NORTHEAST GLENDALE — The third meeting was closer, but ended with the same result, a Vaquero Dodger victory.
For the third time this season, the Dodgers, representing the Vaquero Little League, defeated the Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans Elks, but on Monday at Babe Herman Field, it had to rally to do so.
The Dodgers scored two runs in the fourth inning to erase a one-run deficit and added five runs in the sixth to pull away for an 11-5 victory in a Jewel City/JWV/Vaquero bracket game of the Minor Baseball Tri-Cities Knockout Tournament.
The Dodgers will play a team from the Crescenta Valley Little League at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Montrose Park in the semifinals.
“It’s the playoffs, and when the playoffs come, it’s a bit harder,” said Dodgers Coach Luis Cejudo, whose team defeated the Elks, 10-1, April 28 and, 9-3, May 5.
After the top half of the first inning, it appeared the Dodgers would be on their way to a comfortable win.
Cejudo’s squad sent 10 batters to the plate, and scored four runs on two hits and an error.
But the Elks battled back, scoring once in the first, another in the second and plating three in the third to take the lead. Thomas Kovarik’s two-run double to left scored Julian D’Alfonso and Andrew Verrenjia to give the Elks a 5-4 lead. Max Ocon stole home a pitch earlier to tie the score. Ocon had two runs scored and John Wallace also scored for the Elks.
“We’re closing the gap on the Dodgers,” Elks Coach David Loke said. “The Elks have showed a lot of progress.”
The Dodgers proved to be the superior team that possessed a balanced and efficient offense.
The Dodgers’ first four batters of the fourth inning reached base, with Jacob Romero’s two-run double scoring Eion Rodriguez and Joshua Bamba, with Bamba’s run proving to be the game-winner. Three Dodgers scored at least twice, with Bamba (three runs) leading the way. Romero and Christian Bermudez also had two runs each, and Ray Cejudo, Nate Rangel and Alex Marquez each scored.
The Dodgers had 11 hits to the Elks’ five.
“The Dodgers from the Vaquero League are well-schooled,” Loke said. “They work hard at their batting skills, they are good baserunners and they work their tails off.
“We were outslugged.”
Part of the Dodgers’ strength comes from playing together for so many years, said Luis Cejudo.
“I have confidence in my kids,” he said. “They have been playing great all year. My coaches and I have had these kids since they were 4 or 5. We don’t have to say much to them for them to do well.”