Lighthouse Realty Little League baseball rolls over Jewel City

GLENDALE — The District 16 Little League Minor baseball Tournament of Champions knockout playoff tournament got started Saturday morning with Foothill-Lighthouse Realty Associates and Jewel City-Jewish War Veterans Kiwanis squaring off on Babe Herman Field.

Lighthouse came out solid and rolled to an 11-0 victory over Kiwanis in four innings, behind Michael Gonzalez’s masterful pitching performance, to advance in the bracket.

“Great game,” Lighthouse Coach John Calvo said. “The guys came [and] they didn’t take anyone lightly. We’re playing to win this.”

Gonzalez threw three scoreless innings and struck out six batters on 47 pitches to pick up the win.


FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of Max Alsoufiev.


“He played well; he’s a lefty,” Calvo said of his starter. “It was actually his first start of the season and he came ready to go.”

Gonzalez began by allowing the first two Kiwanis batters he faced to reach base on a walk, followed by a Cameron Cassidy single. Gonzalez then struck out the next four batters he faced.

“It was fun,” Gonzalez said of his day. “At first I was having a little trouble, but then I got used to it.”

Gonzalez began the third inning for Lighthouse (16-3-2) by ringing up the first two batters. The second went down on three consecutive called strikes for the lefty’s sixth and final strikeout.

“When you have two strikes you know all you need is one more, and when you get it, it feels pretty good,” Gonzalez said.

With two outs, Cassidy followed with his second hit of the game, grounding a solid single up the middle before being stranded at second base on an inning-ending ground out.

Gonzalez, who also hit a triple in the first frame to score the first run of the game, gave way to Drake Cronthall and Emilio Veliz in the fourth inning. The duo combined to pitch a scoreless frame and end the game after four innings when the 10-run mercy rule came into play.

Lighthouse, the top finisher in the Foothill League, scored three runs in the first inning. Kiwanis then shut down its opponent in the second, as its pitcher, Mattis Maza, struck out two, sandwiched around an excellent defensive play by first baseman Max Alsoufiev. For Kiwanis (1-19), it marked the first three-up-three-down inning of the season.

“It was a tough season,” first-year Kiwanis Coach Armen Markaryan said. “Everyone came out and worked hard. We played hard. We played ‘D.’ We kept it close.”

Lighthouse added four more runs in the third inning. Lighthouse’s Seth Harley did most of the damage, driving in two to finish with a game-high three runs batted in. The third baseman knocked in the first two runs of the third inning with a single.

Gonzalez, who singled, scored quickly on a Kiwanis mental error. Michael Calvo drove in the final run of the third with a single that brought in Aidian Gonzalez, who reached on a walk. Lighthouse did load the bases after that, but Kiwanis pitcher Jack Skipper notched a full-count strikeout to end the threat.

Lighthouse repeated the four-run feat in the fourth inning, highlighted by a Harley RBI double to right-center field. It could have been worse, but Kiwanis reliever Grant Carl threw the ball to Maza, who shifted behind the plate, to cut down the Lighthouse runner at home to end the inning. It was the second time in as many innings that Kiwanis recorded an out at home.

“I’m very proud of my boys. They did an awesome job this year,” Markaryan said.

With Saturday’s result, Kiwanis’s season comes to an end, while Lighthouse advances in the bracket to face the winner of the Angels and the Hawks — both of the Foothill League — on Wednesday.

“Take it game by game,” Calvo said, “that is the main thing.”

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