Championship Day: La Jolla Youth Baseball crowns division winners

La Jolla Youth Baseball Championship Day — the cherry on top of the season — took place May 16, 2015 at Cliffridge Park.

The five teams in the Bronco division started their double-elimination tournament last week with Baxter Foundation upsetting Rotary Club of La Jolla 3 to 1. Mitch’s Surf Shop rallied to beat Sector 9 with a 9 to 2 score. Baxter Foundation stayed in the winners bracket with a narrow win over top seed Science of Sport. Rotary Club came up short in extra innings as Sector 9’s strong offense secured their victory. Mitch’s Surf Shop earned a berth in the finals with a solid won over Baxter Foundation 15 to 1. Fighting through the losers bracket, Science of Sport came back strong with successive victories over Sector 9 and Baxter Foundation, led by excellent hitting including a grand slam by Jack Boynton, advancing them to the championship game.

On Championship Saturday, Science of Sport needed two victories to claim the title and Mitch’s Surf Shop only needed one. Science of Sports’ stellar performance in the morning game led them to a 6 to 4 win over Mitch’s, forcing a second game. Key home runs by Nathan Latimer and Tyler Blackburn, along with fantastic pitching by Jake Bold, Conner Goldman, Luke Roberts, Latimer and Blackburn helped secure the win.

The boys took a short break to enjoy the BBQ that was hosted by the league. The winner-take-all game started off with the same degree of competitiveness, as they were neck-and-neck through the first few innings, highlighted by defensive web gems on both sides. Science of Sport pulled ahead 4 to 2 in the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom of the inning, Ryan Chow and Ryan Lancaster led the rally followed by Diego Solis’ clutch two-out triple putting Mitch’s Surf Shop ahead for good 5 to 4. Spence Carswell pitched two shutout innings with Jack Liebesman doing a great job behind the dish. Congratulations to Coach Bo Solis and his Bronco Championship team.

In the Mustang division championship, Team Syntergy squared-off against Retirement Benefits Group (RBG) in a contest of the top two teams from the regular season. Veteran PONY baseball manager Mike Campagna, whose team remained undefeated through the playoffs and into the finals, manages Syntergy. RBG, managed by Michael Solis, took and early loss and had to claw their way back through a tough losers bracket. The championship game started off with some firepower, with 10-year-old Binks Deatherage hitting a two-run homer in the first inning. The game remained close through the middle innings when RBG threatened again but, with runners on the bases and two outs, Jacob Campagna made a spectacular catch in center field to save a couple of runs. Syntergy turned on the offense and took a 6 to 3 lead. The final score was 8 to 5. Congratulations to Syntergy manager Campagna and Coach Tyler Lawton for a great Mustang season.

Some of the highest scoring games are played in the 7- to 8-year-old Pinto division. They saw an action packed playoffs that featured unassisted triple plays, extra innings and an exciting championship victory for the Palomar Insurance Holdings ‘Hippos.’ The first day of the playoffs featured a thrilling extra inning battle between Puesto and Red Door Interactive, and winning performances from Murfey Construction, Seamgen and Sudberry Properties. In the second round, Seamgen upset top seed Natural High and Palomar defeated Sudberry to join Murfey and Puesto in the semifinals. Palomar successfully knocked out Puesto with a 22 to 14 victory and Murfey held off a feisty Seamgen team with a 16 to 13 win. The finals produced a game that one only sees in the Pinto division with Palomar prevailing over Murfey Construction 20 to 19. Murfey was down five runs heading into the sixth inning but valiantly battled back to take a one-run lead before the bottom half of the inning. Palomar was able to squeak out two runs for the walk off victory. Palomar was managed by Brad Kates and coaches Mac Armstrong and Colton Sudberry. Manager Jim Sampson and coaches Mark Kjos and Mike Cairns led Murfey Construction. Congrats to the Pinto champion Palomar Hippos!

The Pony division plays their 10-team SD Pony Interleague playoff tournament over Memorial Day Weekend at Tecolote. Their three teams all played their final home games of the regular season on Saturday with Seaside Fence defeating Morgan Stanley 4 to 3. Pharmatek won the afternoon game by forfeit and played a lively scrimmage with a mixed team of Pony players from the morning game. The league also congratulated 16 eighth-graders who played their last home game of Pony baseball at LJYB. On behalf of the league, their coaches presented each player with a commemorative “LJYB Class of 2015” sweatshirt to mark the milestone. Seven of the players completed 10 years on these fields.

More details about La Jolla Youth Baseball at ljyb.org

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