As of mid-week, the Little Ocean View Majors All-Star team was still moving along firmly on the path of its postseason journey.
District 62 champion Ocean View, which last week captured the Section 10 championship, won its first two games of the Sub-Divisional tournament at Tijeras Creek Little League in Rancho Santa Margarita to move a step closer to and keep its dream alive of making it to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Ocean View, undefeated in the Sub-Divisional, needed to defeat once-beaten Rancho Buena Vista (District 31, Section 6) Wednesday in the double-elimination event, to advance to the best-of-three Divisional tournament that begins Saturday at Tijeras Creek.
The score from Wednesday's game wasn't available by press time.
On Sunday, Ocean View began Sub-Divisional tournament play at Tijeras Little with an 8-4 victory over Rancho Buena Vista. Neither team could get on the scoreboard in the first three innings, with Steven Gingery throwing the first inning and Logan Pouelsen the next four for Ocean View. The duo combined to strike out 11 without allowing a hit. Ocean View broke through for three runs in the top of the fourth, thanks to a three-run home run by Hunter Jackson.
Ocean View led, 4-0, heading into the bottom of the sixth, where Rancho Buena Vista's offense finally came to life and parlayed six hits into four runs to tie the score and send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the seventh, Ocean View regained the lead for good on a two-out rally. Nick Pratto doubled and scored on Gingery's single to go up, 5-4. Armando Duarte padded the lead to 7-4 with a two-run home run. Ocean View scored its eighth run on an error.
Rancho Buena Vista threatened again in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out. Pratto, who had come in to pitch and recorded the third out in the bottom of the sixth, closed the door on Rancho with a pair of strikeouts and caught a pop-up to end the game.
On Monday, Ocean View found itself in a rare postseason position — trailing — but came back to post a 4-3 victory over Victor Valley Ribbons (District 49, Section 8).
In the top of the first, Victor Valley Ribbon used a two-run home run to grab a 2-0 lead. It didn't last long, however, as Ocean View came back to score twice in its half of the first. A single by Chad Minato and double by Pratto preceded a two-run double by Hagen Danner.
Minato, Pratto, Gingery and Pouelsen had two hits each. Gingery threw the first 5 1/3 innings and struck out 13 to get the win.
"The competition is really tough in the Sub-Division," Ocean View Manager Tod Minato said. "It's been a good challenge for our kids and I'm impressed with the way they've kept their poise and remained calm. I think in that Victor Valley game we trailed for the first time in All-Star play. The kids did a real nice job keeping their poise in that one. They also stood their ground when Rancho Buena Vista was hitting all over the place to score those four runs and tie the game in the sixth.
"We're excited to win these first two games. The kids are playing well and our fan support out here has been terrific."