LJYB all-star teams thrive in PONY tournament

Sterling Hayes was all smiles after hitting a home run. courtesY
Sterling Hayes was all smiles after hitting a home run. courtesY

After the playoffs are over and the champions and runners-up receive their trophies, there is still more baseball to be played for 10 LJYB All Star teams in five divisions as they enter the official PONY Sectional Tournament — Southern Section.

Bronco Red dropped their first game 13-6 to rival Tecolote Red and bounced back with a 12-3 thumping over Paradise Hills. Needing to stay alive in an elimination game against North City Red, they suffered a tough 15-2 loss to end their tournament play.

Bronco 11s team advanced to the regional round of the PONY tournament by defeating Ramona and North City in the South Sectional round at North City.

La Jolla pummeled Ramona 28-2 in the first game on Saturday morning. Sterling Hayes pitched a gem for La Jolla and was backed by flawless team defense including a number of clutch plays from Nick Hammel at third and Carson Greene at shortstop. Hayes was 4-for 5-with three home runs and had 10 RBI including two home runs during a 19-run La Jolla attack in the top of the fifth. Noah McBride added a laser-like home run to straightaway center field. Leadoff hitter Greene jump-started the La Jolla attack with a couple of opposite field bombs off the left field fence. Evan Benham added two hits for La Jolla during the 19-run inning. The mercy rule was applied and the game ended after five innings. The team moved on to play North City in game two and beat them in an exciting contest on the North City field 8-6, thus avenging a bitter 4-2 loss suffered during the Memorial Day tournament.

Carson Greene pitched seven strong innings to get the win while La Jolla’s offense provided a balanced attack with key hits delivered by Garrett Brown, Noah McBride and Nick Hammel. Down by two runs in the bottom of the fifth with two outs, North City had runners on second and third with one of their strongest hitters at the plate. As fans intently looked on and cheered their respective teams, the batter drove a pitch hard to center fielder Evan Benham who chased down the ball and made an athletic catch to end the game and preserve the win for La Jolla. In game three, La Jolla lost 13-10 to North City, but Noah McBride and James Shimashita kept them in the hunt with solo home runs. For the Sectional Championship game, the Bronco 11s had to face North City 11s yet again in the double-elimination format. Carson Green delivered another outstanding performance on the mound, throwing five innings of shutout ball. James Shimashita came on in relief to close out the 3-1 Sectional title for La Jolla. Noah McBride, Nick Hammel, and Kenny Hayden were offensive contributors.

Mustang Red opened their tournament minus five of their original players. With coach David Ring leading the team, they put together a 13-4 win over North City with Trevor Ace hitting a three-run blast and Daniel Massaad doing the same. Blaise Gimber, Marco Molina and Carsten Fehlan combined a solid pitching rotation. They won game two 9-8 over Mira Mesa Blue, followed by a 9-7 win over Ramona Blue. Should they beat Chula Vista South in their next game, they will advance to the Regional tournament over the Fourth of July weekend in Carlsbad.

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