After giving up a two-run lead, the Ocean View Little League Red Sox needed to get something going in the bottom of the lineup in the fifth inning.
Ethan Ambrose was awarded first base after a catcher’s interference call and he advanced to second base on a single from Duncan McLeod. Benny Breese drove both runners home with a double.
That was all reliever Joe Rehbergers needed to close the door in the final inning to give Ocean View the 4-3 victory over the Seaview Little League Yankees in the semifinals of the District 62 Tournament of Champions Minor A Division on Thursday at Costa Mesa American Little League.
“It felt great off the bat,” said Breese, who went two for three with a walk. “I saw my first-base coach to go to second and the two runs scored. It felt great.”
It will be an all-Ocean View final on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Park View Elementary School in Huntington Beach. The Ocean View Cardinals won their semifinal game against Huntington Valley Little League.
The Red Sox jumped on the Yankees from the very start without getting a hit. The Red Sox drew four walks and got hit by the pitch once in the first inning to get two runs.
The Yankees would chip away off pitcher Jaiden Thomas in the third inning thanks to a single by Caden Bear. He scored on the hit due to two errors.
Dorian Cherney, who started the game for the Yankees, was hit by the pitch to lead off the fourth inning. Cherney stole second and third base, then scored on an infield error off the bat of Jacob Attwater to tie the game.
The Yankees put up one final fight in the final inning after the Red Sox retook the lead. Bear doubled to left field and would score on Augusten Luong’s one-out single to left.
Both Dorian and Eddie Cherney got on base with two outs for Attwater, but Rehbergers stuck him out to send the Red Sox to the finals.
“This felt really good,” said Rehbergers, who threw two innings to get the win. “I didn’t want to let them down. We have had such a good season that I didn’t want to lose that way. I think the best thing about baseball is you have to be mentally strong. If you make an error, you just have to forget about it and move on.”
Bear led the Yankees with the bat and in relief, going two for three with a double and two runs scored. Bear threw four innings while walking four batters, giving up three hits, two runs and striking out nine.
“The Red Sox are a great team,” Seaview coach Bryan Bear said. “Their pitcher was dealing all game, but I am so proud of our boys. We have come a long way. Every single game we just scrap and find a way to win. We were in this all the way to the end and they never quit.”
Thomas threw four innings while striking out eight before reaching his pitch-count limit. His team will look to win the championship on Saturday against a familiar team.
“The Cardinals coach and I coached the All-Stars before,” Ocean View coach Brian McLeod said. “We know each other. It’s going to be a battle. We are just glad to represent Ocean View together, so it’s cool to have two OV teams in the finals.”
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MANNY ALVAREZ is a contributor to Times Community News.