By Tom Murphy
La Jolla Youth Baseball
La Jolla Youth Baseball says “Let the summer begin!”
After 15 post-season tournament games and an equal number of practices, the 6-year old boys on La Jolla’s Shetland All-Star team are finally done for the season.
In fact, they played enough for two seasons. They won the Memorial Day Tournament at Tecolote. They placed second at the PONY Section Tournament and were seeded fourth in the Regional tournament, where they qualified for a berth in the Shetland World Series Tournament in West Covina.
If LJYB learned anything from their first visit to the World Series tournament last season, it was how much stronger the competition was at that level. Apparently not all 6-year old kids are created equal, and the only “juice” those kids up north are taking are apple juice and OJ.
Like King Sysyphus pushing his boulder up the mountain, the Shetland team returned to West Covina for pool play last Thursday, where 72 teams battle for 12 spots in the World Series championship brackets.
La Jolla Shetland drew the host team and top seed West Covina Blue for the opening game, with the locals prevailing 9-2. That set the boys up for a tough double-header on Saturday. Corona won the first game 14-2 that was shortened by the mercy rule.
In 90-degree heat, the coaches broke out the secret weapon for game No. 2: Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
This powerful snack erased any memory of the prior game and fired the boys up for an elimination game against Irvine. La Jolla lost 15-5 and it was officially summer for LJYB at noon on Saturday.
Jack Circuit hit some of the hardest balls in the games and really hustled on defense. Walter Birnbaum played solid first base throughout the tournament and rover Jack Stahl was a force at third base with his diving tags on runners.
Hank Hansen was lead-off batter in the line-up and is already a heads-up catcher. Justin Stone contributed to the defensive effort at pitcher and left field. A special shout out to coaches Walter Birnbaum, Greg Hansen, Chris Circuit and Dennis Kim for all they did to get this talented young team to the pinnacle of their young baseball careers.
Time to hang up the cleats and put on some flip flops!