VFW kept its bid for first place alive Friday by defeating Hobie, 4-3, in Laguna Beach Little League Majors Division action at Riddle Field.
VFW took the early lead with two runs in the first inning when Cole Paxon singled and stole second and Jack Dickenson followed with a home run.
Judge Washer pitched for Hobie and struck out six and held VFW in check until the fourth inning. Paxon doubled in Billy Howie and Jack Loechner singled and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Dickenson, bringing the score to 4-0.
Blake Burzell came in to pitch for Hobie in the fifth and struck out two and kept VFW scoreless.
Paxon had a no-hitter going until the fifth. It was broken up when Jeffery Bruyntjens hit a three-run home run, following walks by Will Ross and Zack Washer.
Second baseman Brandon Marquez and third baseman Dean Nunis made key defensive plays for VFW in the first inning.
Hobie put the tying and winning runs on base with two out in the sixth and Paxon had to leave the game because he exhausted his pitch count. He was relieved by Loechner, who threw just one pitch to Colton Bryant, who hit a fly ball to right field where Bryce Campanelli made a game-saving catch for VFW to end the game.
— Jennifer Sweet, Community Correspondent
Sportsworld wins pair, clinches division title
A decisive win Friday night over UPS Store (11-0) and a tightly fought victory over upstart American Legion (12-8) Wednesday were enough to clinch the AAA Division regular-season title for Team Sportsworld.
In Friday's 11-0 win over UPS Store, starter Charlie Pillsbury threw three shutout innings, allowing just three hits with five strikeouts. Two of the hits were line drives by UPS lead-off hitter Conner Sorenson. It looked like Sorenson would score on one occasion but he was caught stealing home thanks to a perfectly executed pick-off play by catcher Will Lichtenstein and shortstop Blake Pivaroff.
Sportsworld's offense was led by Wyatt Shipp, who had a run-scoring triple and a single. Kent Cebreros preserved the shutout and earned the save by striking out the side.
The American Legion team, fresh off a weekend victory, had every intention to capture an upset victory Wednesday. Starter Jared Angus brought his "A" game, as did infielders Trey Lockhart and Wesley Witteman. Witteman hit a run-scoring double in the first inning and knocked in two more runs in the fourth inning with his second hit. A fine defensive play by Sportsworld's Taylor Kaye at third held Legion in check with the score at 10-6 in Sportsworld's favor after 2 1/2 innings.
Back-to-back hits by Charlie Pillsbury and Jett Rocha moved Sportsworld ahead by six runs (12-6) in the bottom of the third. Legion answered in the top of the fourth by loading the bases and drawing two walks. However, Sportsworld pitcher Aiden Kidd found his target and notched two strikeouts to end the rally.
Pivaroff went two for two on offense and earned the save by pitching a flawless final inning, fanning three batters on 14 pitches.
— Taylor Pillsbury, Community Correspondent