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July 13, 2010 > MSJLL Senior All-Stars rally to win District 14 crown

MSJLL Senior All-Stars rally to win District 14 crown

Submitted By Ed Hugo

Mission San Jose Little League's Senior All-Star team fended off elimination three games in a row to claim the District 14 Senior League championship on Sunday, July 11, beating Niles-Centerville Little League, 4-3, in eight innings, advancing to the Section 3 Tournament in the process.

NCLL downed MSJLL, 6-4, on Tuesday, July 6, forcing them to win out. On Thursday, July 8, the club rebounded from the loss to trounce Warm Springs Little League, 10-3, behind the combined pitching efforts of Larry Price, Brandon Fuhs and Patrick Yang, to force a rematch with NCLL in the championship.

MSJLL and NCLL met on Saturday, July 10, with the boys from Niles needing just the one win to advance to the sectional tournament. Mission, needing to win twice, had the fortunes of their bats coming alive, rapping out 16 hits to overpower NCLL, 15-5, and force a winner-take-all game on Sunday, July 11.

After giving up a first inning run to NCLL, MSJLL hurler Brandon Fuhs was in complete command as he held the NCLL offense to two hits and no runs from the second through fifth innings. His teammates built on their lead as they rallied for four runs in the fifth inning to lead 8-1. Kevin Finch (who had four hits in the contest) drove in a run with a line drive single during the rally and James Gaffey and Kenny Jacoby also drove in runs.

After NCLL cut the lead to 8-5 in the sixth, MSJLL bounced right back in their half of the sixth inning to score seven runs to break the game open and end the contest due to the 10-run rule, 15-5.

And on Sunday, MSJ, having come all the way back from the elimination bracket, captured the District 14 championship with a nail-biting 4-3 victory over NCLL.

The contest was nip and tuck the entire way as MSJLL prevailed on a bases loaded, two-out hit batsman in the bottom of the eighth inning. Chris Gaines (MSJLL) and Jaramy Jacobs (NCLL) locked horns on the mound with both pitchers hurling excellent games. Gaines dominated early in the game, striking out eight consecutive batters between the first and third innings. Gaines struck out 12 batters during the contest while walking three and allowing three hits. Jacobs used a nice blend of off-speed pitches to keep the MSJLL batters off balance.

MSJLL jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Price led off the game with a walk and moved to third base on a single from Kevin Finch. Gaines drove in Price with the game's first run with a seeing-eye single. MSJLL added to their lead in the second inning. With Jeff Chu on second base and Fuhs on third, Finch drove his second single of the game to left field. Fuhs scored easily but Chu was gunned down at the plate.

NCLL rallied to tie the game in the top of the fourth inning as Jacobs worked a based loaded walk and Nick Keeley rapped a base hit to drive in the second run. But MSJLL answered right back in their half of the fourth. After loading the bases with no one out, Kenny Jacoby hit a hard ground ball that the NCLL turned into a double play. James Gaffey, who had been hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, scored the go ahead run on the play.

The score remained 3-2 in MSJLL's favor until the top of the seventh inning. NCLL pinch hitter Marshall Duffy led off the inning and worked a walk off of Gaines. Patrick Yang then replaced Gaines on the mound. NCLL pinch runner Lawrence stole second base and moved to third on an infield out. Ferber then grounded out to shortstop driving in Lawrence with the game-tying run.

The game went into extra innings tied 3-3. NCLL centerfielder Austin Schreiber led off the inning with a line drive single to left field and NCLL seemed to be in business. However, with Schreiber on the move, Yang struck out NCLL's Pierce Romero and MSJLL catcher Brandon Fuhs threw out the would be base stealer for a quick double play. Yang retired the next batter to move the game to the bottom of the eighth still tied, 3-3.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Price lashed a sharp single to place the potential winning run on base. Finch followed with another line drive single to move Price to second base. Reid Marion then worked a walk to load the bases. After Gaines struck out for the inning's second out, Yang came to the plate with the winning run still 90 feet from home plate. The second pitch to Yang brushed his jersey for a hit batsman and the celebration began as Price crossed the plate with the winning run.

MSJLL Senior all-stars next play in the Section 3 tournament which begins on Saturday, July 17, at Max Baer Field in Livermore.

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