The win also earned SPLL a spot in the upcoming Section 3 tournament.
“It feels great,” South Pasadena catcher Matt Rogers said of the win. “We’ve lost to Temple City a lot of times and I just feel really happy that we finally got them and are moving on to sectionals. It feels awesome.”
South Pasadena exploded for eight first-inning runs, putting them in the driver’s seat for the rest of the contest. Rogers scored from third base for the first run of the game on an error as Temple City National tried to throw out Cody Robinson stealing second base. Ian Wong then drove Robinson in with a single to left field.
Soon after, South Pasadena chased the Temple City starting pitcher after recording only one out, but that did not stop the onslaught. Wong scored on a wild pitch. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Julian Barnes hit a double that cleared the bases for three RBIs. Then, with two outs and the bases still juiced, Wong was back at the plate and smacked a two-run double for the final runs of the top of the first.
“We came out really strong and barreled up on curveballs and fastballs,” South Pasadena coach Chris Cortinez said. “We took out their best pitching right away and we just fed off of that.”
That first inning output would prove more than enough for South Pasadena starting pitcher Charlie Karr. He had a strong curveball, allowing just five hits and striking out seven before having to let a teammate finish off the final batter of the contest, having reached his 85-pitch limit after recording the second out of the sixth.
“It was really fun. I knew we could do it since the first inning,” Karr said. “It was just a great game.”
Robinson recorded the final out and the 2021 champions were crowned.
“Grayson [Ebner] in left catching that final fly ball to end the game was an amazing feeling,” Rogers said.
South Pasadena added a pair of runs in both the third and sixth innings. In the third frame with one out, Rogers and Robinson hit back-to-back singles to left field. Then, with two outs, South Pasadena had two more back-to-back hits to drive them in. Ebner took an inside pitch that hit the bat near his hands for a bizarre single. Chris Cortinez followed with a single into left-center, also for an RBI.
In the top of the sixth inning, following two Temple City runs in the bottom of the fifth, South Pasadena answered back. Barnes legged out an infield single ahead of Kory How, who drew a walk. Then, with two outs, Robinson went down and golfed a low pitch into center field to drive both of them home.
“It is a good group of kids and they deserved to win this,” coach Cortinez said.
South Pasadena now advances to the Section 3 tournament in Claremont. The District 18 champions’ opening round game is against Upland American Little League on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to play either Claremont or West Covina on Sunday, July 18. The double-elimination tournament is scheduled to conclude on July 21, with the champion advancing to the division/state competition in Fountain Valley.