The way things had gone for the Laguna Beach Little League 9/10
Division All-Star team in its first two District 55 All-Star Tournament
of Champions games, you could say that the maroon and white were walking
tall entering Monday night’s winner’s bracket showdown with host Rancho
They had to be floating on air, too, when they took a seemingly
commanding, 4-0 lead through four complete innings of play at La Paz Park
in Laguna Niguel.
But all that changed.
Rancho Niguel erupted for five runs in each of its final two at-bats
to bring Laguna Beach back down to earth, scoring a 10-4 victory in a
battle of unbeaten tournament teams.
Errors, both of the mental and physical variety, did in Laguna Beach.
“It just didn’t look like our team out on the field,” said manager
Steve Contursi. “We were playing so well, and then the bottom dropped
out. We made too many errors but I also give Rancho Niguel credit -- they
were down 4-0, but hung in there and battled back.”
The loss dropped Laguna Beach into an elimination game Thursday night,
against an undetermined opponent at press time.
Having scored a rare mercy rule victory in its tournament opener last
week, Laguna Beach followed that win with a 5-2 decision over Rancho
Mission Viejo last Saturday.
Winning pitcher Adam Selevan went the distance. He struck out three,
scattered four hits and didn’t allow a walk.
The right-hander got an assist from a very heads-up defense.
“Adam’s a smart pitcher with a good change-up,” Contursi said. “His
job was to throw strikes and allow them to put the ball in play.”
Three of which were turned in by Garrett Hartwell, who made some
outstanding catches in deep center field.
Selevan also came up with a base hit in the game.
Brennen Mulvaney went to the mound Monday night against Rancho Niguel
and had enough firepower to keep the opponent off the scoreboard through
He was working with a 4-0 lead after Laguna Beach’s offense came up
with a four run third inning.
Stevie Contursi delivered a hard line drive to left-center field to
start the rally, stole second base and scored one Mike Rubel’s RBI
single. Selevan and Hartwell each singled before Tyler Pierce came up
with a two-RBI single to make it 4-0.
“We were looking great up to that point. Brennen was pitching well and
we were hitting the ball, and then things changed,” Steve Contursi said
of the 4-0 lead, and Rancho Niguel’s 10-run outburst over the final two