A’s pile up on Dodgers for Pee Wee Crown; all sports for Aug. 4

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No. 1—The Freeman Park Athletics routed the Mas Fukai Park Dodgers 14-3 to capture the Gardena Parks and Recreation Pee Wee baseball championship Saturday. Photo by Joe Snyder

The Freeman Park Athletics captured the Gardena Parks and Recreation Youth Baseball League championship by routing the host Mas Fukai Dodgers 14-3 in the final last Saturday at Fukai Park.

The Dodgers looked like they were start off well in the top of the first inning. They loaded the bases with one out but managed only one run for a 1-0 lead.

The Freeman Park Athletics captured the Gardena Parks and Recreation Youth Baseball League championship by routing the host Mas Fukai Dodgers 14-3 in the final last Saturday at Fukai Park.

The Dodgers looked like they were start off well in the top of the first inning. They loaded the bases with one out but managed only one run for a 1-0 lead.

The A’s, who also won the Pee Wee title last season, took command from there. They scored four runs in the bottom of the inning. They continued to lead 4-1 until letting loose for more runs in the bottom of the fourth. They added three runs in that inning, added two in the fifth and five in the sixth for a 14-2 bulge. The Dodgers managed one run in the top of the seventh.

“We worked real hard for this,” A’s manager Jonathan Zuniga said. “The kids were dedicated and motivated. They were hungry to play.”

Ethan Rhodes and Cordell Montgomery each drove in three runs for the A’s, who ended their season with an 11-1 record. They also won the league in regular season play. They lost an early season game to the Dodgers but came back with two wins over them.

According to Zuniga, Luis Escobar, Issac Ramirez and winning pitcher Donavan Hall had big games. Hall started and finished the game for the A’s.

The game was a blowout but was somewhat closer than the score indicated. The Dodgers had several chances to score more runs but could not get the key hits to get them in. “We had a lot of mental errors,” Dodger manager Joe Aguilar said. “That’s how they beat us. We have mostly inexperienced players who moved up from the Bantam division. We made the championship. We’re hoping for better things next year.”

The Dodgers finished 9-2 including opening the season with a victory over the more experienced A’s. The A’s went on to win 11 games in a row from there.

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Torrance High routs Culver City for SB Summer League crown

By Joe Snyder

Sports Editor

The Torrance High baseball team is back in championship form as it gave a preview for the 2017 season by capturing the South Bay Summer Baseball League by rolling over Culver City 10-0 on July 27 at Kendall Field on the Torrance Park grounds.

The Tartars captured their first CIF-Southern Section crown by winning the Division IV championship over cross town and Pioneer League rival South Torrance 11-0 in 2014 but were faced with a two-year rebuilding period in the 2015 and 2016 years. Torrance, though, still managed second place finishes in league and would have gotten past the first round of the Division IV playoffs last spring but had to forfeit its win over Fullerton due to having an illegal batting practice prior to the contest that violated CIF-Southern Section playoff policies.

The 2016-17 edition, though, will be experienced senior studded but will be under new head coach Terry DeWan, who assisted the recently departed head mentor Ollie Turner, who stepped down after 12 seasons a couple of weeks ago. Turner left to be more with his family but may stay on as an assistant. DeWan was Torrance’s pitching coach, although he spent one season as head mentor at Covina High. The Tartars will be seeking both a league and CIF-Southern Section crown. With the new format based on individual schools, though, it will be undetermined what division they will play in. There is also a plan to increase from seven to 10 divisions for baseball beginning next season.

The Tartars had some fine pitching from two returners in Alex Gallegos and Dante Mendoza. Gallegos pitched five scoreless innings for the victory and Mendoza shut down the Centaurs in the final two innings.

Torrance broke the game open by scoring six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Keying the inning were run scoring hits by Bradford Kong, Travis Martizia (who stood out for this past season’s Tartar junior varsity team that won the Pioneer League title), Eric Small and Taishi Nakawake. B.J. Becerra also singled and scored.

During its 12-0-1 run, Torrance pitching allowed just 17 runs.

DeWan hopes to start his stint on a smash with a possible CIF title. Turner had a record of 255-129-1 in his 12 seasons that included the 2014 Southern Section crown. He has a son entering the seventh grade and also plays baseball.

Torrance advanced to the final with a 5-2 win over cross town rival West Torrance on July 26 at West. Culver City outlasted this past season’s CIF-Southern Section Division III champion Redondo 3-2 in nine innings in the semis at Redondo. The Centaurs’ victory over the lesser experienced Sea Hawks, who only return premiere player Dan Zimmerman from the 2015 and 2016 championship squads, was a revenge of their 9-2 Division III quarterfinal loss back in May.

Against West, this past season’s Pioneer League champion, Torrance started with two runs in the bottom of the first behind an RBI (run batted in) single by B.J. Becerra. \

The Tartars upped their lead to 4-0 by the third when Kong drove in a run with a base hit.

The Warriors scored twice on a two-run single from Taylor Pozo in the bottom of the third but Torrance put the game away with a run in the top of the sixth

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Torrance makes Babe Ruth World Series

By Joe Snyder

Sports Editor

The Torrance 15-year-old Babe Ruth baseball team reached the World Series after capturing the Western Regional with a 5-4 victory over Honolulu, Hawaii in the final last Thursday at Elk’s Field in Santa Maria.

Torrance went unbeaten at 5-0 in the regionals and will begin the World Series on Aug. 13 in Williston, North Dakota. Torrance won a World Series title in 2008.

Torrance held a 5-1 lead but Honolulu scored two unearned runs on a throwing error by Kyle Hatai that cut Torrance’s lead to 5-3. Honolulu also scored another unearned run on a dropped fly ball in the outfield. Winning pitcher Kevin Ishimaru, however, finished the game with a strikeout as the Torrance players celebrated their regional crown and moving on for the trip to North Dakota.

Offensively, Jesse Esphorst went 2-for-4 and was named to the all-tournament team. Kai Hershberger had a run-scoring double in the second inning to score Torrance’s first run. It remained 1-0 until Torrance broke the game open with four runs in the top of the seventh. Neil Feist had a run-scoring single and Hatai added a two-run double to give Torrance a 5-0 lead. Hatai was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Hatai also had two pitching wins, one of those a 5-0 win over Honolulu on July 26.

A’s pile up on Dodgers for Pee Wee Crown; all sports for Aug. 4