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July 26, 2011 > D45 outlasts So Cal for World Series berth

D45 outlasts So Cal for World Series berth

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.

When your offense is hitting on all cylinders, all you need is your pitching to hold a lead. When your pitching is mowing down the competition, all you need is some timely hitting to pull out a win. But in the case of the District 45 Big League all stars, both the pitching and hitting was on point in their romp through the Big League (16-19 year olds) Western Regional championship.

Representing Northern California in the eight-team tournament, District 45, made up of players in Union City and the Hayward area, steamrolled through the competition in their pool, earning top spot in Pool B, before topping Arizona and Southern California in the semifinals and finals.

"We have many leaders on this team that step up all the time," said Nor Cal's manager Chris Staley. "The question is not who will step up, it's when will the next step up?"

In the all-California championship, Brandon Yau was the one to step up. Yau pitched a gem, throwing a complete game, allowing one run on seven hits. Meanwhile, offensively, Kenny Chavez stepped up to even the game. With Nor Cal trailing 1-0, Chavez belted a two-out RBI double down the left-field line. It plated one, and a second Nor Cal runner was tagged out at the plate.

"Chavez was the MVP of this tournament to me," said Staley. "He had so many big at bats for us."

Nor Cal, as the home side, came up to bat in a 1-1 tie just needing a run to advance to the Big League World Series. It was a wild inning, including a bench-clearing altercation which had Nor Cal's Jason Yau ejected.

With two outs and Dillon Pereria at first. Ralphie Delgadelo stepped to the plate and beat out an topped one that he beat out for an infield single to put runners on first and second, knocking out So Cal's starter from the game. So Cal brought in Joseph Rivera who promptly uncorked two wild pitches, the first allowing both runners to move into scoring position; the second allowing Nor Cal to plate the game-winning run and send the local boys to the World Series.

Nor Cal got there by beating up on Arizona in the semifinal. They were up handily in the later innings, taking a 7-1 lead into the final frame thanks to top notch pitching by Luke Lederman. Lederman was taken out in the last inning for Joe Armstrong who, after allowing one run to come across, shut the door on Arizona in a 7-2 win.

First up for D45 was Hawaii on July 16. Brandon Yau pitched six innings, allowing two runs, only one of those earned. Yau left with his club up 5-2. Pascal Flores came in for the seventh, allowed a run, but closed the door, giving D45 a 5-3 win.

None of their remaining pool play games were nearly as competitive. On Monday, July 18, D45 went up against Oregon's best - a club from Portland-Gresham Little League. They were able to handle their foe to the north with ease, coming away with a mercy-rule shortened 18-0 win in five innings. Leading the way for D45 was Union City American Little Leaguer Demitri Castro. In four innings, the 16-year-old standout pitcher from James Logan High School allowed no hits. After allowing a single in the fifth, Dillon Pereria closed the game with a double play and strikeout.

D45 wrapped up its pool in first place with a dominating, mercy-rule shortened win over District 2 of Las Vegas, Nev., on Wednesday, July 20, 21-0 to advance to the semifinals vs. Arizona.

In total, D45 outscores the best of all the western states, 53-6, in advancing to the Big League World Series. First up for D45, now as the West representative, is the Southwest representative from Ruston, La. The Big League World Series is in Easley, S.C., and goes from July 27-Aug. 3 (log into for scores), with teams from six different regions of the United States, and five clubs from across the world.

"Going into the World Series," Staley noted, "we will play pitch by pitch and try to win an inning at a time."

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