La Jolla Youth Baseball heats up in second half of season

La Jolla Youth Baseball (LJYB) teams take their game up a notch after spring break. Rosters tighten up, position players are identified, pitching rotations take shape and a lot of home runs get hit. Although this is recreation baseball, the final weeks leading up to the playoffs are definitely more competitive than the first half of the season. The young athletes play to win, but good sportsmanship remains paramount.

The Pony teams from La Jolla are holding their own against the rest of the San Diego Pony Interleague teams. Pharmatek has a 7-5 record followed by Morgan Stanley at 5-4.

Seaside Fence dropped to 3-5. Home runs were recorded by Austin Schroeder, Trevor Ace (2), Ryan Mendez, DJ Lindroth and Michael Campagna (2), who hit a moon shot over the left field fence at Tecolote (which hasn’t happened in recent memory).

In Bronco, Sector 9 won four straight to move ahead in the standings 7-4, followed closely by Science of Sport, Mitch’s Surf Shop, Rotary Club and Baxter Foundation. The Bronco home run brigade is led by Diego Solis (tops LJYB with 4), Spence Carswell (2), Nathan Latimer and Manny Butler, whose grand slam sealed a 14-13 win at Mission Bay. It was a memorable top to bottom team win for Coach Klimkiewicz and Sector 9.

The Mustang players have been eating their Wheaties too. Syntergy’s TJ Bibler just hit his fourth round-tripper and Nadeem Kamel hit one as well. They are tied for the lead with RBG with 9-3 records. Garden Communities, MedImpact and Voices for Children remain in the hunt.

Palomar Insurance Holdings remains undefeated in the Pinto division with Natural High on their heels at 5-1. Turning in winning records are Red Door Interactive, Puesto, Seamgen and Murfey Construction. No home runs yet in Pinto, but there are a lot of games left and one of these players will groove one soon.

Over in Shetland, it is uncanny that every game ends up in a tie. Year after year, same thing. But things got more exciting in the second half of the season in the Minors division because the tee has been replaced by a pitching machine. Look out!

Off the fields, LJYB continues to organize events in the community. On April 2, more than 75 LJYB fans took advantage of spring break to attend the UCSD Tritons Division II rivalry game against Cal Poly Pomona. There were a dozen or more scouts in attendance to witness their ace Justin Donatella pitch, and the diehards who stayed all 11 innings got to celebrate the 5-4 walk-off win with the Triton players after the game and get autographs from the players. UCSD Coach Eric Newman picked the perfect game to invite the LJYB players. He even had Devin Longenecker throw out the first pitch, which was a strike with mustard on it. The following week, 320 LJYB fans attended PONY Day at Petco Park, where they got to see the Padres come from behind to beat the Giants on a grand slam by a back-up catcher. On April 19, the Brickyard Batting Cages hosted the fifth “LJYB Day at the Brickyard” where the players had the entire facility for batting practice.

Save the date: Championship Day is Saturday, May 16. Every division will wrap up their playoffs on the same day at Cliffridge Park. Plan on lots of BBQ.

For information about La Jolla Youth Baseball, visit ljyb.org

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