Mayor's Cup: CMNLL remains on roll

COSTA MESA — The Costa Mesa National Little League Majors Division All-Stars like to go over all facets of the game before the actual game starts.

The team tried a different approach on Monday.

The team focused mostly on hitting. Manager Matt Palma said his team needed to after a one-run effort in the first game of the Mayor's Cup on Saturday.

His players agreed.

"They wanted their bats to come alive," said Palma, who saw the bats tatter the ball in the second game of the best-of-three Mayor's Cup series.

The game lasted just four innings because Costa Mesa National beat Costa Mesa American, 15-0. The 10-run mercy rule went in effect on CMALL's field at Costa Mesa High.

That was the only way to stop CMNLL, which claimed the Mayor's Cup for the sixth straight year. Costa Mesa National swept the series for the fifth time during the run.

Almost everyone with CMNLL got a hit as the team recorded 13. The ones that didn't, either drew walks or were hit by pitches.

While the offense broke out, the pitching remained the same for CMNLL. Once again, the team's starter was dominant.

Nic Mazur struck out eight and allowed only one hit. He lost his no-hitter in the bottom of the fourth as Omar Muñoz singled to center field with one out.

On Saturday, Muñoz kept CMALL in the opener. He went toe-to-toe with CMNLL's Carson Letterman, who went on to strike out 11 and give up one hit in 52/3 innings.

For the second game in a row, all CMALL managed was just one hit. One run would've been enough to get past CMALL again, but the visitors came out swinging.

"Unfortunately for us, we had a couple of guys come and pitch who've been on vacation, so they really kind of missed a lot with practice," said Raphael Cruz, the CMALL manager. "But they're ace pitchers, so we gave them a shot anyway. [Starter Cameron Chapman] did a really good job for the first couple of innings, but as soon as their batters caught up and started doing what they do best, which is smash the ball, they started doing that and getting runs."

In the top of the second inning, CMNLL struck first.

Colby Arensdorf led off the inning with an infield single. Then two of the next three batters reached base via walks, loading the bases for Trevor Brown.

Brown didn't have to swing the bat at the first three pitches he saw. All three were balls. He eventually walked and CMNLL produced the game's first run.

With the bases jammed again, Chapman got out of trouble. He threw three straight strikes for a swinging strikeout and the third out.

Mazur began firing strikes. The right-hander struck out the side in order in the bottom of the second, using only 14 pitches.

The quick work seemed to spark CMNLL, which scored 12 runs in the top of the third. The team recorded nine hits, two each by Letterman and Arensdorf in the inning.

Almost everyone in the lineup batted twice for CMNLL in the third. The inning began with Matty Palma drawing a walk. The next batter, Letterman, who went three for four with four runs batted in, drove Palma in with a double to center field.

By this point, Costa Mesa National had topped its run production from the first game against CMALL. Costa Mesa National wasn't finished scoring in the third.

Mazur, Bradley Siegel, Brown and Arensdorf, who went three for three, each singled in a run in the third. Letterman and Mike Aherne both drove in two runs on hits.

"This is their last hurrah for Little League," Matt Palma said of his players. "They move on to [Pony league]. We'll actually play on teams with these other kids from Costa Mesa."

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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