FOUNTAIN VALLEY — If, as some say, the breaks of baseball eventually even out, the Costa Mesa National Little League 10- and 11-year-old All-Stars were due a game like Wednesday.
After having had their way with their first two opponents in the District 62 Tournament at Mile Square Park, Costa Mesa had only a 7-3 winner's bracket semifinal loss to show for outhitting Ocean View, 11-8.
Ocean View also had two errors, one more than Mesa. But Manager Bee Jay Mazur's Costa Mesa squad, which had outscored foes, 35-7, in its two previous tournament victories, saw its pitchers walk four, hit two more and produce three wild pitches. Three passed balls also helped Ocean View advance to the title round, beginning Wednesday.
"It was one of those days [on which] we hit the ball hard, but it was right at people," said Mazur, who saw Costa Mesa strand 11 in the six-inning contest. Costa Mesa catcher Jack Sheets twice lined out to outfielders and first baseman Trevor Brown drove the Ocean View center fielder within feet of the outfield fence to haul in his fly ball to lead off the fifth inning.
Costa Mesa followed Brown's blast for an out by producing three runs on four hits in the inning, creating some drama after Ocean View had built a 7-0 lead.
Mesa left two runners on in each of the final three innings and left the bases loaded in the third, as seven different players contributed hits, including four players with two apiece.
Costa Mesa's Liam Wallington went two for two with a double and a run batted in and Carson Letterman, trying to take the game deep into the night just as his two talk-show-host namesakes might, was two for three with one RBI.
Shortstop Matt Palma was two for four, while Brian Rodriguez was two for four and scored one run for Costa Mesa.
Nic Mazur (one run), Tyler Bond (one stolen base) and Bradley Siegel added hits for Mesa, which will return to action Tuesday against the loser of Wednesday night's elimination game between Fountain Valley and Huntington Valley.
"When two good teams like this get together, it's whoever makes the most mistakes," Bee Jay Mazur said. "And that includes walks, [wild pitches] and passed balls. It was one of these days for us."
Ocean View broke a scoreless tie when a pair of hosts who received two-out walks, promptly paraded around the bases, courtesy of three wild pitches and a passed ball. A passed ball allowed Ocean View to plate its third run in the third inning, while a walk, a hit batter and an error were all part of the designated home team's four-run fourth inning.
Costa Mesa, for which offense has not been a problem all tournament, had one hit in each of the first five innings. But the visitors had two runners caught stealing in the first inning.
"Everybody, top-to-bottom, has been very dialed in with the bats," the elder Mazur said. "We ran up against a good team and we made a couple of early mistakes. But we learned from those mistakes and tightened up to do a better job on defense."
A relay throw from center fielder Bond to pitcher Letterman to catcher Sheets cut down a runner trying to score from second base on a single in the Ocean View fourth inning.
Mesa pitchers Rodriguez and Letterman combined to strike out seven, three more than the total produced by Ocean View pitchers Matthew Blokdyke and Zeke Ziegler.
"Hopefully, we'll get another shot at Ocean View," Bee Jay Mazur said. "It would be another good matchup."