Easton Elite Dodgers unable to retain Western title

Aspirations of advancing to a second straight Stan Musial World Series were derailed for the Easton Elite Dodgers at the Western Regional Tournament in Palo Alto.

The defending regional champions finished winless in the double-elimination tournament after losing to the host Palo Alto Oaks, 10-4, Saturday morning at Baylands Athletic Center in the second-chance bracket.

With the defeat, Easton Elite was the first of five teams eliminated from the tournament. The 19-and-over squad finished its tournament run 0-2 after an opening-round 7-5 setback to the San Jose Fontanetti on Friday afternoon.

On the bright side, the Dodgers, a Tujunga-based squad with a handful of local players, did finish 26-15 this season and captured a Metro League championship.

“We came here with a solid team, but just couldn’t get the clutch hits,” said Dodgers Coach Rick Freire, who is also a coach with Vaquero Little League.

The Dodgers left 15 runners on base, while costly gaffes accounted for four of the Oaks’ 10 runs.

Easton’s shaky defense hurt starting pitcher, Dustin Emmons, a former Crescenta Valley High standout who was a News-Press Male Athlete of the Year and New York Mets draft pick.

Emmons tossed six innings and allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits, while fanning six.

“He said it felt awesome to be out there again,” Freire said of Emmons. “It was good to see him out there again and the experience he brings.”

On offense, Shane Lindemann and Hoover High’s Fidel Hernandez led their squads with three hits apiece.

Steven Mendoza drove in two runs, while reliever Braxton Diaz tossed the final two innings of the season for the Dodgers and allowed four runs, two of which were earned.

“The coaching staff is proud of our team,” Freire said. “We had another solid summer collegiate season and won our league for the second summer in a row. We will regroup and start getting ready for next summer.”


Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.

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