In the past two weeks, the members of the San Gabriel Valley Babe Ruth 18-and-under All-Star team have been involved in their share of elimination games. That type of situation doesn't seem to fluster San Gabriel.
San Gabriel, led by Crescenta Valley High baseball Coach Phil Torres and featuring several local players, staved off elimination twice Monday night, as it defeated host Modesto to capture the Pacific Southwest Regional at Modesto Christian High. San Gabriel Valley posted a 2-0 victory in the championship game before rallying to earn a 4-3 win in the tournament's if-necessary contest.
"Those were just two real tough games to go through, but we like the character of our players," said Torres, whose team will next compete in the World Series, which will be held Aug. 7-14 in Ephrata, Wash. "We got some big hits when we needed them and our pitchers came through.
"The games were back and forth. The pitching was outstanding."
San Gabriel Valley improved to 4-0 when facing elimination. It won the if-necessary game of the Southern California Regional before winning three straight games in the regional. It defeated San Benito on Sunday before dispatching Modesto twice Monday.
In the second game, San Gabriel Valley received a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning from Nicholas Carino to take a 4-3 lead. Carino was named the tournament's most valuable player.
San Gabriel took a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run double by Blake Berry. Modesto, which posted a 2-1 win against San Gabriel on Saturday, then took a 3-2 lead on a three-run home run in the third. San Gabriel Valley relief pitcher Nick Sergi came on after the home run and picked up the victory.
"He came in and pitched great," said Torres, who led Crescenta Valley to the Pacific League championship last season.
Raul Camas of Glendale Community College paced San Gabriel with a pair of hits.
In the first game, San Gabriel starting pitcher Brian Gadsby went the distance. Gadsby, who pitches at Crescenta Valley, received some much-needed run support in the bottom of the sixth. Justin Cage hit a two-run home run to left-center field to account for all the scoring.
Gadsby, a right-hander, held Modesto in check.
"I had to go out there and just stay with it," Gadsby said. "I had to go out there and throw strikes and I figured my teammates would get me a run.
"[Cage] hit the ball to the deepest part of the park, and it gave us a cushion."
Gadsby, Sergi, Cage and Camas were named to the all-tournament team.
San Gabriel Valley won the World Series in 2004, 2006 and 2007, all under the direction of Torres.
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .