imperial Beach 0

Sunday, June 26
Southwest 14, Eastlake 4

Monday, June 27
Championship game: Sweetwater Valley 10, Southwest 6

 

Las Palmas Little League – California District 66 10U Division champions. Photo courtesy/Facebook

California District 66 All-Star Tournaments

10U Division

Saturday, June 18
Encanto 6, Las Palmas 5
Lemon Grove 18, Twin Hills 6
Spring Valley 18, San Diego American 3

Tuesday, June 21
Las Palmas 14, San Diego American 3

Wednesday, June 22
Valley deo Oro 19, Twin Hills 18

Thursday, June 23
Spring Valley 9, Encanto 3

Saturday, June 25
Las Palmas 11, Spring Valley 9
Encanto 7, San Diego American 2

Tuesday, June 28
Encanto 21, Valley de Oro 2

Wednesday, June 29
Las Palmas 10, Lemon Grove 0

Saturday, July 2
Lemon Grove 21, Valley de Oro 6
Las Palmas 15, Encanto 5

Tuesday, July 5
Encanto 23, Lemon Grove 10

Wednesday, July 6
Championship game: Las Palmas 7, Encanto 6

 

11U Division

Saturday, June 18
Lemon Grove 6, Valley de Oro 1
Spring Valley 19, San Diego American 3

Wednesday, June 22
Spring Valley 8, Valley de Oro 4

Thursday, June 23
Lemon Grove 10, San Diego American 0

Saturday, June 25
Lemon Grove 12, Spring Valley 6
Valley de Oro 10, San Diego American 4

Tuesday, June 28
Lemon Grove 13, San Diego American 0

Wednesday, June 29
Spring Valley 4, Valley de Oro 1

Saturday, July 2
Lemon Grove 11, Spring Valley 1
Valley de Oro 17, San Diego American 5

Tuesday, July 5
Valley de Oro 2, Spring Valley 1

Thursday, July 7
Championship game: Lemon Grove 8, Valley de Oro 3

 

12U Division

Spring Valley Little League
Saturday, June 18
Las Palmas 8, Lemon Grove 5
Spring Valley 12, Encanto 1

Tuesday, June 21
Valley de Oro 10, Las Palmas 0

Wednesday, June 22
Twin Hills 10, Encanto 2

Saturday, June 25
Spring Valley 8, Twin Hills 3
Valley de Oro 10, Lemon Grove 2

Monday, June 27
Lemon Grove 13, Encanto 12

Tuesday, June 28
Valley de Oro 8, Twins Hills 0

Wednesday, June 29
Spring Valley 11, Las Palmas 1

Saturday, July 2
Twin Hills 12, Las Palmas 10
Valley de Oro 1, Spring Valley 0

Tuesday, July 5
Spring Valley 11, Twin Hills 3

Thursday, July 7
Spring Valley 2, Valley de Oro 0

Friday, July 8
Championship game: Spring Valley 1, Valley de Oro 0

 

Junior Division

Thursday, June 23
Lemon Grove 14, Encanto 6

Saturday, June 25
Lemon Grove 12, Spring Valley 11

Tuesday, June 28
Encanto 7, Spring Valley 4

Saturday, July 2
Spring Valley 5, Encanto 1

Tuesday, July 5
Spring Valley 17, Lemon Grove 5

Thursday, July 7
Encanto 19, Lemon Grove 10

Friday, July 8
Championship game: Spring Valley 7, Encanto 3

 

Senior Division

Monday, June 20
Lemon Grove 5, Encanto 2

Wednesday, June 22
Spring Valley 11, Lemon Grove 3

Thursday, June 24
Lemon Grove 10, Encanto 9

Saturday, June 25
Championship game: Spring Valley 14, Lemon Grove 6

 

 

California Section 7 All-Star Tournaments

Intermediate Division

At Jamul Little League
Wednesday, June 29
Sweetwater Valley 18, Singing Hills 0

Thursday, June 30
Sweetwater Valley 20, Singing Hills 1

Note: Sweetwater Valley advances to Southern California regional against Section 2 champion Santa Anita at Rancho Penasquitos Little League.

 

Senior Division

At Spring Valley Little League
Friday, July 1
Spring Valley (District 66) 12, Sweetwater Valley
(District 42) 6

Saturday, July 2
Sweetwater Valley (District 42) 14, Spring Valley (District 66) 4

Wednesday, July 6
Championship game: Sweetwater Valley (District 42) 14, Spring Valley (District 66) 3

 

Sweetwater Valley Little League’s Senior Division team roared back from the brink of elimination to capture this year’s California Section 7 championship banner with a 14-3 victory over Spring Valley on Wednesday. Photo by Jon Bigornia

Sweetwater Valley all-stars outlast Spring Valley for California Section 7 championship title

It’s becoming a busy time in Little League baseball as multiple age divisions are starting to reach championship finals.

Sweetwater Valley made it 2-for-2 at the California Section 7 level after its Senior Division team wrapped up its best-of-three championship series against California District 66 champion Spring Valley Little League Wednesday in Spring Valley.

After dropping the series opener, 12-6, to the District 66 champions last Friday, the District 42 champions roared back with sizable victories of 14-4 on Saturday and 14-3 on Wednesday to capture the series two games to one.

Sweetwater Valley improved to 4-2 in all-star play after previously defeating Imperial Beach Little League two games to one to win the district flag.

SVLL manager Todd Anderson said the team’s secret to success so far has been team chemistry.

“The kids love each other,” Anderson said. “They enjoy being around each other. They work for each other. They keep fighting.

“A lot of these kids were on the cusp of making all-star teams in the past. Now that they’ve made it, they’re not letting it slip through their fingers.”

Lucas Fouch hit a three-run home run while teammate Nico Miranda hit a three-run inside the park home run. William Schmidt hit a solo home run while Peter Zacharzuk slammed a pair of ground-rule doubles to further buttress the team’s offensive outburst.

Sweetwater Valley now advances to the Southern California regionals in Norco. District 42’s first game is Saturday against Section 9 champion Murrieta National (District 28).

District 66’s all-star team was evently split between players from Mount Miguel and Monte Vista high schools.

“Our hitting was our strong point, we were a very disciplined hitting team.” manager Eddie Camacho said.

Top players included third baseman Alfredo Rodriguez and pitcher Rudy Thomas from Mount Miguel and relief pitcher Damian Ordaz and catcher Diego Cortez from Monte Vista.
Thomas was the winning pitcher in the District 66 championship game.

District 42 championship games in the 10U, 11U and 12U brackets are scheduled Saturday with “if necessary” games to follow on Sunday.

“We’ve already had some close games and a couple of games decided by walk-off runs,” District 42 administrator Ernie Lucero said.

Sweetwater Valley Little League
Senior Division champions
Porter Anderson
Nathan Bailey
Lucas Fouch
Abel Meza
Nico Miranda
Louis Nguyen
Trevor Reich
Jack Rush
Nicholas Sanchez
William Schmidt
Wyatt Stephenson
Jake Zacharzuk
Peter Zacharzuk
Manager: Todd Anderson

Spring Valley Little League advanced to this year’s California Section 7 championship tournament as the California District 66 champion. Photo by Jon Bigornia

CV’s Orozco, El Cajon’s Villalva attend USA Baseball 12U national team trials in North Carolina

Maximus Villalva of El Cajon’s Rancho de Oro Little League and Ethan Orozco of Sweetwater Valley Little League were treated to youth royalty recently while attending events at the USA Baseball complex in Cary, N.C.

Villalva was among 18 players recently named to the 2022 USA 12U national youth baseball team following the conclusion of the 2022 national team trials.

The U-12 squad will compete in the upcoming U-12 Baseball World Cup July 29 to Aug. 7 in Taiwan.
Both boys represented GBGSan Diego at the 12U national team trials.

Villalva won the 2022 11U Futures Invitational Home Run Derby by hitting a total of 12 home runs — five in the first round and seven in the championship round to win the title.
The USA Baseball Futures Invitational is an elite youth championship event showcasing the best 10U and 11U teams that feature the top youth talent in the nation.

The 2022 11 Futures Invitational wrapped up June 26 as the Premier Nationals defeated the Showcase Baseball Academy, 12-4, in the 11U championship game and the California’s ZT Prospects National repeated as 10U champions with an 8-0 win over Banditos de Leon of Texas.

Orozco helped lead Team Blue to a 7-2 win over Team Red to pick up its first win of the 2022 12U National Team Trials Blue versus Red series on June 30.

Orozco, who is scheduled to graduate high school in 2028, singled to lead off Team Blue’s fourth inning and later came around to score on a two-run double by Jordan Leon (Northridge) to extend Team Blue’s lead to 5-0.

Orozco, a catcher/infielder, went one-for-two with eight putouts in the game.
The San Diego Show competed in the 11U bracket at the Futures Invitational.

 

Pony-14 Region All-Star Tournament Schedule

At Tecolote Youth Baseball
Monday, July 11
Mission Bay vs. La Jolla, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 12
Paradise Hills vs. Tecolote, 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 13
Mission Bay-La Jolla winner vs. San Marcos, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 14
Escondido vs. Chula Vista South, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, July 15
Ramona vs, Carlsbad, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 16
Mission Bay-La Jolla loser vs. Ramona-Carlsbad loser, 8 a.m.
Escondido-Chula Vista South loser vs. TBD, 11 a.m.
Paradise Hills-Tecolote loser vs. TBD, 2 p.m.
Paradise HIlls-Tecolote winner vs. TBD, 5 p.m.

Monday, July 18
Escondido-Chula Vista South winner vs. Ramona-Carlsbad winner, 4;30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 19
Elimination game, 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 20
Elimination game, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 21
Winners bracket game, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, July 22
Elimination game, 4:30 p.m.

On the road to the Little League World Series with Sweetwater Valley