In the top of the sixth inning of the District 62 Tournament of Champions Minor B Division championship game between Costa Mesa American Little League and Huntington West Little League, the Costa Mesa American fans started to cheer loudly. The cheering wasn’t because of what happened in the Minor B game, but what happened in the Major Division championship match.
The Costa Mesa American League baseball team won its game over Ocean View Little League. After the final inning of the Minor B game, Costa Mesa American’s Minor B team was also celebrating a championship victory.
The Red Sox won 4-2 on Saturday at Park View Elementary School in Huntington Beach, winning their first Minor B championship in team history. After the championship ceremony, the two Costa Mesa American teams got together for a picture to commemorate their championships.
“Our team worked hard all season long and they put in the work and effort and it showed out here today. We’re happy for our team and especially our players,” Costa Mesa American coach Cory Hugen said.
The Red Sox got a big game from Dylan Hugen, who only allowed one hit through four innings. He also struck out six batters in 43 pitches.
“I was kind of thinking that mostly a lot of people are going to hit off me, and only one did,” Hugen said.
Costa Mesa got on the board first, courtesy of Anderson Shafer scoring from third after the catcher for the Cubs dropped the ball at home plate. Two of the Red Sox’ runs were scored due to an error.
The Red Sox extended their lead in the third inning. First it was Aiden Wells bringing home Hugen with an RBI double, then it was Brenton Rottschafer bringing home Jordan Lee with an RBI single and then Hugen scored off of another dropped pass by Huntington West’s catcher.
Lee relieved Hugen in the fifth inning, as he neared the 50-pitch limit.
“You can’t say enough about them. They are both league age eight kids, couple of the youngest kids on the team and they’re amazing little pitchers and ball players. It’s so fun to have them here,” Costa Mesa American coach Brian Rottschafer said of Hugen and Lee.
Lee’s first two batters that he faced got singles off of him and eventually scored. Owen Runyan scored by stealing home from third base and JD Brooks scored off of a wild pitch, making the Red Sox’s lead 4-2.
After those two runs scored, Lee eventually weathered the storm and got the Red Sox out of the jam. In the sixth inning, Lee struck out the next three batters, which led to the Red Sox storming the field and celebrating their championship.
“Jordan is a great pitcher for us. He’s our stopper and our closer,” Cory Hugen said. “I actually thought he pitched pretty well the fifth inning, they [Huntington West] just made some hits and then the last inning he was just lights out.”
Brooks of Huntington West struck out three in two innings while having pitched 44 times. Nolan Shackleford pitched four innings, striking out five while having pitched 47 times.
“The other team had exceptional plays that were made and they hit the ball in the right spot. JD Brooks did a great job pitching for us the whole tournament,” Huntington West coach Anthony Vitello said.
Despite the loss, Vitello was proud of his team on the entire season and how his team battled against the Red Sox.
“I’m so proud of these boys. They’ve done so well all season. I look forward to next season,” Vitello said.
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TERAN RODRIGUEZ is a contributor to Times Community News.