LJYB enjoys big weekend at Memorial Day Tournament

From left: Coach Bill Luetzow, Coach Brad Kates, Manager Jim Duffy, Coach Klimkiewicz.  Team (in alphabetical order) includes Jack Boynton, Spence Carswell, Cole Duffy, Connor Hobbs, Aidan Holden, Tony Ide, Hunter Kates, Jake Klimkiewicz, Nathan Latimer, Johnny Luetzow, Christian Nava and Mark Stone.  Courtesy
From left: Coach Bill Luetzow, Coach Brad Kates, Manager Jim Duffy, Coach Klimkiewicz. Team (in alphabetical order) includes Jack Boynton, Spence Carswell, Cole Duffy, Connor Hobbs, Aidan Holden, Tony Ide, Hunter Kates, Jake Klimkiewicz, Nathan Latimer, Johnny Luetzow, Christian Nava and Mark Stone. Courtesy

By Tom Murphy

La Jolla Youth Baseball

La Jolla Youth Baseball strongly supports post-season play and sent 15 teams to the Memorial Day Tournament as proof.

The annual tournament was hosted by Tecolote Youth Baseball and includes tournament teams from around the region. It is a good tune-up for kids that will play in the official PONY All Star tournament, with Sectional games starting as early as June 20th. “Why send so many teams to the Memorial Day tourney” is a valid question and “Does it dilute the significance of All Stars?” is typically the next question.

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From left: Coach Bill Luetzow, Coach Brad Kates, Manager Jim Duffy, Coach Klimkiewicz. Team (in alphabetical order) includes Jack Boynton, Spence Carswell, Cole Duffy, Connor Hobbs, Aidan Holden, Tony Ide, Hunter Kates, Jake Klimkiewicz, Nathan Latimer, Johnny Luetzow, Christian Nava and Mark Stone. Courtes

LJYB’s leadership made a conscious decision a few years ago to encourage as many players as possible to experience tournament play as another way to develop more advanced skills and sharpen their mental game by playing at the next level against other tournament teams outside the league and at different venues. Everyone improves their game and the tournament format is exciting. All Star managers have to juggle line-ups when families go on vacation so having an active bench of players is key when playing deeper into the Regional and Zone tournaments. Last year the Bronco 11s were only three games away from the PONY World

Series and barely fielded 9 players and 1 coach for a couple of games up in Los Angeles, so depth matters.

The San Diego Pony Inteleague teams scheduled their playoffs during the Memorial Tournament so more teams and players could participate and enjoy the festivities at Tecolote. Among the nine playoff teams, RBC was seeded No. 3 and — lo and behold — they came in 3rd Place. The top two teams all season were the Tecolote-Toreros and Tecolote-Aztecs and they finished 1st and 2nd in a close championship game ending up with a walk-off triple to break a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 7th.

On their way to the semifinals, RBC snuck by LJYB’s SDG 10-9 before dropping a game to the Aztecs 5-3. Rotary Club of La Jolla found their way into the losers bracket after dropping their opening game to the Aztecs, then made quick work against North City in a 13-3 game that was shortened by the mercy rule. Rotary and SDG faced each other in an elimination game that went down to the wire with SDG advancing 9-8. SDG was eliminated in the next round in a heartbreaking finish. Backed by solid pitching by Trenton Fudge, Michael Marshall and Kevin Boormeester, they were tied 4-4 against the Tecolote-Rams in the bottom of the 7th inning with two outs and a runner on third base. The Rams batter struck out swinging but the ball got away from the catcher, who had to throw to first base to complete the out.

Unfortunately the throw hit the runner in the shoulder, he is safe at first and the runner on third steals home to end the game and the season for SDG. Carter Chopskie contributed to one of RBC’s victories with a grand slam. RBC’s season ended in a tough 3-2 loss to the Aztecs, thanks in part to a blown call by the umpire who failed to call a balk on a pitcher who — throwing from the wind-up — stops his delivery to chase the runner coming from third in a squeeze bunt called by Coach Agbulos. You can’t make up this stuff!

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