Jordan Lee of the Costa Mesa American Little League Minor B Division Red Sox was happy Thursday night.
Lee closed out Costa Mesa American’s 11-7 win over the Costa Mesa National Little League John Carroll University Blue Streaks. He pitched the final two innings of the District 62 Tournament of Champions semifinal game at Ocean View Little League, helping the Red Sox advance to Saturday’s Minor B title game at 10 a.m. at the same field.
Lee, who at 7 years old is the youngest player on the Red Sox, smiled about the result. He was also happy to earn some time with some of his favorite electronics.
“Now I get two hours of ‘screen time,’” Lee said.
Lee’s mother, Thu, explained that Jordan earns an hour with his tablet or video games for each win he closes. He also secured Costa Mesa American’s quarterfinal win over Huntington West Little League on Tuesday, but he’s yet to use that hour yet.
Lee and the Red Sox are enjoying their success. Costa Mesa American Little League president Brian Rottschafer said that the Minor B team, as well as the Major Division Athletics, each have a chance to become the first Costa Mesa American team since 2004 to win a TOC title on Saturday.
The Red Sox erupted for six runs in the top of the sixth inning against the Blue Streaks, breaking a 5-5 tie. Mason Duncan led off with a single, stole second and scored on Aiden Wells’ single. Two outs later, the onslaught began.
Dylan Hugan singled, and Aidan Ramos walked. Brenton Rottschafer’s popup in the infield glanced off the pitcher’s glove, scoring Wells. Hugan would also score on the play as the pitcher walked back to the mound.
After Anderson Shafer walked, Ramos would score on a wild pitch, giving the Red Sox a 9-5 lead. Wyatt Miller then hit a grounder to shortstop but the throw got away, scoring two more runs.
“Our kids have been resilient all year,” Costa Mesa American coach Mario Ramirez said. “That’s one thing about the Red Sox, one thing we always tell these kids. Put in the practice, control what you control — your attitude, effort and always picking up each other. These boys have been in these situations and they came through again tonight, big-time.”
The Red Sox stormed to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Lee, Hugan and Ramos each had singles to start the game, loading the bases. Rottschafer followed with a grounder to shortstop, and the throw to first sailed over the head of Blue Streaks first baseman Conall Maddock. Two runs would score on the play.
Shafer’s groundout to shortstop scored Ramos, and Miller followed with an infield single. Ratschafer and Miller both would eventually score on two different wild pitches, and the designated visitors had a five-run lead.
Costa Mesa National starting pitcher Donnie Bigelow, who pitched into the sixth inning, calmed down. The Blue Streaks responded with three runs in the bottom of the first.
Maddock singled to center, stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After Roxie Shaia walked, Maddock scored on a groundout by Bigelow, with Shaia also scoring when the throw home got away.
Brennan Moore followed with another walk before Barrett Gillilan roped a double to center, scoring the third run.
The Blue Streaks tied the score at 5-5 with two more runs in the bottom of the third. Bigelow drove in both Kai Turek and Maddock with a single to right.
Moore and Shaia both scored in the bottom of the sixth, but Lee got a strikeout to end the game — and earn an hour of screen time.
“I think errors just got us,” Costa Mesa National coach Rob Shaia said. “It happened in the first inning, it happened in the sixth inning. In-between was great.”
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