For a team that was put together about a month ago, the San Gabriel Valley Babe Ruth 16-18 All-Star squad got plenty accomplished.
San Gabriel Valley, featuring a handful of Crescenta Valley High products and Glendale Community College players, saw its bid for its first World Series championship since 2007 come up short Wednesday with a 1-0 loss against Klamath Falls of Oregon in a semifinal contest in Ephrata, Wash.
“We had our first practice as a team back on July 14 and we came close to getting to the championship game [of the World Series],” said San Gabriel Valley Coach Phil Torres, who is also the head baseball coach at Crescenta Valley and saw San Gabriel Valley advance to the semifinals following a 12-2 victory against the Columbia Basin Desert Dogs of Washington earlier Wednesday. “They did an outstanding job and we had a great run.
“I know the guys who will be coming back next year will want to do it again.”
Klamath Falls, which will meet the Alabama Rawdogs in the championship contest at 1 p.m. Thursday, scored the game’s only run on a home run by Willie Howard with one out in the bottom of the second inning off Brian Gadsby. Gadsby (Crescenta Valley) struck out 10 and scattered four hits in a complete game effort.
“Brian pitched a great game and he picked off a couple of runners,” Torres said. “He pitched 14 innings in the World Series and allowed just one earned run.”
San Gabriel Valley, which has won three World Series titles under the guidance of Torres, caught a tough break in the fifth.
With runners on first and second and one out, San Gabriel Valley’s Brett Klein (Crescenta Valley) doubled off the left-field wall. Weston Walker (Crescenta Valley), who was on second, went back to tag after the ball was hit. The left fielder threw the ball to the shortstop, who made a perfect relay to the catcher to tag out Klein.
“Brett hit the ball so hard and all of their outfielders were playing almost against the wall the whole game,” said Torres, whose team won the Pacific Southwest Regional championship after winning the Southern California Regional crown. “Wes did his best to tag up, but he was out by a mile.
“It’s tough. You don’t see that kind of play all that often.”
Earlier Wednesday, San Gabriel Valley scored 11 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to top Columbia Basin. The game, which was originally scheduled to be played Tuesday night, was postponed because of inclement weather and was called because of the 10-run mercy rule.
San Gabriel Valley trailed, 2-1, entering its half of the fifth. Kevin Amersquita hit a two-run home run to give San Gabriel Valley a 3-2 lead. Amersquita finished with two hits, two runs batted in and scored three runs.
“That was a big home run by Kevin,” Torres said. “We were able to open up on them after we played real good defense.”
Raul Camas of Glendale college collected two hits and drove in two runs for San Gabriel Valley. Camas had a two-run double in the fifth to extend the advantage to 11-2. Alex Labor of San Gabriel Valley notched a pair of hits and reliever Nick Sergi went 2 2/3 innings and struck out two.
“Everybody got better from the first practice right through the last game,” the UCLA-bound Gadsby said. “It was a lot of fun and we’ll take a lot from this experience.
“I just made that one bad pitch. It happens.”
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .