Youth Scene: Up next, All-Star Tournament

Four Laguna Beach Little League teams head into action in the coming week at the Little League District 55 All-Star Tournament.

Three Laguna teams, the 10/11, 9/10 and 8/9 All-Star teams, begin tournament play Saturday. The Laguna Little League (12-year-old) All-Star team makes its debut Tuesday.

The double-elimination tournament runs through July 9.

Little League (12-Year-Old) All-Stars

Opening game: Tuesday vs. Laguna Niguel.

(6:30 p.m., Woodfield Park, Aliso Viejo)

Manager's outlook: "Our 12-year-old All-Star squad looks solid this year," Rob Smith said. "We matched up evenly against the Laguna Niguel teams throughout our regular season schedules, and played well against the Aliso Viejo teams in the tournament of champions, ultimately losing to them in the championship game.

"In order for us to make some noise in the All-Star tournament, our pitching needs to be sharp, and our bats need to stay hot. If our pitchers can stay ahead in their counts, I love our chances."

The 12-Year-Old All-Stars: Lance Detweiler, Ayrton Garcia, Jeremy Hayes, Brooks Hogenauer, Adam Kerfoot, Trey Lockhart, James Loughlin, Nick Lucas, Josh Meiswinkel, Charlie Pillsbury, Enzo Sanchez, Nolan Smith. Alternates: Zack Bonnin, John Phelan, Max Shuster. Manager: Rob Smith. Coaches: Tim Loughlin, Taylor Pillsbury, Neil Detweiler, Ken Hogenauer.

10/11 Year-Old All-Stars

Opening game: Saturday vs. Aliso Viejo (defending champ).

(2 p.m., Woodfield Park, Aliso Viejo).

Manager's outlook: "We have a great group of kids who have been playing with/against each other now for four years," Coby Naess said. "The team is a great blend of pitching/hitting and aggressive base running. We'll need to pitch well and play heads up defense to have a shot to advance in the tournament.

"Opening against Aliso Viejo is a tough task but one that our kids are‎ fired up to take on. We've had some dynamic practices and all are working very hard and enjoying this all star experience."

The 10/11 Year-Old All-Stars: Paxton Burzell, Caden Capobianco, Connor Fink, Booker Frith, Wyatt Gillespie, Luke Lavin, Landon Losey, Jamie Mackay, Nolan Naess, Jack Payne, Sam Schineller, Gavin Trevino, George Williams, Drew Fink, Aiden McDennon. Manager: Coby Naess. Coaches: Dave Frith, Dana Mackay.

9/10 Year-Old All-Stars

Opening game: Saturday vs. Newport Beach National.

(9 a.m., Heroes Park, Lake Forest).

Manager's outlook: Malcolm Gapp said 10 returning players from last year's 8/9 year-old All-Star team are on this year's 9/10 All-Star unit. He said the majority of the pitchers on the team are younger players who have proven themselves in what turned out to be a very competitive Laguna Beach Little League AAA division this season. These young, 9-year-old pitchers include Nick Bonn, Ben Reimers, Griffin Naess and Joey Capobianco who he said will be the nucleus of the pitching team and are "also golden gloves."

Two other All-Star returnees are Ashten Rea and Riley Gapp.

"Ashten Rea and Riley Gapp played on my regular season, first-place (AAA Division) team, Gapp Construction, and were one of the main reasons why we did so well this season. Ashton's left-handed bat proved to be lethal this past season. And Riley turned out to be my number two top producing batters for the year."

A new addition to the league this year is 10-year-old Matt Berk whom Malcolm Gapp called "one of the "top players in the AAA division." Berk, he said, will also see some time on the mound.

Gapp said other "players to watch out for" include Maddox de Bretteville, Jackson Sirianni and Oliver Mackel "whose bats have come alive in the past few games," and Kai Gillies and Lucas Jablon who "could be voted as the most improved players this season."

Saturday's opening opponent, Newport Beach National, was one of the top-contending teams in last year's All-Star tournament. Newport Beach defeated Laguna, 11-8, in a "tough battle" at last year's tournament.

"Our hitting forced them to play their No. 1 pitcher whom they were planning on resting for the next game," Gapp said. "There is no doubt in my mind that we can take them this year."

The All-Stars: Matt Berk, Nick Bonn, Maddox de Bretteville, Joey Capobianco, Riley Gapp, Kai Gillies, Lucas Jablon, Oliver Mackel, Griffin Naess, Ashten Rea, Ben Reimers, Jackson Sirianni. Alternates: Max Burchi, Chase Hall, Brandon Lindsay. Manager: Malcolm Gapp. Coaches: Tom Reimers, Chris Sirianni.

8/9 All-Stars

Opening game: Saturday vs. Newport Beach National.

(1 p.m., Las Lomas Park, Irvine).

Manager's outlook: "Our players have practiced hard and are ready to play their best to represent their hometown," Paul Machin said.

The All-Stars: Cade Anderton, Brandon Britt, Davis Dix, JD Dix, Bryce Ford, Boden Gillette, Jake Lavin, Noah Liao, Luke Machin, Ben Neufeld, Noah Neufeld, Jimmy Redfern. Alternates: Shea Blanchard, Mason Herr, Eric Olsen. Manager: Paul Machin. Coaches: Steve Britt, Oren Neufeld, Chad Anderton, Michael Blanchard.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World