The Santa Clara Westside All Stars closed out pool play with an exclamation point on Saturday. The 12-and-under squad punched their ticket to the double-elimination round of District 44 with a 16-0 thrashing of Mountain View. The big hit came courtesy of shortstop and leadoff man Orlando Lewis in the second inning. With two out and two runners on in a 1-0 game, the left-handed Lewis blasted a fastball over the fence in center field, extending the lead to 4-0. With Westside ace pitcher Austin Sands on the mound, Lewis’ home run basically put the game away.
“It was a 1-1 count and I was thinking fastball because coach Jerry and coach Vinny were like ‘fastball, fastball,’” recalled Lewis on his approach going into his home run swing. “I also got to give credit to coach Curtis, he pitches to us and tries to match the stuff of the pitchers we’re going to face.”
“Orlando, I mean two outs, 1-0 game in the second with two guys on, that was a dagger,” remarked Westside Manager Jerry Vignato. “That was just like a balloon popping, took all the steam out of them and carried over to us.”
Not only did Lewis hit the big home run, but he scored the first run of the game after tripling to leadoff the bottom of the first. He added a double and a single in two at bats in the third inning to complete the cycle.
Sands meanwhile only pitched two innings on the mound. It was a smart move for Westside to pull their top pitcher after gaining a more-than-comfortable lead. Westside added five more runs in the bottom of the second with RBI hits from Sam Sylvia, Mike Forney and Sands helping himself out. With Little League pitch count rules, Sands is now eligible to pitch in the next game on Monday having only thrown 33 pitches.
Westside would keep tacking on runs in the third. Matthew Conklin added a two-run home run of his own and the game was called on a 15-run rule after Lewis’ RBI single completed his four-for-four day. After the game, teammates dumped a gatorade cooler of water over Lewis’ head in celebration just before his interview. One Westside player cracked, “now it’s like a real professional interview!”
Westside will now join Campbell, Los Altos and rival Santa Clara Briarwood in a four-team, double-elimination tournament to determine the 2018 District 44 Champions for the 12-and-under division. The winner of District 44 will continue on to the Section-5 tournament in hopes of eventually landing in Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series.