Locals claim crown

The Costa Mesa Mayhem, a 16-and-under baseball team under the banner of Costa Mesa Pony Baseball, won the 15-16 wood bat division at the So Cal State Championships, contested Aug. 10 and 11 in San Diego.

The team won all five of its games, outscoring its opponents, 48-18, including a 7-2 title game victory over The Academy.

The team, made up of players from several cities, includes six players from Newport-Mesa.

The Mayhem opened the tournament with a 15-9 win over The Academy. Costa Mesa also posted an 11-3 pool-play win over the So Cal Brewers to earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs of the 13-team event.

In the opening round of the playoffs, the Mayhem earned a 5-1 triumph over the San Diego Hustle. In the winner's bracket semifinal, the locals topped the San Diego Scorpions, 10-3.

Kyle Koerth, a Fullerton resident who will be a junior at Calvary Chapel High this fall, was the offensive star of the tournament. He went nine for 15 (a .600 batting average) with 10 runs batted in, one home run, four doubles and two stolen bases. Koerth also earned one of the pitching victories by striking out three in three innings in pool play against The Academy.

Lucas Rocha was another offensive catalyst for the Mayhem, hitting .313 in the tournament (five for 16) with seven RBIs, two doubles and two stolen bases. He doubled and drove in two runs in the championship game, in which Koerth also doubled and drove in two.

Evan Larsen, a Costa Mesa resident who will be a sophomore at Corona del Mar High this fall, pitched a complete game in the 5-1 victory over San Diego Hustle. Larsen struck out seven, while allowing six hits and two earned runs in six innings.. Larsen also drove in a run in the championship game.

Tommy Paoletti, a Newport Coast resident who attends CdM High, pitched five strong innings to record the pitching victory in the final. Paoletti also drove in a run in the semifinal win and pitched two innings in the tournament opener.

Daniel Morales, a Costa Mesa resident who plays at Calvary Chapel, posted the victory in the first-round playoff game, allowing one run in five innings with four strikeouts. The San Diego Hustle had only three hits in that game, in which Ozzy Vasquez pitched one inning for the winners.

Morales, a left-hander, was also three for nine with one RBI in the tournament.

Vasquez hit .364 in five games, going four for 11 with three RBIs and a double.

Blake Shriever allowed three runs in five innings to earn the semifinal pitching victory, in which he also drove in a run. He had two walks and a stolen base in the first-round playoff win.

Keith Marshall, a Costa Mesa resident who played on the junior varsity team at Newport Harbor last spring, drove in two runs and went two for five in the tournament.

Brian Cromwell, another Costa Mesa resident who plays at Calvary Chapel, had two hits and one RBI in the tournament, while Alex Lee, a Newport Beach resident who played for the Newport Harbor JV in 2013, also contributed.

Isaiah Lara had four hits, two doubles, two stolen bases and one RBI for the Mayhem, for whom Garrett Molnar had three hits, three RBIs and two stolen bases. One of Molnar's RBIs came in the title game.

Kyler Arenado had one hit, a double, in the tournament for the Costa Mesa squad, which was guided by head coach Tucker Woods, a Costa Mesa resident filling in for Art Belmonte, who also resides in Costa Mesa. Belmonte coached the Newport Harbor junior varsity last season.

Belmonte will resume head-coaching duties when the team competes in a four-team wood bat tournament at The Yard in Fullerton, Saturday and Sunday.

Costa Mesa, which practices at TeWinkle Park, opens the tournament on Saturday at 8:45 a.m. against the Rawlings Prospects.

Costa Mesa plays Venados of Paramount at 10:45 on Saturday to finalize playoff seeding for Sunday's games. The championship game is Sunday at 5 p.m.

— Barry Faulkner

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