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August 10, 2010 > UCA loses two in a row and heads home

UCA loses two in a row and heads home

By Biff Jones

In order to be crowned a Little League World Series Champion, a team must win three double-elimination and two pool-play tournaments where more than one loss in any of the five will probably end a team's season. Union City American Senior (14-16 year old) Little Leaguers kept flirting with danger and it finally caught up to them.

Round one, District 45 play, saw UCA go undefeated although Union City National LL held them to a 2-1 victory in the championship game at James Logan High School. In round two, Section 3 played at Granada High School in Livermore, UCA went into the championship game unbeaten and fell to Tracy American LL setting up a winner-take-all game the next day. UCA won that game to become Section 3 champs but the loss left UCA without a day off.

On to the Division 2 (Nor Cal) Tournament at Los Altos High School the very next day after winning Section 3 and they had to come from behind to defeat Rocklin LL in a game extended to 12 innings of the seven-inning regulation game. This really stretched out UCA's pitching staff as play for UCA continued for the fourth straight day with a win over Branham Hills LL of San Jose on Sunday.

Finally, UCA got a day off but when they faced the other unbeaten team, Oakland North-South LL after the off day, UCA had four of their top pitchers ineligible to pitch because their pitch count had exceeded what Little League Baseball allows for this age group. This was too much for UCA to over come and they lost to Oakland and was sent to the loser's bracket.

Needing to win three games in a row in three days, UCA did just that despite playing another extra inning game on the second day (10 innings) extended to 11 innings on the third day because of darkness. It then took six innings on the third day played after the suspended game was completed to pull out a 3-2 victory against Oakland as darkness again fell and UCA was awarded the victory.

On to the Western Regional in Ontario, Calif., last week where UCA had four days off before their first game and another day off going into game two. In their opener of Pool A play on Wednesday, Aug. 4, against Ketchikan, Alaska LL, UCA triumphed, 30-1, as the teams in the more warm weather states have an advantage over the colder weather states. This game saw UCA Manager, Jamie Delgadillo, keep all his pitcher's, pitch counts under 30 so they could all take the mound in the next game if needed.

UCA's second game of Pool A on Thursday was another blowout of a northern climate team as Lockwood LL of Billings, Mont., fell to UCA, 12-2. Again, Manager Delgadillo kept all pitch counts under 30.

Next up was a team from a sunshine state, undefeated Hilo, Hawaii LL, last Saturday night, Aug. 7. This turned out to be a strange game as UCA jumped out to an 8-1 lead after four innings. Hawaii came back to take the lead 9-8 in the sixth inning only to see UCA regain the lead 10-9.

In the seventh the team from the big island tied it at 10-10 to send it into extra innings. For some reason UCA quit playing championship caliber baseball in the eighth inning as they could not throw strikes and when they did, Hawaii hit it and UCA did not make the catches. UCA took its first loss of the West Regional, 18-10.

Sunday, Aug. 8, would be the last day of pool play and UCA would face off against a team from the land of the sun, Mountain View LL of Scottsdale, Ariz.. Both teams had 2-1 records and would play for second place in Pool A and a place in the semifinals on Monday at 7 p.m.

Ryan Loeffler started for UCA and both teams went scoreless in the first inning. However, in the top of the second, Arizona exploded for 5 runs when they strung together two doubles, a triple and a couple of singles to chase Loeffler. Aaron Acosta relieved Loeffler and pitched the final five innings giving up only one run. Meanwhile, UCA could only manage four runs over the last six innings and were sent packing as the Arizona champ won, 6-4, to end a great 2010 season for the East Bay team.

Hawaii played the Pool B runner-up, Creekside Ranch LL of Ontario, the host and District 23 champ, on Monday at 4 p.m. and it was followed by Arizona against the Pool B winner, Manhattan Beach LL, the Southern California champ, at 7 p.m. Results were unavailable at press time.

Monday's semifinal winners will face off on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. for the right to represent the West Regional at the Senior Little League World Series in Bangor, Maine, Aug. 15-21. Championship game will be televised live on Aug. 21 on ESPNU with a tape replay on Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 9 a.m. on ESPN2.

For results and updated schedules, check the TCV Sports website, sports.tricityvoice.com.




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