With the Section 10 championship on the line, the Huntington Valley Little League All-Stars turned it on offensively right away.
Huntington Valley scored five runs in the first inning and eight runs in the third inning to take a 15-4 victory over Aliso Viejo Little League in four innings on Tuesday night at Heroes Park in Lake Forest.
The victory gives Huntington Valley its third straight Section 10 championship and berth into the Southern California State tournament. This year Huntington Valley is in the division for 9-, 10- and 11-year-olds.
Owen Bone got the game going for Huntington Valley on the mound and delivered the game’s first hit. Bone would go three for three, including a two-run double in the third inning.
Bone threw 2 2/3 innings to get the win for Huntington Valley. It was redemption after he struggled on the mound in a 6-3 win against Aliso Viejo on Sunday.
“I didn’t throw many strikes [the last time], but today I was fired up,” Bone said. “When I got on the mound, I was locked in and I threw strikes.”
Nathan Sammartano drove in the game’s first three runs with a bases-clearing double in the first inning.
After the five-run first inning, Huntington Valley added two more runs thanks to a two-run double by Cody Kruis in the second inning to make it 7-0.
Aliso Viejo would strike back with a four-run third inning, getting RBI singles from Carson Etnire and Chad Alderman. Aliso Viejo scored the other two runs on wild pitches.
Huntington Valley put the game away in the bottom half of the third inning.
Bone and Sammartano sparked the eight-run onslaught in the third with two-run doubles.
But after an RBI double by Kruis, the game was stopped after the second-base umpire called time and accused Kruis of stealing signs. Both Kruis and manager Jerry Marchbank were ejected from the game.
Postgame interview with Owen Bone and Nathan Sammartano. Bone gets the win while going 3 for 3, Nathan Sammartano goes 2 for 3 with 5 RBIs as Huntington Valley gets the 3-peat and heads to state!@DailyPilotSport pic.twitter.com/uPi4PH3Eue— Manny Alvarez (@MAlvarez02) July 17, 2019
“We don’t teach kids to steal signs,” Marchbank said. “Their pitcher was throwing a bunch of curveballs and Cody was at second base saying, ‘Lay off the curveball.’ He was trying to help his hitter out on his mental approach. He’s not stealing signs or relaying signs.
“They complained about it the inning before and I went to the dugout and talked to the boys. All they said was lay off the curveball and hunt for a fastball. If something was up, I would have told them to not do that anymore, but nothing was happening.”
The game would resume with Marchbank’s son, Jared, hitting an RBI triple. Huntington Valley added two more runs, more than enough support for Sammartano to close out the game.
Dean Haddad also got a hit for Aliso Viejo, which used four pitchers in the game, including Etnire and Alderman.
Huntington Valley will now head back to the Southern California State tournament to take on Eastvale Little League, the Section 5 champion, on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Corona. Huntington Valley won the SoCal state tournament in Corona last year.
“This feels amazing,” Sammartano said. “Three years in a row. It’s pretty cool.”
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