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June 26, 2012 > Mission San Jose Seniors Roll to TOC Crown

Mission San Jose Seniors Roll to TOC Crown

Submitted By Ed Hugo, Photo by Victor Cho

The Mission San Jose (MSJ) Senior Giants have claimed the 2012 Tournament of Champions in a two-game sweep over the Nationals - a team made up of players from other leagues in District 14. The games were stark contrasts of each other as MSJ won the first game with a dramatic seventh inning rally and the second by the 10-run mercy rule behind a dominating one-hit pitching performance by Mark Cho.

The Nationals jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after two innings of the initial contest. David Williams, Dru Olson and Cooper Smith rapped out RBI singles providing pitcher Zac Wallace with the support he needed as Wallace no-hit the Giants over the first five innings. The Nationals added a run in the sixth inning on two walks and an MSJ error to give the Nationals a 4-0 lead as the game headed to its final inning. With Wallace no longer on the mound due to the 95-pitch limit rule, MSJ slowly mounted a rally and were able to load the bases but had two outs. That's when MSJ bats came alive as Mark Cho doubled to drive home two runs and Mitch Broadwin and Thomas Rodriguez both singled to highlight a six run rally that put MSJ on top 6-4. Rodriguez, who had taken over the mound duties for MSJ in the sixth inning, pitched a clean seventh inning putting MSJ up 1-0 in the best of three series.

In the second game of the series, the MSJ bats woke up early as they scored three runs in the top of the first inning to provide pitcher Mark Cho all the runs he would need. Cho did a masterful job of mixing his fastball with darting off-speed pitches keeping the National batters off balance for the entire game. Cho gave up only two hits (two doubles by John Johonnot), stuck out eight and walked only one batter in his six innings on the mound.

MSJ's first inning outburst was highlighted by Cho's second two-run double in as many games. MSJ added a run in the third inning as Cho double once again and came home on a ground out by Spoorthy Vemula. MSJ broke the game open with a six-run rally in the top of the sixth inning combining three hits with four National errors to put MSJ comfortably ahead 10-0. Cho did the rest as he set the Nationals down in the bottom of the sixth inning to close out the game.

After the final out, an exuberant Giants' manager Mark Rowell could not hide his satisfaction at the way the two games turned out. "In both the games, the MSJ Giants showed how they can win; coming from behind in the first game and in the second game getting out in front and holding the lead," Rowell said.

The same two teams will meet again in a best two of three series at Gomes School to determine the District 14 all-star champion. That team will move onto the Senior Sectional tournament which will be hosted by District 57 beginning in mid-July.

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