Newport doesn't make history

ALISO VIEJO — Second chances don't always pan out.

The Newport Beach American Little League 9-10 team learned that the hard way Tuesday. For the second time in as many days, Newport Beach missed out on making history.

The same team that prevented Newport Beach from winning its first District 55 All-Star Tournament did so again a day later.

Aliso Viejo's second triumph against Newport Beach allowed it to defend its title at home.

Aliso Viejo defeated Newport Beach, 5-3, capping an impressive championship run in the 9- and 10-year-old division at Woodfield Park.

The run began in the loser's bracket on Friday, a day after Newport Beach knocked Aliso Viejo into it by beating the host team, 6-0. Since then, Aliso Viejo never lost, winning five in a row to advance to the Section 10 All-Star Tournament.

The final victory for Aliso Viejo was more of a nailbiter than the previous four, all won via the 10-run mercy rule.

Paul Buratti, the Aliso Viejo manager, said he was proud of his players. The same can be said about how Manager Brent Overfelt felt about his Newport Beach team.

"Even though those guys are the champs, I wouldn't trade one of you guys for any of those guys. I'd go to battle with you guys any day, all day long," Overfelt said he told his team after the loss.

"[We] just had a tough inning there in the fifth that got us, that got [Aliso Viejo] those two [go-ahead] runs."

Those two runs were all Aliso Viejo needed to seal the deal.

After taking a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth, Sam Carducci closed things out by retiring the side in order for the second straight inning.

Each batter facing Carducci in the top of the sixth struck out. Buratti saved Carducci for the last two innings for a reason.

Buratti said he thought about starting Carducci, but he decided to go with a different starter. Buratti sent his son, Lucas, out to the mound.

The decision worked. The young Buratti mowed down the first batter on just four pitches and held Newport Beach hitless in the first two innings and he went on to go four innings.

The visiting pitcher wasn't able to slow down Aliso Viejo in the bottom half of the first inning.

The first two batters, Buratti and Carducci, reached base via hits and scored on wild pitches. Aliso Viejo took a 2-0 lead and it held up until the top of the third inning.

The offense for Newport Beach recorded its first hit, followed by its first run. A defensive error always seems to give life to a lineup. Newport Beach took advantage when Brennan Carroll led off the third inning and reached on an error.

The rally began for Newport Beach and Jack Hopkins slammed a double over the right fielder's head. Cade Overfelt drove Hopkins in with a single, cutting the deficit in half.

Newport Beach went on to score twice more in the inning, taking a 3-2 lead, thanks to an RBI-sacrifice fly by Ryan Borquez and an RBI-single by Troy Smith.

"They get backed into a corner and they're going to come out swinging," Brent Overfelt said of his players. "They battled hard."

Newport Beach had a chance to win the District 55 title on Monday. It just had to knock off Aliso Viejo, which forced Tuesday's game after defeating Newport Beach, 14-4, the day before in five innings.

Aliso Viejo didn't score as many runs on Tuesday, but it got enough to repeat as champion.

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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