Youth Scene: VFW, CBA shine in TOC

VFW and Crescent Bay Advisors have parlayed their success from Laguna Beach Little League postseason play into hot starts in the 2013 Little League District 55 Tournament of Champions.

Both VFW (Majors) and CBA (AAA, Minor) won their first two games in the week-long, single-elimination tournament, and each will play a division semifinal game on Friday.

Three other Laguna Beach Little League teams, Hobie (Majors), Gapp Construction (AAA, Minor) and Wells Fargo Advisors (Junior), had their respective seasons come to an end in first-round losses Saturday.


Major Tournament of Champions

VFW rolls to consecutive victories

The LBLL Majors division champions collected win No. 2 in the district tournament by taking an 11-4 victory Wednesday from the Laguna Hills Thunder in a second-round game at Chapparosa Park in Laguna Niguel.

The Thunder had defeated VFW in both regular-season meetings between the teams.

VFW used the long ball to put the game out of reach. Grady Morgan hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to give VFW its first lead. The Thunder intentionally walked Morgan to load the bases in the fifth but Cutter Clawson hit a towering shot to left-center field to clear the bases and give VFW a commanding, seven-run lead.

Strong pitching from Clawson, Charlie Pillsbury, Morgan and Nolan Smith were instrumental in the win. In the third inning, John Phelan made a running catch in left field which sparked the team and changed the momentum.

VFW runs also were scored by Christian Holm, Ashton Embury, Noah Haymond, Jaden Rea, Nate Magers and James Loughlin.

VFW will take on Rancho Niguel in a 6:30 p.m. semifinal game on Friday at Chapparosa Park. The winner advances to the division championship game to be played at 6 p.m. Sunday also at Chapparosa Park.

VFW powered its way to the second round by shutting out Irvine Ranch, 10-0, in its tournament opener Saturday.

VFW's pitching was dominant as Clawson and Morgan struck out 13 of the 15 batters they faced in a game that went into the bottom of the fifth. Loughlin had three hits to lead an offense that scored its 10th run with no outs in the inning to invoke the mercy rule.

Smith and Morgan scored runs in the first inning, while Clawson and Magers added two more runs in the third. VFW broke the game open in the fourth by scoring five runs. Holm, Pillsbury, Rea, Phelan and Embury were credited with those runs.

The game ended in the bottom of the fifth after Smith doubled in Haymond to stretch the lead to 10-0.

— Reader submission


Hobie falls to Aliso Viejo

Hobie, the No. 2 team from LBLL Majors, suffered a 12-1 first-round loss Saturday to the Aliso Viejo Athletics who scored a majority of their runs over the final two innings at Chapparosa Park.

Daniel Kimball pitched two scoreless innings, Curran Hendrickson pitched well in 1 1/2 innings, and Cole Hunt's home run provided Hobie with its only run.

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Minor Tournament of Champions

Crescent Bay Advisors wins first two

Crescent Bay Advisors, the AAA Division champion from LBLL, won its first two tournament games at Laguna Beach Little League's Riddle Field to advance to Friday's semifinal round.

In its opener Saturday, CBA defeated the Northwood Yankees, 7-2. Jeremy Hayes pitched four innings and recorded 10 strikeouts. Booker Frith pitched the final two innings and struck out four.

Nolan Naess led the CBA offensive attack with three doubles in three plate appearances. Aidan McDennon added two hits including a double, and Adam Kerfoot had two singles. Other hits by CBA came from Hayes, Frith, Will Compton, Paxton Burzell and Maddox de Bretteville.

CBA had 12 hits in the win.

CBA won by shutout in its second tourney game played Monday. Frith and Naess each pitched three innings and teamed to blank the Irvine Ranch Angels, 6-0. The duo each registered six strikeouts.

On offense, every CBA player put the ball in play. Burzell missed hitting a home run by inches in the second inning, but CBA was able to break open the game in the third when Frith and Naess opened with singles and were brought home on a bases-clearing triple by Cooper Noriega which proved to be the big hit of the game.

In the 6:30 p.m. semifinal game at Riddle Field, CBA will face the winner of a second-round game between Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel.

The winner of Friday's semifinal game advances to the Minor division title game at 4 p.m. Sunday at Riddle Field.

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Gapp Construction edged in opener

A pitching duel keyed the Gapp Construction-Laguna Hills Mavericks tournament opener at Crown Valley Field (Rancho Niguel LL host) Saturday. It was the Mavericks who hung on, survived and moved on in the tournament by virtue of a 2-1 victory.

Manager Malcolm Gapp said Gapp Construction played a "very outstanding" defensive game. Scotty Plowden pitched five-plus innings and allowed only three hits while striking out seven.

Gapp had an opportunity to tie the score in the fifth inning but had the tying run tagged out at the plate.

"It was an amazing season for this young team and I couldn't be more proud to say I was their coach," Gapp said. "Great team, great parents, great season."

Gapp Construction was the No. 2 AAA Division representative in the tournament from LBLL.

— Reader submission


Junior Tournament

Wells Fargo Advisors eliminated

Wells Fargo Advisors was outscored by Laguna Niguel, 20-10, in a first-round game Saturday at Chapparosa Park.


Fiesta Nights

Laguna Beach Little League celebrated the end of its regular season with its annual Fiesta Night event on May 31. During the event, the league's presented the following awards:

Majors Division Award: VFW.

VFW earned the annual Jack Norworth Trophy by winning the Majors Division regular-season championship.

Rhoads Martin Award: Steve and Jennifer Sweet.

Originally awarded in 1996, the trophy is given annually by the LBLL Board of Directors to the league's outstanding volunteer(s). The trophy is named after Rhoads Martin who was involved in LBLL for 12 years, served as league president from 1994-1995, and helped re-establish the Little League ideals of sound instruction, fair play, teamwork and fun.

For the Love of the Game Award: William Bonin and Bayley Thomas.

Bonn and Thomas were both chosen this year due to their dedication to LBLL and their love of the game of baseball.

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