La Jolla Youth Baseball celebrates Championship Day to wrap up 2014 season

The Performance Titanium Group team is the Bronco-division champion. (Michele Friszell Photography)
The Performance Titanium Group team is the Bronco-division champion. (Michele Friszell Photography)
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The SD Storage team is the Pinto-division champion. FRONT ROW: Jordan Cohen, Alex Park, Jimmy Sampson, Jonathan Freedman and Alex Llewellyn-Smith. MIDDLE ROW: Finn Kjos, Tyler Boynton, Hank Hansen, Tucker MacDonald and Noa Tang. BACK ROW: Jim Sampson, Rick Boynton, Greg Hansen and Mark Kjos. (Michele Friszell Photography)

By Tom Murphy

La Jolla Youth Baseball

La Jolla Youth Baseball wrapped up its 2014 season with exciting Championship games in the Pinto, Mustang and Bronco divisions on May 17.  The Shetland division completed its season earlier in the month and the Pony division played the SD Pony Inter-League Playoffs over Memorial Day weekend at Tecolote.

Pinto:

The Pinto Championship game had an early start and these boys didn’t disappoint. No. 2 seed SD Storage beat Natural High and Voices for Children to advance to the final game. As the No. 7 seed, Cottage Insurance played an extra “play-in” game against Party City before upsetting the No. 1 seed Baxter Foundation and then RBC to reach the finals.

The championship game was a back and forth affair with SD Storage taking a 7-3 lead after two innings, then spotted Cottage 10 runs to make it a 13-7 game in the fourth. SD Storage responded with five runs to cut the lead to one run. With the game on the line and a runner on third base, Jonathan Freedman snagged a line drive to end the inning.

The momentum shifted and SD Storage scored five runs for a 17-14 lead in the sixth. Cottage Insurance scored a couple of runs in their last at bat and were knocking on the door for more when Tyler Boynton made a clutch double play to thwart the comeback. Congrats to Coach Rick Boynton and his solid team for winning the game and the division with a 17-16 final score.

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The Alexandria Real Estate team is the Mustang-division champion. FRONT ROW: Jake Dixon, Gustavo DeLaFuente, Sean Trinh, Austin Bale, Charlie Hodges. MIDDLE ROW: Landyn McKeown, Sean Ryan, Jackson Stratton, Dillon Jones, Jack Blount and Manny Butler. BACK ROW: Coach TJ Merritt, Coach Justin McKeown and Manager Dan Ryan. (Michele Friszell Photography)

Mustang:

After locking in the No. 1 seed in the Mustang Division double-elimination playoffs, Alexandria Real Estate faced an uphill battle after dropping their opening playoff game to SD Pools.

Clawing their way back through the losers bracket, Alexandria won the next four games in six days of record heat against Sector 9, Garden Communities, Qualcomm and Syntergy to reach the finals.

As the No. 7 seed, Retirement Benefits Group (RBG) led by Coach Rick MacDonald, efficiently advanced through the winner’s bracket against Southwest Strategies, Qualcomm, Garden Communities and Syntergy to face Alexandria in a possible double header for the championship title.

Alexandria won the first game handily, forcing a showdown between the two teams. A ground-rule double by Sean Ryan in the first inning got things started and the teams were tied 3-3 after three innings.

Jake Dixon’s double started a two-out rally with Alexandria taking a 6-3 lead after four innings. Jackson Stratton added some insurance runs in the fifth with a home run and Alexandria won the title — the hard way — with an 11-4 final score. Coach Dan Ryan did a great job preserving his pitchers arms through the losers’ bracket and a double-elimination championship series.

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The Performance Titanium Group team is the Bronco-division champion. (Michele Friszell Photography)

Bronco:

The final Championship game of the day was played on the Bronco field between No. 1 seed Performance Titanium Group (PTG) and Pharmatek, who had to beat Morgan Stanley twice for another shot at PTG in the finals.

Coach Tim Scott led his team through the losers bracket and they held a 2-1 lead into the fifth-inning of a real pitcher’s duel.

Peyton Wallace walked a couple of batters and faced the top of the order with the bases loaded. Austin Schroeder cleared the bases with a three-run double and proceeded to pitch two shutout innings to end the game 6-3. Coach Dave Hammel and his talented PTG team secured the Bronco title without a loss.

All Stars Tourney:

There’s a lot more baseball to be played with All Stars getting started. LJYB entered 10 teams in the Memorial Day Tournament hosted by Tecolote Youth Baseball.

This tournament is preparation for the official PONY Section Tournament that starts June 1 in Ramona.

The PONY tournaments play through Section, Region, Super-Region, Zone and end up with a World Series in each division. For a small league, LJYB fares well in these tournaments as evidenced by the many PONY tournament banners displayed around the La Jolla fields.

— More information about La Jolla Youth Baseball at

ljyb.org

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Catcher Jackson Stratton waits for the pitch with Vincent Ricchiuti up at bat. (Photo by Ashley Mackin)
   
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