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Finals await San Gabriel Valley

GLENDALE — After 10 long days and five hard-fought games, the San Gabriel Valley All-Star team has positioned itself right where it wants to be.

Where it wants to be is in the championship game of the Babe Ruth 16-18 World Series with hopes of reclaiming its title.

The squad reached the finals following its fifth victory in as many tries, this time a 4-2 win over Columbia Basin, Wash. on Thursday in Newark, Ohio during the tournament’s semifinals.

Next comes a meeting with Denham Springs, La., today at 4 p.m. PST for all the marbles.

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“We are capable of winning the whole thing,” said San Gabriel and former Crescenta Valley High infielder Micah Dunham of his team, which is aiming for its third crown in four years. “I’m not saying we will or we won’t [win], but if we go out and play our game we should be able to win.”

Before Thursday’s game, San Gabriel had received little resistance in its repeat bid, allowing only five runs throughout the tournament — all of them coming in one game.

However against Columbia Basin, the club got its closet contest to date.

A three-run fourth inning by San Gabriel proved to be the difference.

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Former Crescenta Valley standout Dustin Emmons connected for a two-run home run in the frame, breaking open a scoreless tie.

“He hit a bomb, a no-doubter,” said San Gabriel Valley and Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres of Emmons’ shot.

The team added one more run via Crescenta Valley outfielder Daniel Park’s run-scoring triple for the 3-0 advantage.

“That was the big run of the game right there,” Torres added.

But it was the home run that gave San Gabriel a needed boost.

“It really gave us momentum to win the game,” Dunham said.

Columbia Basin would not go down without a fight, answering back with a two-run home run of its own in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 3-2.

San Gabriel added an insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth on a groundout.

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Starting pitcher Rob Rasmussen, formerly of Pasadena Poly, had a fine performance for San Gabriel, pitching into the seventh and picking up his second win of the tournament. He is now 17-0 in his Babe Ruth tournament career.

Nick Kennedy of East L.A. College pitched the final inning, inducing a potential rally-killing double play to earn the save.

While it may not have been San Gabriel’s most complete game of the tournament, the sluggish play could be attributed to a combination of the extensive heat and having a bye the previous day.

“It’s tough to come off an off day,” Dunham said. “We were just a little flat.”

San Gabriel previously met Denham Springs in its opening game of the tournament on Friday, using a no-hitter and some hot bats to post a 13-0 mercy-shortened win.


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