First published in the July 15 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
The South Pasadena Little League 12-and-under All-Star team was crowned the California Little League District 18 champions after defeating Northeast Los Angeles Little League in the title game, 10-0, on Tuesday evening.
“We had a really strong team going into district competition so we expected to do well,” SPLL manager David Selsby said. “After the first loss against Temple City National and a close game against East Alhambra, we realized it was going to be more competitive than we thought going in. It was great to see the kids respond in the last three games where we outscored our opponents 27-5.”
Matt Rogers, who registered a base hit, an RBI and a pair of runs on offense, pitched a complete game, striking out seven batters while only allowing three hits and a walk across four scoreless innings.
“Matt is a real competitor. Matt absolutely took care of business yesterday. His fastball and his breaking ball were working well so it was a great performance,” Selsby said.
Meanwhile, Cody Robinson smacked his team-leading third home run of the tournament while finishing with an additional base hit, two RBIs and two runs.
“Cody is a fantastic player. He’s just been dominant on the hill and he’s a really good hitter; he anchored us both offensively and on the mound,” Selsby said.
Thomas Kemper collected a pair of hits, two RBIs and a run, Zach Park recorded a base hit, two runs and an RBI, and Tyler Wilson had a base hit and an RBI. Jacob Ghaly tallied a base hit and a run, Evan Leyva produced a walk and his team-leading 11th RBI, and Michael Ludena and Ronan Selsby each notched an RBI and a run.
South Pasadena will ride a five-game win streak into the upcoming sectional tournament, where the All-Stars will battle Glendora American Little League, the District 20 champions, at Homer Briggs field in Ontario on Saturday, July 16, at 5 p.m.
“We know they are a tough team,” Selsby said. “We are expecting stiff competition but Cody will be on the bump for us. We have a lot of talented players up and down the lineup that are hitting, so we plan to go out there and compete hard.”
The tournament is double-elimination. However, if SPLL wins the opener, the team will advance to the winners’ bracket and play either the District 19 or District 23 champions in Ontario on Sunday, July 17, at 7:30 p.m. Meanwhile, a loss to Glendora would move South Pasadena into the losers’ bracket for a game in Ontario on Sunday, July 17, at 5 p.m.
“I want to pay respects to all the community members that have helped out,” Selsby said. “The entire all-star experience for the last month, it wouldn’t work without all the parents that volunteer in the snack stand, all the parents that volunteer and work in the score booth and the parents that got their kids to every practice on time. I really want to acknowledge all the parents and all the community members that have made this a great experience, especially our South Pasadena Little League President Alberto Ocon.”
SPLL 7, Northeast L.A. 0
South Pas tallied its second tournament shutout with a victory over Northeast Los Angeles Little League on Monday. SPLL did all its damage in the first three innings, scoring three runs in the first and third frames while tacking on an additional run in the second inning.
Robinson, who had a base hit at the plate, struck out 16 batters while only allowing two hits and two walks across 5.1 innings on the mound. Meanwhile, Maxwell Osorio recorded the final two outs in relief without allowing a base runner.
Ludena smacked a three-run home run and scored an additional run, Park finished 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI, and Selsby tallied a double, a run scored and an RBI. Kemper registered a base hit and a pair of RBIs, Leyva and Rogers each recorded a base hit and a run scored, and Ghaly scored once after reaching on a walk.
SPLL 10, Temple City 5
South Pas collected its third straight victory by defeating Temple City Nat
ional Little League on Saturday, July 9. SPLL took an early 5-1 lead at the end of the second inning before adding another five runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Leyva, who went 2-for-3 with a double, a run, an RBI and a walk, pitched three innings of one-run ball to earn the win. He struck out six while allowing just one hit and two walks.
Park had a triple, an RBI and a run scored, while Osorio, who notched a base hit and three RBIs, pitched 1.2 innings of relief and allowed one hit and one walk with two strikeouts. Selsby tallied a base hit, two RBIs and a run scored, Ludena and Mateo Castillo each posted a base hit and a run scored, and Joshua Bracamonte collected a base hit and a run scored. Ghaly walked twice with a run and an RBI, Robinson and Kemper each walked once and scored a run, and Rogers scored once.
SPLL 17, South El Monte 1
South Pas earned a blowout victory over South El Monte Little League in a three-inning game on last Friday, July 8, as SPLL scored 11 runs in the first inning and an additional six in the second.
Leyva brought the thunder, blasting a pair of home runs and finishing with
five RBIs and three runs scored. Ghaly went 2-for-2 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored, Ludena and Max Agius each tallied a double, a run and an RBI, and Selsby collected a pair of base hits and two runs scored. Kemper recorded a base hit, a stolen base and a run scored, Robinson produced a base hit, three runs and an RBI, Park had a base hit and a pair of runs scored, and Castillo walked once.
Rogers, who scored three runs on offense, tossed a perfect inning with two strikeouts, while Agius allowed an unearned run on a pair of hits with two strikeouts.
SPLL 7, East Alhambra 6
In a win-or-go-home situation, Leyva played hero for South Pas last Thursday as he delivered a walk-off RBI base hit in the bottom of the sixth to help SPLL avoid a second straight loss and keep its championship hopes alive. He finished with two additional base hits, a stolen base and a run scored.
South Pasadena fell behind in the top half of the first inning but immediately responded with four runs to claim an early 4-2 lead. SPLL added a pair of runs in the second but were held scoreless until the final inning. Meanwhile, EALL continued to chip away, scoring a pair of runs in the third and then tying the game 6-6 on back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning.
Robinson went 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs, while Park collected a pair of doubles and scored twice. Rogers, who finished 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and a run, allowed two earned runs on two hits with one strikeout across 1.2 innings pitched while Osorio, who tallied a base hit and an RBI on offense, pitched the final 3.1 innings en route to earning the win. He allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk with five strikeouts. Ghaly pitched an inning of relief and allowed two unearned runs on one hit with two strikeouts while adding a base hit and walk at the plate, Ludena walked twice and scored a run, and Selsby walked once and added an RBI.
Temple City 1, SPLL 0
In an unusual game, SPLL lost to Tempe City National Little League despite earning its second straight no-hitter on Wednesday, July 6.
Robinson did it again, striking out 12 batters across five no-hit innings with one walk and one unearned run. Leyva and Kemper each had a base hit, while Agius walked once.
SPLL 14, EALL 0
South Pas opened its All-Star tournament play by routing East Altadena Little League on June 30 behind a near-perfect outing by Robinson on the mound. He did his best Shohei Ohtani impression, striking out 10 batters across four no-hit innings with his lone blemish being a hit-by-pitch. He also finished 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, three RBIs and three runs on offense.
The SPLL offense was ruthless behind Robinson, scoring seven runs in the first, three in the second and four in the third before the game was called. Park collected three hits, three runs and an RBI, while Leyva went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored. Rogers posted a pair of hits and two runs scored, Kemper produced a base hit, two RBIs and a run scored, Ludena registered a base hit, a run and an RBI, and Selsby recorded a base hit and an RBI. Castillo doubled, Ghaly walked and scored once, and Osorio tallied a pair of RBIs.