The Westside Major Division Dodgers defeated the Briarwood Diamondbacks Saturday afternoon to take home the District 44 Tournament of Champions Championship. It was as epic of a Little League game as one will ever see, a rare treat in fact, a 1-0 pitcher’s duel.
Typically speaking, at this level, passed balls, wild pitches and errors lead to a multitude of runs even if there aren’t many hits. Saturday’s championship game however was beautifully pitched by both Dodgers’ starter Lucas Micun and D-backs’ starter Josh Porda. Both aces went the distance, picked up plenty of strikeouts and when they did need their defense to work for them, their teammates picked it clean.
The only blemish in an otherwise perfectly pitched game on both sides came in the bottom of the third inning. With one out and nobody on, Dodgers’ No. 9 hitter Max Rubio launched a double down the left-field line. Leadoff man Alec Howell followed up by immediately hitting nearly the exact same type of ball, a solid deep fly down the left-field line for a double of his own and the lone RBI in the game. That one run would be all Micun needed to secure the win. The right-handed ace ended the game on a strikeout in the top of the sixth.
“We knew we were going to try to ride him for most of the game, he’s been one of our dominant pitchers,” remarked Dodgers Manager Kevin Capps. “He threw a one-hitter with nine strikeouts and held his composure all the way through.”
“I was mainly throwing the fastball and it was working quite well,” chimed Micun, who also throws a curveball and a slider. “I was locating it and they weren’t able to hit it.”
The only member of the D-backs who was able to hit Micun’s fastball was the opposing pitcher, Porda. The tall left-handed pitcher for the D-backs, bats from the right side and launched a line drive to right field to leadoff the second inning. Despite coming out on the losing end, Porda looked back on the season fondly after the game.
“Family; all my teammates are like my brothers,” remarked Porda. “They all played a big part in our team. I don’t think I would have wanted to go to the TOC Championship with anybody else.”
Two of the teammates who stood out defensively behind Porda in the championship were Vaughn Sanchez and Mason Stewart. The former made a nice catch on a sinking line drive up the middle and the latter made multiple nice throws to first base on strike threes that ended up in the dirt.
One other Westside Dodgers standout in this game was Mitchell Perry. The No. 5 hitter scorched the first hit of the game, an opposite-field double, down the right-field line in the second inning. Perry was later robbed of a second line-drive knock on the aforementioned play by Sanchez. It was an extremely impressive day at the plate by Perry considering Porda picked up 11 strikeouts of the 15 outs recorded in his five innings of work on the mound.