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Little League: First things worst for Newport All-Stars

LAGUNA NIGUEL — For the second straight night, the Newport Beach American Little League All-Stars would have preferred to use a reset button after one inning in the District 55 tournament at Chapparosa Park.

But, unlike Tuesday, when they recovered from a four-run first by opposing Newport Beach National to claim a 7-4 win, the only revisions on the scoreboard after a five-run first by designated host Rancho Niguel on Wednesday was a run by the winners.

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The result was a 6-0 verdict in the loser’s bracket semifinal. The loss eliminated Newport Beach from the tournament.

“They just came out firing,” Newport Beach American Manager Dave Bock said of Rancho Niguel, which had five singles, a three-run home run and a walk from its first seven batters.

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Robbie Rosoff came on in relief to limit the damage, retiring the first three hitters he faced. But that damage was more than enough as four Rancho Niguel pitchers limited the locals to four hits and six base runners.

Alex Lee, who hit a three-run home run Tuesday, had a double and was also hit by a pitch to highlight the Newport Beach offense.

Reed Quackenbush, Brenden Hueston and Nicholas Fox accounted for the remaining hits for Newport Beach American, which finished with a 3-2 tournament record.

Both Newport Beach losses were shutouts, as were two of the team’s wins.

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Rosoff, a junk-throwing lefty, gave up four hits and one run in four innings. He struck out three and walked one.

Conner Bock worked a scoreless inning of relief, in which he struck out the side. He threw two innings in the tournament, recording all six of his outs via the strikeout.

“Robbie did a great job,” Dave Bock said. “They jumped on our starting pitcher. But even if we started Robbie and went to Conner, we still lose, 1-0.”

"[Rancho Niguel] came out swinging the bats really well. They came out a little hungrier than we did.”

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Newport Beach made Rancho Niguel earn it, committing no errors and executing some sterling defensive plays.

Conner Bock, playing first base, stabbed a line drive to his right and chased down a runner straying from first for a double play in the third inning. He also snared a hard-hit ball on a short hop, then beat the runner to the bag for the final out of that frame.

Fox also caught a line drive at third base and Quackenbush’s prowess behind the plate was evident throughout. Rancho Niguel did not steal a base.

Newport Beach had only two runners reach third base, one of which was doubled off when a soft line drive was backhanded by the shortstop, robbing Hueston of his second hit. Hueston, the center fielder, executed a delayed steal of second in the second inning.

Lee, after being hit by a pitch with one out and advancing to second on a wild pitch, was held up at third on Hueston’s single up the middle.

A strikeout and a groundout followed, leaving two of five runners stranded by the visitors.

The four Rancho Niguel pitchers combined for six strikeouts and issued just one walk.

Rancho Niguel is one of three teams left in the tournament.

“It was a fun run,” Dave Bock said. “The kids played great. With the size of our league, we had to split into National and American All-Star teams [national rules dictate any league with more than nine Majors teams must have two All-Star squads and Newport Beach Little League has 11 teams].”

Bock will now prepare a group of 12 players, all from the two Newport Beach All-Star teams, to compete in a youth travel ball tournament later this month in Cooperstown, N.Y.

“We leave July 23,” Bock said. “We practice Friday and have a scrimmage Sunday.”

Nick Premer, Jordan Hauser, Morgan Mannon, Nick Speer and Griffin Vrabeck also contributed to the tournament run for Newport Beach American.

Eight different Rancho Niguel players produced at least one of their team’s 11 hits.


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