After two weeks of play, three local Little League All-Star teams survived and are moving on to Section 10 tournament play this weekend.
The Ocean View Little League (12-year-old) and 10/11 All-Stars, and the Huntington Valley 9/10 All-Stars, each kept their seasons alive by emerging as champions in the District 62 All-Star Tournament. Also claiming a division title was Westminster, which won two straight games in a championship series with Huntington Valley.
The Section 10 tournament begins Saturday for all four District 62 champions.
Little League (12-year-old) All-Stars
Ocean View is headed to the Section 10 Tournament after defeating Huntington Valley, 7-4, in the District 62 final July 7.
As it had in three previous tournament games, Ocean View seemed to be cruising to another big win in the final but saw Huntington Valley score four runs in the sixth inning to pull to within 7-4. Huntington Valley, however, could get no closer, as Ocean View relief pitcher Nick Pratto was able to close out the win.
Pratto also had a big day on offense. He gave Ocean View a 1-0 lead when his double in the opening inning scored Logan Pouelsen who had a lead-off single. He later hit a home run over the center field fence in the third inning.
In the second inning, Michael Gates' RBI double brought in Hunter Jackson who also had a lead-off single. Subsequent hits by Hagen Danner, Steven Gingery, Armando Duarte, Corey Hawk, Hunter Simmons and Pratto's homer, all between the third and fifth innings, allowed Ocean View to enjoy a 7-0 lead into the sixth.
Pouelsen started on the mound for Ocean View and threw three batters into the sixth before reaching his pitch limit. He gave way to Pratto who took over with the score at 7-1. Pouelsen threw a three-hitter and allowed just one walk.
Undefeated throughout the District tournament, Ocean View cruised to wins over Robinwood (13-0), Seaview (11-1) and Fountain Valley (16-0), before defeating Huntington Valley.
"We hit really well throughout the tournament," Ocean View Manager Tod Minato said. "In four games, I think our guys struck out just six times and our pitchers struck out more than 40. Our pitching was really tremendous throughout the tournament."
Ocean View takes its first step in the double-elimination Section 10 tournament Saturday against San Clemente National. The teams play at 10 a.m. at Tijeras Creek Little League in Rancho Santa Margarita.
"The key to our success at sectionals is to play to our potential," Minato said. "We have a good team and we've been playing well, but we are now going to be playing at the next level. We just have to maintain what we've been doing on both defense and at the plate."
The Ocean View Little League All-Stars are Hagen Danner, Armando Duarte, Michael Gates, Steven Gingery, Michael Green, Corey Hawk, Hunter Jackson, Chad Minato, Logan Pouelsen, Nick Pratto, Hunter Simmons and Luke Williams. The team is managed by Tod Minato and Coach Sean Pouelsen.
Ocean View took down Huntington Valley, 15-4, in the championship series in a July 7 game called after 3 ½ innings at Mile Square Park.
Huntington Valley held a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the third inning but it was there that Ocean View took control.
Ocean View sent 17 batters to the plate to score 13 runs in the inning. One of the key hitters during the onslaught was Christian Catano. In his first of two at-bats in the inning, he singled with two out to drive in a couple of runs. In his second plate appearance, again coming with two out, his bases-loaded double brought in two more runs.
Starting pitcher Anthony Martinez went two innings and Trevor Windisch threw the top of the third for Ocean View.
"Our team is just real scrappy," Ocean View Manager Tony Cianca said. "Between some walks and hits, and Christian's two big hits, we were able to break the game open."