By Tom Murphy
La Jolla Youth Baseball
La Jolla Youth Baseball sent 11 teams to compete in the PONY South Section All-Star Tournament with the last few games being decided this week. Six teams from LJYB have already advanced to the PONY Southwest Region Tournament that starts for most divisions on July 7.
Having this many teams advance is a significant accomplishment and it represents the high quality of play, teamwork, and coaching that makes LJYB a strong league. Congratulations to the teams that represented the league but did not advance in the double-elimination brackets. They should be proud of their effort, especially because they practiced two-to-three times per week and played numerous scrimmage games during the past six weeks in preparation of the tournament.
LJYB hosted both Pony tournaments and both La Jolla teams advanced so there is something to be said about home field advantage.
Coach Roy Agbulos and his boys played their final games on the Cliffridge Fields this week, including Johnny Agbulos who has played all 10 years going back to his Shetland days.
The Pony-14 team defeated Tecolote 5-1 with Luke Bucon pitching a complete game.
On three days rest, he threw another gem and the 14s beat a very talented Chula Vista North team 6-2. Down 1-0 in the 4th inning with the bases loaded two outs and two strikes, Max Scott hit a grounder to second base that slipped through the defenders legs to score two runs. Kevin Boermeester followed with a 3-run bomb to put La Jolla ahead 5-1. Both teams played again on Monday in the championship game and La Jolla prevailed 5-2 on excellent pitching from Reed Meyer and Kevin
The Pony-13 team dropped their first game 5-2 to Chula Vista South, who went on to win the tournament. Nick Barber pitched four strong innings and turned it over with a 2-2 tie when Chula Vista put together some timely hits to push ahead. In the losers’ bracket, a powerful Vista team hammered La Jolla, 14-1, on its way to the championship game. The Pony-13s still advance to the Regional tourney due to run differentials over the other teams in their bracket.
The Bronco-12s lost their first game, 12-2 ,against an impressive Ramona team. In the losers’ bracket, they beat North City Blue 6-3 — setting up a win-or-go-home game against rival North City Red. La Jolla was down 4-1 in the top of the 6th inning and scored two runs. Carson Greene tied the game in the 7th with a 250-foot blast. Nick Hammel drove in Noah McBride for the go-ahead run. Greene pitched a complete game on the way to a 5-4 victory, which guaranteed La Jolla a berth in the Regional tourney. The Bronco-12s dropped their last game to Ramona, who went on to win the tournament. The Bronco-11s blew a 7-2 run lead to Tecolote, who came back with six unanswered runs to win the opening game 8-2. With a depleted roster, the 11s were knocked out of the tournament by Chula Vista South, 17-8.
LJYB entered three tournament teams into the Mustang division. The Mustang Red team handily won their opening game 13-3 against Emerald. They lost to North City 6-0 and dropped into the losers’ bracket, where they faced a tough Tecolote team, who had also come off of a loss to North City. Tecolote won 16-6 on the way to the championship game. Coach Brian Kelly stated “the parents and the coaches are extremely proud of how hard our boys worked to improve their baseball skills, learn the game, and learn how to honor the game and respect their
The Mustang Blue team battled Chula Vista South in their first game, 10-6. They faced Tecolote Red in the losers’ bracket and suffered a tough loss to end their tournament season.
The Mustang-9 team played in a very competitive field with four extremely close games. They beat rival North City-9s, 12-11 before losing the next round 12-9 against Chula Vista South (CVS won the tournament.) La Jolla snuck past Paradise Hills 9-8 in order to play North City again in the losers’ bracket. Not only did they lose a close 4-3 game, but the winner advanced to the Regional tourney. It was a great effort on the part of this talented team.
The Pinto division also entered three teams into the Sectional tournament. The power-hitting “Red Stripers” opened up with a rousing 23-21 victory over Mira Mesa A. Unfortunately they had to play La Jolla Blue in the next round, with the Red Stripers coming out on top 16-5.
La Jolla Blue was eliminated from the tournament by a strong Ramona Red team in a 12-11 battle. The Red Stripers faced Mira Mesa A again in the losers’ bracket with a 9-2 win. They avenged the Blue team’s loss to Ramona Red with a convincing 16-7 victory. Coach Duffy’s team met their match in the next round, losing 18-10 to Tecolote Red, who went on to win the tournament via the losers’ bracket.
La Jolla Red deservedly advanced to the Regional Tournament where they face La Costa Gold on Saturday.
The Pinto-7 team dropped their first game 15-5 to La Costa North, who won the tournament. In the losers’ bracket they lost to Carlsbad 12-1, but they still advance to the Regional tourney where they face San Marcos North on Saturday.
LJYB’s powerhouse Shetland team came through with flying colors — again. They beat Mira Mesa 15-1, Chula Vista South 14-13 and San Marcos South 12-2.
In the finals, they faced Mira Mesa who came through the losers’ bracket to beat La Jolla 11-4 and 24-17 in a grueling double header. La Jolla plays Ramona in their first game of the Regional tournament on Saturday.
Good luck to all of the LJYB teams playing in the PONY Regional Tournament!