By Tom Murphy
La Jolla Youth BaseballLa Jolla Youth Baseball has a very bright future. Of the 11 teams that entered the PONY tournament, six advanced to Regionals and only one team survived: Shetland Red.
That’s right — we are betting the farm on a dozen 6-year old kids.
This afternoon they play their first game in PONY World Series pool play against the host team West Covina Blue.
They advanced through the Regional tournament by beating Ramona, 16-6, dropping their next game to finalist Mira Mesa 18-8, and winning a nailbiter against San Marcos Blue, 25-22, before being eliminated by Chula Vista South Navy, 18-3. This makes two consecutive years that LJYB’s Shetland division sent a team to the World Series.
Good luck boys!
The Pinto-7 team was happy to make it into the Regionals and they won their first game 14-3 against San Marcos. Then they hit the buzz-saw against eventual champions La Costa Green (10-2), La Costa Blue (10-9) and Fallbrook (12-2).
Coach Michael Solis had this team very well prepared and these kids will be tough as nails next year. The Pinto Red team — aka the “Red Stripers” — also ran into some solid competition from North County. They dropped the Regional opener 7-5 against La Costa Gold, then came back with a vengeance to dominate La Costa Green 16-0, before being knocked out of the tournament by La Costa Blue, 10-0. That’s too much La Costa as far as Coach Duffy is concerned.
The Bronco Red team, who enjoyed tremendous success last year by advancing to the Zone tournament, battled through the Regionals at Tecolote with two complete games by Carson Greene. Unfortunately, the offense wasn’t timely and they lost a tough one to San Marcos, 5-3. The boys bounced back and shutout Carlsbad, 5-0. The were knocked out 5-1 by a very good Tecolote team who got through the losers’ bracket to the championship game.
Kenny Hayden finished the game with 3 solid innings of scoreless pitching. Coach Hammel was proud of how well the team played throughout the tournament.
The Pony-13 team had a good news/bad news tournament. The good news: they advanced into Regionals through a fortunate run differential. The bad news: their first two opponents made it to the finals and Coach Mariucci’s team became a notch on the belt for champions Lakeside (7-2) and runner-up Vista (7-5). It should be noted that La Jolla played these two teams much closer than the blow outs they inflicted against other opponents.
Playing in their last games representing LJYB, the Pony-14 team ran into some tough luck. After several years of significant postseason success, the perfect storm forced them to forfeit their opening game against Chula Vista South.
Playing with a 9-person roster due to a couple of unexpected dropouts, La Jolla was down 8-5 in the middle of a rally when Carter Chopskie injured his foot sliding into a base. After being carried off the field, the umpire declared the game a forfeit with La Jolla only having eight players available. In their next game against Vista, they faced a pitcher who threw a no-hitter, which is an incredible feat at this level. The team was gracious in defeat and they finished up their PONY careers with class, as one would expect with Coach Agbulos at the helm.