Mayor's Cup: A grand sweep for National All-Stars

The Costa Mesa National Little League Major All-Stars were powered by two grand slams in a thunderous performance at the plate to sweep the Mayor's Cup series from the American All-Stars. 15-4 was the game-two final Thursday night at Costa Mesa High School.

The Nationals earned a 3-1 victory in Tuesday night's best-of-three series opener.

The winning team coached by Roger Turk earned eight of their runs on just two swings of the bat. Grand slam homers by Grant L'Heureux and Miles Witte propelled the 11-hit attack. Lefthander Brandon Peck pitched five solid innings to earn the win and went 2-for-2 with three runs in a game that was more thrilling than the final score might indicate.

"It was the best little league game I've ever been involved with," emphasized Turk. "We saw two grand slams, we saw a marvelous pitching performance, we saw excellent defense."

The American All-Stars took the early lead with two runs in the bottom of the second. Tyler Corkhill opened with a towering ground rule double to center. Ryan Juncker followed with a run-scoring single and later came home on Drake Bradeson's single to right to make it 2-0.

The Nationals struck back quickly, and mightily, in the top of the third. An error and two singles loaded the bases for L'Heureux (pronounced LaRoo) who unloaded his grand slam deep over the left field fence. The four-run swing put the Nationals up by two before Ian Schilling knocked in a couple more with a two-run double extending the lead to 6-2.

After giving up the six runs, American starting pitcher Joey Santos helped himself at the plate in the bottom half of the frame. After Jack Jones walked, Santos blasted a tape-measure 2-run homer that cleared everything, including the two-lane batting cage beyond the left-centerfield fence.

Corkhill relieved Santos on the mound with two runners on in the top of the fifth. After a walk and a strike out, Witte stepped in and took advantage of his bases-loaded moment. The Nationals cleanup hitter pulled a breaking pitch down the left field line to push the score to 10-4.

The winners piled on five unearned runs in the sixth as defensive lapses cost the Americans. Johnny Hopkins had a two-run double in the frame. Sean Murray closed out the series with a perfect 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth.

"We had focused kids that hustled and got after it and had fun," said Turk. "They respected the game and that's all I asked of them when we started the practices a week and a half ago. I couldn't be prouder."

The Costa Mesa National All-Stars now reclaim the Mayors Cup for the seventh time in the last eight years.

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