Laguna Beach Little League, still basking in the glowing aftermath of winning two division championships for the first time at the District 55 Tournament of Champions, heads into the final stage of district play: the All-Star Tournament.
Four Laguna teams, Little League, 10-11-year-old, 9/10, and 8/9 Superstars, will send teams into All-Star play. The league's Junior All-Star team will not compete in the district tournament.
Opening game schedules for Laguna teams are as follows:
Little League All-Stars: vs. Laguna Niguel, 9 a.m., Saturday, Woodfield Park (Field 4), Aliso Viejo.
11-year-old All-Stars: vs. Laguna Niguel, 6:30 p.m., Friday, Lincoln Field, Newport Beach.
9/10 All-Stars: vs. Northwood, 9 a.m., Saturday, Crown Valley Field, Laguna Niguel.
8/9 Superstar Team: vs. Northwood, 10 a.m., Saturday, Woodfield Park (Field 3), Aliso Viejo.
The Little League (12-year-olds) All-Star team will be led by Manager Hector Cebreros and coaches Mike Reynolds and Mike Morgan. The team starts tourney play Saturday at against Laguna Niguel.
"We have strong individual players that have combined into a competitive team," Cebreros said. "They are all multi-talented and I know I count on them to step up where needed.
"On the mound, I am depending on the strong arms of Sam Reynolds, Daniel Kimball, Wesley Witteman, Kent Cebreros, Grady Morgan, Will Lichtenstein, Hunter Johnson and Curran Hendrickson. Josh McManus, Caleb Hardy, Jaden Rea, Cole Hunt and Sam Kluver will anchor a formidable defense.
"Hunt, Hendrickson, Cebreros, Rea, McManus, Lichtenstein and Morgan have already chalked up out-of-the-park home runs this year and will help supply the power with their big bats."
Hector Cebreros said that Grady Morgan will start on the mound Saturday.
"This is a great group of boys, both on and off the field," he said. "Each one has earned his All-Star status and truly represents the strength of Laguna Beach Little League. I've really enjoyed coaching them and I'm looking forward to seeing them shine in competition."
The 9/10 All-Star team is under the guidance of Manager Coby Naess and a coaching staff that includes Dave Frith and Dana Mackay. The 9/10 team debuts against Northwood Saturday.
"It's been a fun two weeks of practices," Naess said. "We have some real competitors on this team, and they're all pushing each other to a higher level in practice. We scrimmaged an all star team from Tijeras Creek and tied, 2-2, after eight innings. We had eight kids each pitch an inning and every one of them did great. We also scrimmaged the 11-year-old Laguna Beach All-Star team, and held our own. They have some real talented kids on that team."
Naess said that Connor Fink hit three home runs during the regular season. Pitchers Scotty Plowden led the league in strikeouts (66) and Booker Frith led the league in innings pitched (41).
"Our strength is our depth in pitching," Naess said. "Lots of talent on the mound. We also have some speed that we will utilize on the bases. We are looking forward to a successful and fun tournament starting this weekend."
The Laguna 8/9 Superstar team is managed by Malcolm Gapp with coaches Chris Sirianni and Tom Reimers. The team starts its postseason journey Saturday against Northwood.
"It's a young All-Star team this year, "Gapp said. "Almost half the players are eight-year-olds who played this past season in the lower (AA) division. However, we have been working hard in practice with the rule changes and expect good things. I consider ourselves as the underdog team because of our age and have nothing to lose and should be a great learning experience for all."
Gapp plans to start Nick Bonn in Saturday's opener.
"The past two week has been a wonderful experience for me working with the team," Gapp said. "We have great ballplayers and great parents. I am honored to be the manager for this amazing team."
Laguna Beach Little League All-Stars
8/9 Superstars: Nick Bonn, Joey Capobianco, Maddox de Bretteville, Riley Gapp, Chase Hall, Noah Holm, Sam Hruby, Oliver Mackel, Griffin Naess, Ben Neufeld, Ashten Rea, Ben Reimers, Lucas Jablon, Jackson Sirianni, Max Burchi.
9/10 All Stars: Paxton Burzell, Caden Capobianco, Connor Fink, Booker Frith, Luke Lavin, Ryan Magers, Jamie MacKay, Nolan Naess, Cooper Noriega, Jack Payne, Scotty Plowden, George Williams, Ryan Anthony, Gavin Trevino, Aidan McDennon.
11-year-old All Stars: Zack Bonnin, Dylan Brashier, Lance Detweiler, Ayrton Garcia, Jeremy Hayes, Brooks Hogenauer, Christian Holm, James Loughlin, Nathan Magers, Josh Meiswinkel, Charlie Pillsbury, Nolan Smith, Nicholas Lucas, Noah Linder, Hayden Myers.
Little League All Stars: Kent Cebreros, Cutter Clawson, Caleb Hardy, Curran Hendrickson, Cole Hunt, Hunter Johnson, Daniel Kimball, Will Lichtenstein, Joshua McManus, Grady Morgan, Jaden Rea, Sam Reynolds, Nick Carpino, Wesley Witteman, Sam Kluver.
Juniors All Stars: William Bonn, Dillon Gaboury, Lucian Georges, Jordan Leppo, Brandon Marquez, Dean Nunis, Jack Raffo, Henry Schineller, Wyatt Shipp, Jack Smith, Joseph Sweet, Bayley Thomas.