So far, there's been no derailing the Ocean View express.
The Ocean View Little League Majors All-Star team has powered its way to impressive wins in its first three games at the Western Regional Tournament in San Bernardino, winning those three pool-play games over a three-day period that started Saturday.
Ocean View, which won District 62, Section 10 and Southern California Divisional tournament championships to make its way to Al Houghton Stadium, began its quest for the West title Saturday with a 10-2 rout of Red Bluff, the Northern California champion. On Sunday, Ocean View rode no-hit pitching from Hagen Danner and Nick Pratto to a 3-0 victory over Hawaii champ Central East Maui, 3-0. The locals played their third game Tuesday and blasted Arizona champion Rio Rico, 10-0, in a four-inning game halted by the mercy rule.
Ocean View played Silverado, champion from Nevada, on Wednesday in a final pool-play game for both teams. The score wasn't available at press time.
The top four seeds from pool play advance to Friday's semifinals. The No. 2 and No. 3 seeds face off at 2 p.m. and the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds meet at 8 p.m. The semifinal winners advance to play at 8 p.m. Saturday in the championship game. The tournament winner moves on to the World Series next week in Williamsport, Pa.
Ocean View was the lone undefeated team in pool play entering Wednesday and regardless of the outcome of its game against Silverado, is guaranteed one of the top two seeds among Friday's final four.
The All-Stars are firing on all cylinders heading into the weekend.
"You know, we're playing a complete game right now," Ocean View Manager Jeff Pratto said. "The kids have been ready to play every day. They are humble and are just going out and playing our game.
"Right now, all three facets — hitting, pitching and defense — have really come together. If we continue to play our game and only worry about ourselves, then I think we have a really great chance to reach our goal."
Ocean View couldn't have come up with a better start to the tournament than it did against Red Bluff on Saturday. A six-run outburst in the top of the first inning put Ocean View in a comfortable lead, and they scored four more runs over the final three innings to put the game away. Red Bluff scored single runs in both the third and fifth innings.
Danner, Ocean View's leadoff hitter, led the offense by going three for four with a double and two runs scored. Jack Furry and Christian Catano (triple) both had two hits and drove in two runs each. Nick Pratto, Steven Kotkosky, Jason Mayorga (triple) and Justin Cianca each had a hit and a run batted in.
Braydon Salzman, Ryo Takada and Furry shared pitching duties and gave up seven hits and struck out 11.
Ocean View again struck in the first inning of Sunday's game against Central East Maui, scoring once in the top of the frame in an eventual 3-0 victory. Danner, who threw four innings, and Nick Pratto combined on a no-hit, 14-strikeout performance. The duo faced just 19 batters.
The winning run came when Trevor Windisch drew a walk and scored on an infield error in the top of the first. In the top of the fifth, Takada was hit by pitch and later scored on a single by Windisch. Ocean View's final run was plated in the sixth when Anthony Martinez hit a leadoff triple and scored on a single by Mayorga.
Ocean View played Rio Rico of Arizona Tuesday and the early start (9:30 a.m.) didn't faze the locals, who again started fast in a 10-0 win in four innings. Ocean View scored four runs in the top of the first and added its final six runs in the second.
Salzman threw all four innings and gave up just one hit with four strikeouts. Ocean View worked Rio Rico pitchers Cesar Dominguez Jr. and Zaid Abril for 14 hits.
Danner started the scoring spree by leading off the game with a home run. He was followed by Windisch, who also homered. Pratto singled and scored after a single by Mayorga, and Mayorga came home on a wild pitch for the early 4-0 lead.
Windisch hit a two-run home run (scoring Takada) in his second at-bat, Nick Pratto singled and scored on a single by Martinez, Kotkosky — who singled — scored and Dylan Palmer had an RBI double that drove in Catano and Martinez as the lead ballooned to 10-0.
Jeff Pratto said he wasn't sure who he would start on the mound Friday, saying it depended on who Ocean View's semifinal opponent was. Either Salzman, Danner or Nick Pratto would "get the call," he said.
"We're having a great time out here," Jeff Pratto said. "The kids are loving the camaraderie with the (Western Regional) staff — they have really been great, with the other teams and among themselves. It's been an awesome experience so far."