Newport Beach Little League puts up 30

NEWPORT BEACH — It is Roy Scheider who utters the line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat," when he sees the size of his shark nemesis in the movie "Jaws."

The Newport Beach Little League Intermediate (50/70) Division All-Stars are currently striking the same kind of fear into their opponents. And to contain Newport Beach, well, you're gonna need a bigger ballpark.

The team, which captured the first District 55 All-Stars title in league history on Tuesday, set out to win its first section tournament game in league history on Saturday morning at Bonita Canyon Sports Park.

Newport Beach's home park actually has bigger dimensions than the one where the team captured the district title, Las Lomas Park in Irvine. But having the walls further away didn't really matter. Newport Beach certainly did not cool off in the hitting department.

Newport Beach Little League blasted eight home runs in a 30-15, five-inning victory over Ocean View, opening the double-elimination Section 10 tournament on a winning note. Newport will play District 46 representative Central Garden Grove in a winner's bracket game at 10 a.m. Sunday.

"The train is rolling," Newport Beach Intermediate Manager Rick Dill said. "The momentum's going, and the kids are having fun. They're just playing well right now. They're just playing good baseball."

Newport Beach had scored 52 total runs in its three-game charge that ended in the district title. But 30 runs in one game?

"It's kind of like a football score," said Newport Beach's Freddy Bloom, who did plenty to contribute to the large total for the hosts.

Bloom hit three home runs and added a double, tallying nine runs batted in. Harry Dill and Morgan Derifield hit two home runs each, and added four RBIs each as well. They combined to score 11 runs.

And Newport Beach, which used five pitchers, still was able to save its ace pitcher, Bloom, for Sunday's contest.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Bloom said. "I'm pretty confident. It's good to have that good of an offense [as a pitcher]. If you make a mistake, you know that your defense or your offense can come back and help you out."

Harry Dill's three-run home run in the first inning was a no-doubter, as he crushed a fastball 300 feet or more, way past the 240 sign in center field. Grant Joyce added a second-inning home run, a three-run shot and one of three consecutive long balls that gave Newport Beach a 16-4 advantage.

"I don't think I've hit it further than that, ever," Harry Dill said of his first-inning blast. "It's a great motivation for the rest of the team when something like that happens, so early in the game too. It's all confidence. If you're not confident up there, you're not going to hit at all. You could be Babe Ruth."

Newport Beach pounded out 23 hits in the five innings. Leadoff hitter Spencer Hook was four for six with two doubles and four RBIs for Newport Beach. Tyler Flood had three hits, and Matt Thompson added a pair if singles and reached base five times.

Nick Gilbert and Sachin Gokhale each scored twice for Newport Beach, which had each of its players reach base at least once. Brandel Turner added a single, and Jake Gilbert and Grayson Wueste both walked.

After Newport Beach scored seven runs in the top of the first inning, Ocean View came back in the bottom of the frame. Xavier Salgado and Jayden Stout both walked, and Scott Lux added an RBI single. Cleanup hitter Sean Moore then launched a three-run home run, cutting the Newport Beach lead to 7-4.

Moore led Ocean View, going four for four with a pair of homers and five RBIs. But Joyce helped stop the bleeding in the first, after coming on in relief to pitch. A ball got away at the plate, but the catcher Hook retrieved it and tossed it to Joyce, who tagged the runner out at home. Joyce then got a strikeout and induced a groundout, getting out of the jam.

Rick Dill said Joyce has now faced 12 batters in All-Stars competition, striking out eight and not allowing a run.

"They scored four right off the bat, without us making an out," Rick Dill said. "We knew it was going to be a high-scoring game right then and there, because they have some bats. But we've got some bats too. I think it was a battle of attrition with pitchers, and I think we won the pitching game."

Newport Beach sent 13 players to the plate and scored nine more runs in the second inning, pushing the lead into double digits. It got as big as 20 runs, at 27-7, on Bloom's RBI double in the fourth inning.

Newport Beach has now hit 30 total home runs in its four postseason All-Star games.

"We're sitting pretty well for [Sunday], but we've still got to take it one game at a time," Rick Dill said. "Anything can happen with these kids. We don't want to be overconfident."

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