Newport has one more shot

ALISO VIEJO — The first setback for the Newport Beach American Little League team in the District 55 All-Star Tournament came in the title game on Monday.

The 9- and 10-year-olds lost big, 14-4, to Aliso Viejo. The game didn't even go the full six innings.

Manager Brent Overfelt said no Newport Beach team has won the District 55 championship.

Newport Beach can still make history.

Newport Beach and Aliso Viejo return to the same field at Woodfield Park on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The district crown and a berth into the Section 10 All-Star Tournament goes to the team that prevails.

Aliso Viejo is trying to repeat as champion.

In order for Newport Beach to win its first District 55 title, it will most likely have to forget Monday's game. Aliso Viejo pounded out 14 hits (seven doubles) and scored more runs than Newport Beach gave up in its three previous games combined in the tournament.

The outcome turned out much differently from the one on Thursday between these two teams. Newport Beach shut out Aliso Viejo, 6-0, back then.

"Hey, we're all square. They're not a better team, but they got the better of us tonight. They had a better game," Overfelt said he told his team after the game.

"We just got a good group of boys, a bunch of competitors. They know it hurt. They'll be ready."

Overfelt's boys looked prepared on Monday.

Right off the bat, the first three batters, Jack Hopkins, Cade Overfelt, Ryan Borquez, recorded hits and Newport Beach went on to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

The start was good, especially with Borquez throwing for Newport Beach. The last time Aliso Viejo saw Borquez, it only collected three hits.

Since that loss, which dropped Aliso Viejo into the loser's bracket, the host team has been on an offensive tear. Newport Beach was the fourth straight team Aliso Viejo has beat via the 10-run mercy rule.

"Maybe they did [help us by beating us on Thursday] because now we're not happy," Aliso Viejo Manager Paul Buratti said with a grin.

"Our bats have come alive [since] we hit the loser bracket. We've been playing every single day. Our boys are in a zone where we can hit anybody."

Aliso Viejo showed that it could immediately overcome Newport Beach's early lead.

Aliso Viejo didn't even need to hit much to take a 4-3 lead in the bottom half of the first. Two hits are all Aliso Viejo had during the inning.

A fielding error allowed Lucas Buratti, the leadoff hitter, to get on board, and three hit batters helped Aliso Viejo keep the inning alive.

Borquez was throwing hard, but he couldn't afford to plunk another batter or he would have to leave the mound early. Hitting four batters is the limit.

Borquez was almost halfway at his pitching limit after the first inning. He threw 35 pitches, 75 is the max a pitcher can throw in a game.

In the second inning, Borquez settled down, using single-digit pitches. He retired the side in order, making it five straight batters dating back to the first inning in which he struck out the last two he faced.

Newport Beach tied the game at 4-4 in the third. Cade Overfelt, who led off with a triple, the first of his two extra-base hits, came around to score.

But Newport Beach never scored again in the third, fourth and fifth innings, a stretch in which Aliso Viejo produced 10 runs.

"Got another shot," said Overfelt, who plans to start Hopkins on the mound Tuesday. "These guys are going to be tough."

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World