July 13, 2010 > Centerville beats Niles, but teams will rematch for the title
Centerville beats Niles, but teams will rematch for the title
By Kevin Yin
In the end, it came down to the final pitch.
Centerville American Little League (CALL) defeated Niles-Centerville Little League (NCLL), 8-7, in the semifinals of the District 14 Little League Junior All-Star championships on Wednesday, June 7.
The contest started out slowly, with both teams struggling to get on the board, but CALL appeared to break the game open in the third inning. Consecutive bases-loaded walks by NCLL put CALL on top, 2-0. A balk by NCLL pitcher Nick Lawrence made the score 3-0. Then, with runners on second and third, CALL batter A.J. Wandinger hammered a single to left field, driving both men on base home.
Trailing 5-0 going into the bottom of the third, Niles wasted no time getting back into the game. Tony Chavez started the inning off with a single, and was replaced on base by pinch runner Latrell Harris; Harris then stole second and third.
After NCLL hitter Gabe Dutra was walked, second baseman Thomas Cuellar brought Harris home with a single that made the score 5-1. Shortly thereafter, with the bases loaded, CALL walked NCLL catcher Marciano Reichel, making it 5-2; a single by first baseman Jimmy Roney brought in another run, closing the gap to 5-3; and Andrew Llanos would then even the score with a deep double to center field that drove home two runners.
The action slowed down in the fourth, with solid fielding by both defenses allowing both teams to catch their breath. In the top of the fifth, Ellis again reached first base on a single for CALL. Two at bats later, Wyatt Carscadden drove Ellis in with a single. Carscadden advanced to third base after two walks, and then stunned NCLL by deftly stealing home.
Facing a 7-5 deficit, NCLL managed to find another rally. After CALL elected to intentionally walk Llanos, NCLL hitter Matt Ricci connected with a line drive to left field, brining in two runs and tying the game, 7-7.
CALL would regain the lead in the top of the sixth, thanks to a double and RBI by Julian Wetmore. After NCLL failed to score in the bottom of the sixth, the stage was set for a climatic bottom of the seventh.
With the score 8-7, and a runner on second and two outs, CALL pitcher Joe Schymeinsky again faced Llanos. Rather than intentionally walk Llanos again, CALL elected to pitch to him. With the count at 1-2, Schymeinsky struck Llanos out looking with a pitch that skirted the outer edge of the plate. Llanos took objection to the called strike, protesting that the ball was too far outside, but the call stood, and with the 8-7 win, CALL advanced to the championship round of the tournament.
Thanks to the tournament's unusual multiple elimination format, NCLL's quest to win the championship was not over. After being defeated by CALL, NCLL was to play the winner of the Mission San Jose Little League (MSJLL) vs. Newark American Little League (NALL). MSJLL defeated NALL, 7-4. That win set up a match between NCLL and MSJLL for the right to play CALL in the title round. NCLL prevailed in that contest, 14-8.
CALL and NCLL played on Sunday, July 11, for the right to play in the Junior Sectional Tournament. Having not lost, however, CALL needed to be defeated twice. NCLL prevailed with a 12-2 romp of its opponent to force a do-or-die game on Monday, July 12. Results for the game, however, were unavailable at press. Log onto the Tri-City Voice website, sports.tricityvoice.com, to find out who advanced and who went home.