One way or another, the road to Surprise, Ariz. would have to go through Westchester, but, despite two valiant efforts, the Southern California powerhouse was once again just too much for the Glendale 14-Year-Old Babe Ruth Baseball Team.
Glendale fought its way back to the championship game of the double-elimination 14-Year-Old Babe Ruth Southern California State Tournament on Tuesday, where it was handed its second loss to Westchester, 7-5, at Simi Valley Baseball League Field.
Westchester now moves onto the Western Regionals in Surprise, while Glendale, which could have forced an if-necessary title game Wednesday night with a victory Tuesday, saw its season conclude.
"It was a well-played game," Glendale Coach Marcel Martinez said. "The kids did the best they could. We might have been a little bit outclassed, but not much.
"We competed really well and I was really proud of our guys for giving them a go. A base hit here and there and all of a sudden we're looking at a different story and we're advancing."
Trailing, 6-1, after four innings, Glendale, which opened the tournament on Saturday with a 12-2 win over Simi Valley and lost to Westchester, 6-5, on Sunday, only to bounce back with a 16-6 win over Simi Valley on Monday to reach Tuesday's game, began to chip away in the fifth inning.
Matthew McElligot led off the inning with a ground-rule double and Brian Gadsby drove him in with a two-run home run to trim the deficit to 6-3.
Glendale then took advantage of some wildness from Westchester's pitching, which doled out two bases-loaded walks in the sixth inning to let the lead dwindle to 6-5.
But Westchester would pad the lead with a run in the bottom of the sixth before closing it out.
Glendale briefly led, 1-0, in the top of the second when Michael Gee scored Kenny Barrera, who had singled, with a sacrifice fly.
"Westchester has such a good program, I mean I've come in second to them in this tournament in different age groups for six consecutive years," Martinez said "[It's hard] to compete with them, and I think in the last couple years we've competed very favorably."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times