Led by the pitching of Cole Kendall and a high-powered offense which collected 13 hits, including three home runs, High Temp Medals defeated Landry's Sporting Goods, 12-6, to win the Little League Baseball Tri-Cities Tournament of Champions at Babe Herman Field in Glendale on June 28.
High Temp, who finished the season with a 25-3 record, became the 10th Crescenta Valley Little League team in 13 years to capture Tri-Cities, a double elimination tournament featuring the top Little League District 16 teams from Burbank, Glendale, Tujunga and La Crescenta/La Cañada Flintridge.
The team earned a berth in the tournament by winning the Crescenta Valley Little League championship and then recording three straight shutout victories in Tri-Cities competition before meeting Landry's (24-8) in the title game.
It was the first time in 10 years that two CV Little League teams met in the finals.
In the championship game, Landry's struck first by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first on singles by Adam Overgaard and Kyle Cota and a double by Nick Dragovich.
That lead held up until the top of the third when Lonnie Kauppila drilled a pitch over the center field fence and into the Verdugo Wash with a runner on base to tie the score at 2-2. Kauppila's blast was his 13th home run of the year.
Four batters later, Danny Ramos also launched a pitch into the wash, a grand slam to give High Temp a lead it would never relinquish.
The team added four more runs in the fourth, two on a double by Kendall, his third hit of the game, and the other two on a home run by Steve Gorman.
Kendall went the distance for the win, allowing Landry's six runs on eight hits, including home runs by Keith Jackson, Troy Mulcahey and Cota.
Just two weeks earlier, the teams had tussled for the CV Little League crown at Montrose Park. In that contest, as in the Tri-Cities title game, Landry's got off to an early lead by scoring three runs in the first inning.
But, High Temp's offense kicked into gear in the third inning and, paced by Kauppila's three-run homer, overwhelmed Landry's, 15-5.
Kauppila picked up the victory in that game, allowing eight hits while striking out 10 batters.
High Temp had nine hits, including three singles and a double by catcher Trevor Boynton, a home run and double by Kauppila and a pair of two baggers by Ramos.
In the six meetings this year between the two teams, High Temp, which is managed, oddly enough, by Landry's Sporting Goods owner Paul Roberts, defeated Landry's, which is managed by Dan Mulcahey, five times.
The lone Landry's victory came in the last game of the regular season which forced a playoff game to determine the champion.