Pitching and baserunning are what make Seaview Little League’s Major Division champions go, and their expertise in both disciplines carried them through the first step of district play Saturday afternoon.
Ryder Cannon and Ben Wilson combined on a three-hitter and Seaview’s Red Sox took advantage of Costa Mesa American Little League Astros’ miscues to push across four unearned runs and claim a 4-1 victory in the first round of the District 62 Tournament of Champions at Ocean View Little League’s fields at Park View Elementary School in Huntington Beach.
Seaview (13-4-1), from Huntington Beach, scored twice in the first inning, made it 3-0 in the third, then tacked on another run in the sixth to advance to a quarterfinal game Wednesday at OVLL against the Ocean View Little League champion Yankees, 5-0 winners over the Fountain Valley Angels. The semifinals are Thursday and the title game is Saturday.
“[How far we go] all depends on our pitching,” Red Sox head coach Dan Gass said. “If we pitch well, we can compete. We don’t score a bunch of runs, but we’re pretty good on the bases, and if we play really well, we’ll compete. We’re in every fight.”
Cannon surrendered two hits and struck out four in three innings, stranding runners in scoring position in the bottom of the second and third. Wilson in three innings gave up one hit and one run while striking out five, including the side in the sixth inning to end the game.
“It was nerveracking there,” Wilson said. “I knew I just had to throw strikes, work on my mechanics, and do everything I could to strike them out.”
The Astros, runners-up in CMA’s Major Division, committed seven errors along with three wild pitches and four passed balls. Every Seaview player who scored reached base on errors, and the first three came home on a wild pitch or passed ball.
“We gave that game away,” Costa Mesa American head coach Ben Lower said. “Unfortunately, that’s baseball. Sometimes you make the plays, sometimes you don’t, and we didn’t make the plays today.”
The mistakes overshadowed a fine outing by left-hander Felix Tiquia, who gave up four hits and two walks while striking out five and going the distance.
The Red Sox got on top right away. Leadoff hitter Thomas Swaine reached on the shortstop’s error and stole second with one out. Luke Gass reached on a catcher’s-interference call. Cannon’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners.
Swaine scored on a wild pitch, and Gass came home on a passed ball on the next pitch. Brock Parks got to second on an error by the Astros center fielder to lead off the third, then went to second and came home on successive passed balls.
Tiquia didn’t give up a hit until the fourth, when Gass doubled to right-center. He scored on a flyout/throwing error combination but was out at second on appeal for leaving the bag too early.
Costa Mesa American scored in the fifth. Julius Gonzalez led off with his second hit, a single up the middle, took second on a wild pitch and went to third when the shortstop misplayed Aiden Heimann’s grounder.
Gonzalez started for home when a pitch to Daniel Camacho got behind Ben Berger, then stopped when the catcher quickly got to the ball. Heimann had raced to third and had to retreat, Gonzalez ran home when Berger threw Heimann out at second.
Seaview responded in the top of the sixth. Parks got to third as the third baseman committed fielding and throwing errors, and he scored on Jake McNabb’s groundout.
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SCOTT FRENCH is a contributor to Times Community News.