The Little League Baseball teams of Santa Clara began post-season play this past week in the annual District 44 Tournament of Champions. Teams in the minor, major, intermediate and junior divisions from each of the 14 leagues within the district participate in this single-elimination tournament in hopes of being crowned the 2015 T.O.C. Champions. The tournament began on Wednesday, June 10 and concluded on Monday, June 15 for the minors and Wednesday, June 17 for the major and intermediate division and Saturday, June 20 for the juniors.
S.C. Westside Minors
The minor league Tournament of Champions kicked off Wednesday, June 10 as the S.C. Westside Red Sox took on the Tri-Cities Yankees at the Little League fields in Los Altos. It was the stellar pitching performances by the Sox staff, as well as an offensive outbreak for their hitters that contributed to the Westside 8-1 win.
The reigning 2014 Champions took the field on the cool, Wednesday evening in hopes of holding on to their title. The Santa Clara pitching staff, which consisted of Andrew Goldenberg, Luke McLachlan, Matthew Chung and Treavon Farleigh, certainly did its job in keeping their chances alive by allowing only five hits through six innings.
However, the Yankee pitchers had a harder time keeping S.C. off of the bases. Sam Sylvia sparked a rally in the top of the second with a lead-off single to second base. He would go on to score on a wild pitch while teammate Ethan Medeiros would score on a Brandon Fones groundball to the shortstop.
McLachlan had a big hit of his own in that inning. His single to center field brought in two of his teammates, Elias Gonzales and Warren Cohen, which put the inning run rule into effect for Santa Clara. It was 5-0 after the inning.
Starting pitcher Andrew Goldenberg through his 2.1 innings of work allowed only two hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
The Sox tacked on another three runs: two in the third when a Farleigh single brought home both Shea Arrilaga and Sylvia, and one in the fifth when Goldenberg crossed the plate after a single to center by Arrilaga.
The only run for the Yankees came in the bottom of the sixth when a pick-off attempt to second by catcher McLachlan ended with the ball in the outfield and a Yankee cleat touching both third and home.
The 8-1 victory on Wednesday allowed S.C. Westside to advance to the second round on Friday, where they beat Sunnyvale Southern by a score of 7-2. However, the season for the Red Sox ended after a 2-1 loss to fellow Santa Clara minor league team S.C. Briarwood.
S.C. Briarwood Majors
The Briarwood Braves, in their first round of the T.O.C., were able to put together big offensive rallies to breeze past their competitor, the Moreland Padres, by a score of 13-2 in just four innings on June 11 at S.C. Homestead Little League field.
Jayden Greco started on the mound for the Padres hoping to shut down the Braves’ offense and keep his team in the running for Tournament Champions.
After a quiet offensive inning, Greco found himself in trouble early, having to pitch through a leadoff homerun and a triple in his first inning. He successfully did so by striking out two, stranding runners on first and second. The score was 2-0 at the end of the inning.
The deficit was no big deal for the Braves, who broke the game open with a six-run inning. Jason Silveira led the inning off with a double to left and Dylan Diashyn eventually hit him in with a single to right, scoring the Braves’ first run. Kalei Caoili batted two more runners in before Greco blasted a homer to straight-away center field that brought in two runs of his own.
Greco retaliated defensively against the Padre offense in the second by striking out the side. Suffering from an elevated pitch-count, he would be replaced by Silveira in the third. Silveira would allow only two hits while striking out five in his two innings of work.
Two Braves runs were plated in the third by Ryan Limprecht with a sacrifice fly and Bobby Rivera with a single to left.
It was the fourth inning that ultimately sealed the victory for the Braves. Of the nine hitters to come to the plate, five of them would go on to score, which put the 10-run rule into effect. The runs were batted in by four different Brave hitters: Greco, Silveira, David Centero and Rivera, who had two.
After advancing to the second round with the 13-2 victory, S.C. Briarwood went on to beat Mountain View 5-1 on June 13. The Braves are one win away from the T.O.C. Major title.
S.C. Homestead v. S.C. Briarwood Minors
Two of the Santa Clara minor league teams faced off in the second round of the T.O.C. on June 12 at Briarwood. However, only one could prevail and that team was the S.C. Briarwood Yankees over the S.C. Homestead Giants by a score of 10-0.
The game, only lasting five innings due to the run rule, featured spectacular pitching appearances by Briarwood’s Patrick DeCastro, Michael Moreno and Paul Majoulet. The staff as a whole would allow no runs on four hits and four strikeouts.
S.C. Homestead had a hard time keeping Briarwood off the bases. In the bottom of the second, the Yankees plated the first runs of the game when Jadice Vaughan came up with a big single that scored both Moreno and Brayden Rosa.
In the bottom of the inning, the Giants’ Ross Raineri led off the inning with a double to center, but his teammates were unable to hit him in.
The Yankees would add to their lead in each of the following innings. In the third, DeCastro’s and Moreno’s doubles to center added to Briarwood’s leads and in the fourth it was the singles by brothers Raymond and Justin Aldor that pushed the lead to 8-0.
It was Isaac Garcia‘s single to center field in the top of the fifth that brought in the team’s tenth run, which put the run rule into effect.
With a runner on third in the bottom of the inning, Briarwood needed one more out to end the game and secure the win. That happened when catcher Alec Grimaldo picked off to third and caught the runner off guard. The runner sprinted for home but third baseman Aaron Trigg quickly returned the ball to Grimaldo, who applied the tag for the last out of the game.
After a 12-2 win in the first round against Sunnyvale National on June 10 and the win against S.C. Homestead, the Yankees advanced to the third round on June 13 where they knocked out the 2014 T.O.C. champions, S.C. Westside, by a score of 2-1. The undefeated run in the tournament landed the Yankees a spot in the championship game.
S.C. Briarwood Wins Minor League T.O.C.
The thrill of the classic, east-coast rivalry was alive Monday night at the Campbell Little League field, as the Santa Clara Briarwood Yankees took on the Campbell Red Sox in the final game of the Minor League Tournament of Champions. Just like most of the games between the two teams, it was the Yankees that walked away with the 11-1 victory and brought home to Santa Clara the T.O.C. Champions banner.
Not only did the Yankees rally defensively behind starting pitcher Patrick DeCastro, who allowed only four hits through his five innings of work, they also did so with their bats. Leading the Santa Clara offense were the first and second place hitters, Raymond and Justin Aldor. Each Aldor ended the game with a perfect 3-for-3 performance.
The visiting Yankees kicked off the game with three, consecutive triples: two from the Aldor duo and one from DeCastro. The score was 2-0 after the half-inning.
The Sox scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the first after a walk, passed ball, and error brought the lead-off hitter around each of the bases.
Santa Clara immediately returned with a run of its own in the second inning. They would also go on to score five more in the third. Four singles, all in a row, by both Aldors, DeCastro and Julian Garcia brought in the first three runs while the last two were scored by a Michael Moreno triple to the left-center gap. The five-run limit was put into effect and the Red Sox defense would run off the field without retiring a single, Yankee hitter that inning.
The fourth was scoreless for both teams; but the Yankees, leading 8-1, tacked on a run in the fifth and another two runs in the sixth. The R.B.I. were attributed to Paul Majoulet and Jadice Vaughan.
DeCastro’s elevated pitch count stopped him from completing the game. However, Raymond Aldor took the mound in the bottom of the sixth and was able to finish what DeCastro had started. He struck out the final batter of the game and the celebration began.
The Briarwood Yankees ended their season with a 29-3 record. Manager Emmit Palacios says that attributing factors to their successful season were not only their strong pitching staff and the tough defense behind them, but also the undeniable chemistry between the players and coaches.
“We just took pride in our defense and had some pitchers that were lights-out,” said Palacios. “They played and they strived for each other.”
Visit our website www.SantaClaraWeekly.com for additional T.O.C. games and results posted after press time.