ANNOUNCEMENTS LONG BEACH PONY PLAYER NEWS.... We will try and highlight various accomplishments by our baseball players, on and off the field. If you have a story that we should share, please send it in to us.
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1st HALF REC
1st HALF pct
DAY / NIGHT
TOTAL=Overall Record; PCT=Overall Winning Pct; IN DIV=Record In
Divsion; OUT DIV=Record InterDivision; STRK=Recent Streak; LAST
5=Record for last 5 games; HOME=Home record; VIS=Visiting record;
DAY=Day game record; NIGHT=Night record; RF=Runs For; RA=Runs Allowed.
Jordan Ybarra (Rays)
Ken Jakemer (Dodgers)
Tommy Peale (Angels)
Jacob Allen (Athletics)
Trevor Barlow (Rays)
Jacob Berumen (Rays)
Miller Davis (Reds)
Diego Frausto (Athletics)
Josh Freligh (Dodgers)
Michael Hall (Angels)
Lorenzo Haycox (Rays)
Bryce Hed (Angels)
Johnny Hernandez (Angels)
Ben Landworth (Athletics)
Tanner Meckes (Astros)
Zach Pettway (Angels)
Zach Rivas (Angels)
David Tillman (Athletics)
Game 1 : July 19 - Long Beach 3 , Lynwood 0
Game 2 : July 21 - Long Beach 0 , Heartwell 5
Game 3 : July 21 - Long Beach 5, Paramount 4
Game 4 : July 22 - Long Beach 19, Cheviot Hills 3
Game 5 : July 22 - Long Beach 3, Los Alamitos 1 (Long Beach Advances as Section Runner-Up)
Game 1 : July 24 - Long Beach 11, Victoria 1
Game 2 : July 27 - Long Beach 8, Ramona 1
Game 3 : July 28 - Long Beach 8, West Hills 3
Game 4 : July 29 - Long Beach 3, Chula Vista North 2 Game 5 : July 30 - Long Beach 2, Victoria 3 Game 6 : July 30 - Long Beach 4, Victoria 1
(Long Beach Wins 'Super' Region Championship)
Game 1: 8/3 - Long Beach 12, Santa Cruz, CA 3
Game 2: 8/4 - Long Beach 4, Kauai, HA 1
Game 3: 8/5 - Long Beach 4, Campbell, CA 3
Game 4: 8/7 - Long Beach 3, Campbell, CA 2 (Long Beach Wins West Zone Championship)
PONY World Series @ Washington, PA
Lew Hayes Field, Washington, PA
[CLICK FOR BRACKET]
Game 1: 8/11 - Long Beach 13, Guasave, Mexico 0
Game 2: 8/12 -Long Beach 2, Laredo, TX 1
Game 3: 8/14 - Long Beach 7, Paderborn, Germany 0
Game 4: 8/16 - Long Beach 13, Laredo, TX 4 Game 5: 8/18 - Long Beach 9, Chinese-Taipei7
(Long Beach Wins World Series Championship)
LBP 14U (8-11) LONG BEACH 13, MEXICO 0 (5 inn) @ World Series in Washington, PA - We started Saturday at the field with the Champions game for special needs kids, and it was a very rewarding time for all. The boys showed real heart and had a blast with the participants...who were thrilled to have all the PONY boys rooting them on. Amazing to see the smiles on their faces even with all the challenges they have. We also got to interact with the other teams quite a bit; our boys amazed that the German team could all speak English, taking photos with the other teams and talking quite a bit with the East Zone champs from New Bedford, MA who seemed like a great group of kids.
After lunch back at the hotel, we went to our assigned practice field, which was smaller than a Little League field, had some flat ground past the fence about equal to a Pony field and then dropped off to a ravine in left and heavily wooded area in center and right. It made for an interesting batting practice with many balls flying into the woods and several going into the ravine...our shaggers repeatedly told not to go back on the ball!
Almost 48 hours after arriving in Pittsburgh, we were finally ready to start our first game, against Mexico. For the first time in about 10 games, we were the home team and Jay Rohman got us off to a good start with a dominant 1-2-3 inning in 7 pitches including 1 strikeout.
Possibly showing some nerves, the Mexican pitcher walked Will Semonsen to start the game and then hit Spencer Steer to put 2 on. Jacob Hughey then hit a hard grounder down the line past the first baseman for a 2 run single. Maxx Cauble forced Hughey and later scored from second on a Griffin Keller single for a 3-0 1st inning lead.
Jay Rohman hit the first pitch he saw leading off the second for a mammoth home run down the left field line that must have traveled 350 ft and was as high as any ball I've seen hit. He also continued to be perfect on the mound through 3 innings.
In the 3rd, Hughey hit one out in right center to put LB up 5-0. Jack Williford doubled and Keller had another single to drive in his second run of the game to make it 6-0.
Mexico finally got to Rohman in the 4th with a walk and a double to put runners at 2nd & 3rd with one out, but Steer ended that threat with an unassisted double play, fielding a hard smash down third and tagging the surprised runner caught off the base and then throwing to first to nail the batter. He also made another major league play in the 5th with a great back handed grab and throw across the diamond to first with runners at 2nd & 3rd to again preserve the shutout.
Semonsen lead off the 4th with a single and Steer doubled him home, followed by a Cauble 2 run homer to make it 9-0. The 5th started with a Rohman single, a walk to Austin Logan and then a single by Semonsen that could have ended the game but coach Scot held Jay at third to load the bases. After a force out at home, Hughey ended the game in style, with a grand slam blast to deep center to give him 2 homers and 7 RBI for the game and a 13-0 LB win.
So a great start to the Series for the LB boys, showcasing our shutdown pitching, power hitting and strong defense. On Sunday we will be playing Laredo TX, the defending World Champs, at 3:00 pm EST. -- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U (8-12) LONG BEACH 2, LAREDO TX 1 @ World Series in Washington, PA. - Well, after a rare easy win against Mexico on Saturday, the Cardiac Kids returned to face the defending World Champs from Laredo TX and squeaked out a narrow win against an excellent team. We told the boys this game might be the toughest of the tournament for us and they responded with a great game and needed all of it as Laredo played an excellent game as well.
We were visitors and did not score in our half of the first. We had our "Horse", Jack Williford, pitching today and he got an easy 1st 2 outs only to have a soft liner to short left fall in for a double. The next hitter then singled and stole second to put runners at 2nd and 3rd, where they were stranded with an important out.
LB scored the 1st run of the game in the 2nd as Williford was hit by a pitch and went to 2nd on a wild pitch. Eddie Cervantes came through as he has so many times when we need him, driving a line single to center to score Jack and put the Beach up 1-0. But we wasted a chance to add more when we left the bases loaded. Williford then had a 1-2-3 inning with 2 strikeouts to keep the momentum on our side.
Maxx Cauble added another run in the 3rd with a solo blast to right center for his second homer of the Series and what ended up to be the winning run. LB was hitting some other balls hard but right at fielders, so even though we felt in control of the game, we couldn't push it past 2-0 and left several runners on the bases in the early innings.
Their pitcher started to settle down and get his breaking ball over for strikes, resulting in a 1-2-3 4th inning for our offense. Laredo led off the bottom of the 4th with a double and subsequent steal of third, that looked like we had the runner but the umpire called him safe and the momentum seemed to be swinging over to Laredo. They got that runner home on a very close play at the plate as their hitter grounded to short, Will Semonsen fielding it cleanly, looking the runner back at third and firing to first for the out. Jacob Hughey spun and fired home as the runner broke for the plate on the throw to first, but again the runner was ruled safe on the slide and tag and we had a slim 2-1 lead with a lot of ballgame left.
The Beach offense suffered through two more 1-2-3 innings in the 5th and 6th, so even with the lead, it did not feel like the game was going our way. Laredo had 1 out hits in both the 5th & 6th to threaten as Williford looked a bit shaky, getting his pitches up. Semonsen made an unassisted double play to end the 5th and Jack managed to strand a runner at second in the 6th. So even though he came close to getting a hook in the 5th, he was now asking to stay in the game for the 7th and looked good enough that he was allowed to stay in.
LB was looking to add some insurance runs in the 7th as Riley Dent and Semonsen both singled to give us runners and speed at 1st and 2nd with no outs, but the promising rally fizzled quickly after a pop up and double play to end the inning. So LB would go to the bottom of the 7th looking to get 3 outs and protect the 2-1 lead.
Sensing he was 3 outs away from a complete game victory, Williford came out firing, getting the first 2 batters to hit come backers that he fielded and threw to Hughey for the outs. Laredo sent up a powerful looking pinch hitter with their final chance and with the short dimensions down the lines, one mistake could cost the game or in this case,at least tie it. The night before, Chinese Taipei had lost a game in the bottom of the 7th when a player from Puerto Rico hit a 2 run homer to win the game 2-1. Williford made sure that did not happen to us, getting his 8th strikeout to end the game and notch a complete game victory. The win was his 5th of PONY tournament play and his 4th complete game (as well as another game he went 7 and we won in 9 innings) proving that he has earned his nickname of "The Horse".
The Beach showed how well balanced we are with the close win; one day after our power hitting display, we won with pitching and defense. Many in attendance were impressed that LB was able to throw two straight starters of such high quality in Rohman and Williford....we simply said "wait until you see our next one" with the plan to give the ball to Will Semonsen against Germany on Tuesday night, 8-14 at 8:00 pm.
-- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U (8-14) NON-GAME UPDATES FROM the World Series @ Washington PA - Just catching up with a few tidbits from our trip, as we have been doing more than traveling and playing games. As previously mentioned, the Champions game on Saturday for the special needs kids was just awesome...I got choked up today just telling someone about it. One of the other highlights of that was the appearance of former major leaguer Lenny Randle, who is now bench coach for the local minor league Washington Wild Things. Lenny was very outgoing and hysterical....when he saw us he yelled "Long Beach?!! I'm from Long Beach!" and proceeded to make the boys laugh for about the next 10 minutes. He asked if we were from the hood and if anyone was on parole. Will Semonsen said he was, so Lenny gave him a Swag Daddy t-shirt. Very funny. Lenny also invited us to their game that night and gave us half off coupons, which we took advantage of. They play at a beautiful new $4 million complex right next to Pony headquarters and the boys enjoyed relaxing at the game. Lenny even came up into the stands between innings to say hi and chat and then again as we were leaving.
Monday night we enjoyed our day off by attending the Dodger vs Pirates game at PNC Park, a real gem located right on the river in downtown Pittsburgh. We sat as a group with quite a few of our traveling family members (numbering about 35....great family support!) for a group of over 50 in an area called Pirate Cove....otherwise known as the far upper corner of the right field stands. Actually had some great views up there, as we could see the game perfectly well and also had views of the river, bridges and downtown skyline all lit up at night. It was a perfect night out and the Dodgers even complied by holding on for the win. Most of the boys picked up Pirates gear from the street vendors as we walked back across the bridge to our vans.
Tuesday brought showers on and off for a good part of the day, and ended up affecting the two night games scheduled. The Laredo vs Mexico game was pushed back by 90 minutes and Laredo won that game easily 8-0. Our game against Germany was cancelled and because they are leaving tomorrow, that game will not be rescheduled (LB would have won anyway). So that sets up a rematch for us against Laredo in the bracket championship game on Thursday at 8:00 EST. One win for LB puts us in the Championship Final, while Laredo would need to beat us twice to reach that game.
-- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U (8-15) NON-GAME UPDATES FROM the World Series @ Washington PA - With a day off on Wednesday, we did our usual sleeping in and then rousted the boys for a planned 10:30 practice that ended up being more like 11:30...players and coaches not moving too quickly in the mornings. We are keeping rock star hours here with late nights and then sleeping until 11; not sure how the coaches are going to get back on actual work schedules (if we can even remember what we do for a living). Today marks two solid weeks we have been on the road away from home...and together 24/7. Luckily this group gets along quite well and we all still like each other (no small feat).
The boys quickly got going when it was time to hit as they love to show off their power in batting practice. We had a good workout, punctuated by Coach Rick Dent deciding to jump into one of the sprints at the end of practice to show the boys how it is done....he was leading and kicking it into gear when he felt a grab in his hamstring and had to pull up....last time he'll do that. He spent most of the next two hours icing it.
We went over to the local public pool, a huge facility walking distance from the field where the families met us for lunch and swimming. The group enjoyed the pool so much we stayed all afternoon, with boys alternating between the two diving boards and the water slide, while spending quite a bit of time chatting up the cute young lifeguard. The boys then walked over to the field for the 5:30 game between Chinese Taipei and Puerto Rico, coaches driving the vans over. The Chinese made quick work of them for a 11-0 win and set up a rematch for Friday.
With an 8pm game Thursday, we again slept in till 11:00 and managed to pull it together to go have breakfast at Waffle House, which Trevor Steer had been begging for all week. I ordered strawberry waffles into which they put what looked like little food coloring nuggets that qualified as the strawberry part....scary.....and quite a difference from Watsonville, which is the strawberry capital. Sorry Trevor, no more Waffle House this trip. We crashed out at the hotel waiting for our late game time. -- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U (8-16) LONG BEACH 13, Laredo 4 @ World Series in Washington, PA - Time for our rematch against Laredo, whose rooms at the hotel are right next to us....while the boys have been friendly, I think both teams recognized early this would be our best competition, so they have been keeping their distance. The coaching staffs have talked quite a bit and while they have been a bit cocky, we have laid low and plan on letting our team do the talking.
With the game cancelled vs Germany and plenty of days off, we elected to go back to Jay Rohman for the start. He walked one in the first and after 2 stolen bases, the runner scored on an uncharacteristic LB error, putting us in a 1-0 hole. Laredo elected to go with their starter from the 1st game against us, a hard throwing righty and having seen him once, we were ready. Will Semonsen worked the count and looped a 2 strike single into left. Spencer Steer followed with a smash that sent the right fielder back to the warning track and he speared it above his head for the out. After Will stole second, Jacob Hughey drove him in with a single to left center gap and the score was tied. Maxx Cauble walked and he and Jacob pulled off a double steal to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. An obviously rattled Laredo pitcher then proceeded to throw a wild pitch to score Hughey and a passed ball on the catcher scored Cauble for a 3-1 lead at the end of 1.
While Rohman settled in and threw consecutive 1-2-3 innings in the second and third with 3 strikeouts, the Beach kept the pressure on in the 2nd inning. Rohman singled to lead off and took second on a wild pitch. Riley Dent attempted a sacrifice but Rohman was thrown out at third. Semonsen walked and with 2 on, Steer hammered a ground single up the middle to score Dent. Hughey lined a shot right at the third baseman for the 2nd out, but he threw the ball away on the attempt at a double play, Semonsen scoring to make it 5-1. Cauble then waited on a curveball and absolutely destroyed one into the night high over the left field fence and the trees beyond for a 2 run homer (his 3rd of the Series) and a 7-1 LB lead.
In the 4th, Laredo's best hitter broke up Rohman's no hitter as he hammered a hanging splitter over the right field fence. Jay went on to strike out 2 in the inning though and we were still in control.
In the 5th inning Laredo scored on some walks, hits and an error to tighten the game up to 7-4 and possibly swinging the momentum their way. Rohman was suddenly struggling to throw strikes but managed to get their home run hitter to ground out to end the inning in what proved to be a huge out with runners on.
In the home half of the fifth, Coach Rick "dropped shop" with his signature rap to fire up the boys and we put the game away. Monty Petersen led off with a walk and Eddie Cervantes singled him to second. Jay Rohman punched a single to right to score Monty and Tanner Meckes came in to run for him. Riley Dent then hit a huge 2 run double down the left field line to make it 10-4. Semonsen singled him in for an 11-4 lead and then Spencer Steer hit one out in right center for a 2 run homer (the 7th for LB in the Series) to push the lead to 13-4. All of this came before we made an out in the inning, but we were not able to push another across to get the mercy win.
Semonsen came on to pitch the final two innings for the Beach and he made short work of the Laredo batters, never giving them another look at the game, getting his 6 outs on only 18 pitches while striking out 3 with an impressive fastball and nasty curve.
A huge win for LB, making us US Champs and crushing a very good team along the way. We are set to play in the Championship Finals on Saturday at 1:00 against the winner of the Taipei vs Puerto Rico game. -- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U (8-17) NON-GAME UPDATES from the World Series Washington, PA. - Once again we slept in, barely getting everyone up and out of the hotel to meet the families at an Italian restaurant for lunch (breakfast for us). A very nice time and plenty of food for all and then we went over to the PONY headquarters just down the street to look at their small museum of Pony artifacts, which included Chase De Jong's jersey signed by the entire 2008 World Championship team from Long Beach, with which we took a team picture. Most of the boys purchased a print of a painting of the World Series field and had the whole team sign each one for a keepsake.
We then went for ice cream at the amazing Sarris, which takes up a whole city block in nearby Canonsburg, and the ice cream was both excellent and generously served. From there we made a quick stop at the hotel and then proceeded to the field to see the Taipei vs Puerto Rico game to see who we would play tomorrow. Both teams were very sloppy in the early going, giving away runs with walks, wild pitches and errors. The Chinese team settled down quickly though and showed they were superior, posting a 10-5 win.
So we will face them in the Final game tomorrow at 1:00 to determine the World Champion.
WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS
LBP 14U (8-18) LONG BEACH 9, CHINESE TAIPEI 7 @ World Series in Washington, PA - We were very excited to get to face the Chinese, as we felt they were the best team from the other bracket and beating both Laredo and China would truly be a great accomplishment and an earned title. The Chinese team is very disciplined, extremely fast and plays great defense. They actually had several very large players and could hit enough to hurt any team. We knew it would take a great effort on our part to win this game.
The Beach couldn't score in the 1st in our usual visitors position, even with Will Semonsen leading off with a single and Jacob Hughey getting a one out walk. We had the Horse, Jack Williford pitching and he got off to a rocky start as the umpire had a very tight strike zone, walking 2 in the first. We also made an error on what looked like a double play ball, but with the help of a rundown play to nab a runner at third, got out of the inning without giving up a run.
The second was one wild inning. Eddie Cervantes singled to lead off and Tanner Meckes beat out a dribbler down the third base line to put two on. Riley Dent walked to load the bases and Semonsen banged the first pitch in left center for a 2 run single and the early lead. Spencer Steer then unloaded a 3 run homer to right center that put LB up 5-0, a huge lead with our pitching. Unfortunately, we had an uncharacteristic bottom of the inning, making an error, walking one and hitting another batter. China then singled in a run, followed by a blast to left center for a grand slam homer and a very sudden 5-5 tie. After another base hit, Williford was replaced by Semonsen, who got us out of the inning.
Showing the heart of a champion, we came right back in the 3rd. Williford walked and Austin Logan came in to run for him. Griffin Keller sacrificed him to 2nd and he tagged and went to 3rd on a fly out. Bryan Smith had entered the game at third base when we made the pitching change (Steer sliding over to short) and he came to bat in a crucial spot. He worked the count a bit and then hit one out in right center for a huge 2 run homer and both the LB dugout and crowd went nuts as we went up 7-5.
In the 4th, we added to the lead as Semonsen had yet another single and Steer hit his second homer of the game and third of the series, easily clearing the fence in left center, pushing the lead to 9-5. China got one back in the bottom of the inning on a hit batter, single, fielders choice and sacrifice fly.
Semonsen was throwing strikes but the strong Chinese hitters kept the pressure on, getting two infield hits in the 5th, only to have LB get out of the jam. They came back in the 6th, getting two doubles, the second one scoring the runner even with a great throw from right by Hughey.
So we went to the 7th with a somewhat shaky 9-7 lead, looking to score some insurance runs, which we were unable to do. That left it up to Semonsen and the LB defense to shut them down and get the 3 outs needed for victory and the championship. With the Chinese lineup, a 2 run deficit could certainly be made up and they started off well with a leadoff single. But Will put the hammer down, getting a groundout that moved the runner to second, then an easy fly ball to right. With two outs, he fired a fastball for a swinging strike three, ending the game and giving Long Beach its fourth World Championship to join the teams from 1959, 1965 and 2008.
What a tremendous run by a great group of kids and the coaching staff could not be more proud of them. On behalf of Manager Scot Chamberlain, Coach Rick Dent and myself, we would like to thank the families for all of their support in both Watsonville & Washington:
Randy & Glenda Smith, who were simply invaluable.
The entire extended Steer family
The entire Williford family
The Wade family
The Keller family
The Hughey family, working in shifts
The Meckes family, doing the same
The Petersen family, doing the same
The Logan family
The Cervantes family
Randy Cauble and then Donald Preston trading off for Maxx
Staci Dent, Theresa, Tyler & Tristin Chamberlain and my boys Kyle & Greg Salaya for giving up time with us so we could coach this team.
Kirk & Ilene Kelley
Everyone that followed us throughout our tournament run. -- Kirk Salaya
2012 ALL-STAR PRELIMINARY ROUNDS
PONY SECTION TOURNAMENT – LONG BEACH, CA.
LBP 14U - (7/19) LONG BEACH 3, LYNWOOD 0 - After a month of preparation and 16 games played, during which time LB went 15-1, we were finally ready to begin actual PONY tournament play. The games we played were a great learning experience and pulled us together as a team, as our only loss was to a West Covina team that won the World Series as 13 year olds last year. The boys came back the next day to beat that team 10-2 and gained confidence.
Jack Williford led Long Beach to a 3-0 win over a very solid Lynwood team by pitching a complete game 3 hit shutout. His 95 pitch outing included 10 strikeouts against only 3 walks and he was in command throughout the game. LB started the scoring in the first with two out as Jacob Hughey lined a single into right field. He was running on the pitch as Spencer Steer doubled into left center and scored easily. The boys were hitting a number of balls very hard and very deep, but they were just good looking outs as the Lynwood outfielders were playing way back and making the catches. In the 4th inning, Maxx Cauble lifted one very high to center that cleared the fence for a solo homer to give LB a 2-0 lead. We came back in the 5th, again with 2 outs as Will Semonsen singled and then stole second. He went to 3rd as the catcher dropped the pitch and then scored as Hughey beat out a high hopper to second with some great hustle to give us a 3-0 lead, which ended up as the final score. A very good win to start the tourney and we move on to play Heartwell on Saturday at 1:00. -- Kirk Salaya
LBP 14U - (7/21) LONG BEACH 0, HEARTWELL 5 - A rough game for the Long Beach crew as Heartwell's big righthander shut us down. LB was able to threaten in several innings, even looking like we would score the first run of the game in the 3rd, but Riley Dent was out on a very close play at home.
Jay Rohman pitched for LB and looked good through 3 but had a tough 4th inning during which Heartwell scored all their runs. Spencer Steer and Will Semonsen also pitched for LB and Will had 3 hits in the game to lead the team. We are now in the losers bracket and looking to continue. - Kirk SalayaLBP 14U - (7/21) LONG BEACH 5, PARAMOUNT 4 (8 innings) - We came back to the field for a 7 pm game looking to continue our run and ran up against a strong Paramount team that got off to a good start in the second inning against us, going up 3-0.
Griffin Keller started and after a good first inning, ran into trouble in the second. Austin Logan came on to get us out of the inning, but we were down and our bats still not working. Jacob Hughey led off the 2nd with a double down the left field line and alertly took third when the throw missed the cut-off and scored as they threw the ball away at third to make it 3-1. Will Semonsen came on to pitch in the 3rd and ended up throwing 6 great innings of relief, allowing only an unearned run in the 4th to give Paramount a 4-1 lead.
Our comeback started in the 4th with Maxx Cauble leading off with an infield single, followed by an Eddie Cervantes walk. Bryan Smith then came up huge with a 2 run double to right center, bringing the boys back to life at 4-3.
In the bottom of the 7th, we still trailed 4-3 and were down to our last out (and about to be eliminated) when Dent hit a grounder to first that looked like it would end the game with a loss....but the ball skipped off the first baseman's glove for an error, putting Riley safely at first. Semonsen then promptly banged a line drive double down the right field line scoring Riley with the tying run and when the throw got away from the catcher, Will just kept running, trying to score the winning run....but they recovered to tag him out at home. But we were alive and headed to extra innings! Will set them down 1-2-3 in the 8th and Spencer Steer led off the bottom of the inning with a clean single up the middle. Jacob & Eddie followed with walks as their pitcher tried to be careful, loading the bases. Spencer then scored the winning run on a wild pitch and the LB boys survived to play on Sunday against Cheviot Hills. - Kirk Salaya
LBP 14U - (7/22) LONG BEACH 19, CHEVIOT HILLS 3 - Well the boys brought their bats to this one! Will Semonsen lead off the game with a triple to right and Spencer Steer followed with a single to make it 1-0. Jacob Hughey singled next and Maxx Cauble then blasted a 3 run homer to left and the rout was on. Hughey had 3 hits and pitched the 1st 3 innings and Brandon Wade finished with the final 2. -- Kirk Salaya
LBP 14U - (7/22) LONG BEACH 3, LOS ALAMITOS 1 (in 9 innings) - The Cardiac Kids do it again!! In the final game of the tournament to determine which team would advance to the Super Regional in Riverside, the LB boys pulled off a great win in extra innings. Jack Williford took the mound just 3 days after his complete game victory in the first game of the tourney. Los Al started the game with 4 straight singles to go up 1-0 with the bases loaded and no outs. Williford settled in and struck out 2 straight batters and then got a ground ball out to minimize the damage. LB tied it up in the 3rd as Will Semonsen led off with a single and then stole second. He tagged up on a fly to right and scored as the throw went past 3rd to tie the game. In the 4th Cauble led off with a triple but LB couldn't get him in, the Los Al center fielder making an amazing catch on Jack's 2 out bomb that would have hit the fence halfway up in dead center.
In the top of the 7th LB left the bases loaded and couldn't score. In the bottom of the inning, Williford was able to strand the potential winning run at 3rd to send it into extra innings. Spencer Steer came on to pitch the 8th and was able to leave 2 runners out there to send it to the 9th.
Bryan Smith led off the 9th with a walk and after an out, Riley Dent sacrificed him to second. Semonsen drove a double down the right field line to score Smith on a very close play at the plate with the go ahead run. Spencer Steer then singled Will in to make it 3-1. Spencer closed it out with a 1-2-3 9th for the win.
The team now goes on to the Super Regional with the first game Tuesday 24th at 5:00pm. -- Kirk Salaya
PONY SUPER-REGIONAL TOURNAMENT – RIVERSIDE, CA.
LBP 14U - (7-24) LONG BEACH 11, VICTORIA 1 @ SUPER-REGIONAL, RIVERSIDE - The Long Beach boys drew a tough first SR game vs a traditionally strong Victoria team (who knocked out LB back in 2009). The Victoria team looked big and athletic (even though Jacob Hughey said we were bigger...not sure what he was looking at!). They had a very good lefty on the mound who put us down in order for 5 straight innings; you read it right, he had a perfect game through 5 and we trailed at that point 1-0. LB had Jay Rohman on the mound and he was almost as good, only giving up the one run in the 3rd.
Then the LB crew came to life in the top of the 6th, with Eddie Cervantes beating out a leadoff infield hit, just barely beating the throw to first. Monty Petersen came in to run and took off for 2nd on a bunt attempt that didn't get down, somehow getting in safely as the throw was dropped. Riley Dent walked to put guys at 1st and 2nd. Will Semonsen singled, loading the bases with 1 out. Spencer Steer hit into a force out that scored Monty to tie the game at 1. Hughey then drove a ball to left center for a double to make it 2-1. Maxx Cauble beat out an infield hit to make it 3-1 and a now rattled Victoria pitcher then balked in another run to make it 4-1. Jack Williford followed with a single to make it 5-1 and the Beach was back in business.
Rohman shut Victoria down in the 6th and then the LB boys put it away in the 7th, scoring another 6 runs. Jay got the first hit, followed by another Dent walk and a shot by Semonsen to short, Will safe on the error, loading the bases. Spencer Steer hit a hard liner the first baseman knocked down and tried to get the out at the plate but throwing wildly, scoring 2 runs. Hughey walked, Cauble singled in a run and Williford literally alomost knocked the pitcher out of the game with a hard liner up the middle making it 9-1. Tanner Meckes finished the scoring with a 2 run single.
Jay Rohman wanted the complete game and got it, striking out the side to finish with a whopping 14 strikeouts in a dominant performance, setting up the Beach for a 2nd round game on Friday night. -- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U - (7-27) LONG BEACH 8, RAMONA 1 @ SUPER-REGIONAL, RIVERSIDE - After our big win over Victoria on Tuesday, we came back Friday to play Ramona, another very large team though not as athletic looking as Victoria. Coach Scot decided to pass on the coin flip and warm up at a field 5 minutes away as we had done in the 1st game, so we were the visitors (and would remain that way in all the Super Regional games). LB got 3 singles in the first but with a questionable caught stealing call at second, we left 2 on and didn't score. Jack Williford took the mound and as in the Los Al game, he got off to a rough start, loading the bases. He got out of it with no damage though on a soft liner and a double play turned to end the inning.
LB scored in the 3rd as Spencer Steer singled, went to 2nd on a attempted pickoff error and then scored on a 2 out single by Maxx Cauble to put LB up 1-0. We tacked on a second run in the 5th as Tanner Meckes walked, Riley Dent had a bunt single and Will Semonsen walked to load the bases. Jacob Hughey got the run in with a sacrifice fly.
Jack had cruised through the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings but Ramona scratched out a run in the bottom of the 5th to make it 2-1 with an infield single, sacrifice and eventual sacrifice fly.
LB broke open the close game in the 7th as Dent, Semonsen, Steer & Hughey all singled to lead off the inning, the last 2 driving in runs. Griffin Keller added a 2 run single and the Beach ended up scoring 6 runs to make it 8-1 and give Williford some insurance. He wrapped up the win with a 1-2-3 7th, another complete game for him on only 71 pitches. -- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U - (7-28) LONG BEACH 7, WEST HILLS 3 @ SUPER-REGIONAL, RIVERSIDE Moving on in the coveted winners bracket, we faced West Hills...once again as visitors. It paid off as we jumped on them early. Will Semonsen leading off with a single and Spencer Steer promptly tripled him home for a 1-0 lead. Jacob Hughey followed with a single to make it 2-0 with no outs...but LB was not able to add more. Semonsen got the pitching assignment and was perfect through 4 innings, working in his signature rapid motion (so fast that Eddie Cervantes asked me to call the pitches quicker!).
In the bottom of the 5th Maxx Cauble made a great diving catch with 2 runners on to save at least 1 run.
We added a run in the 6th as Cauble and Williford singled and Keller laid down a great bunt to move the runners but was safe himself to load the bases. Cervantes then punched a single to bring in a run, making it 3-0. Unfortunately, we gave it all back in the bottom of the inning as Ramona got a few hits and we failed to make some plays.
So we went to the 7th tied and what an inning! Will lead off with a walk, and Jacob got on with 1 out on an error. Maxx singled in the go ahead run, Brandon Wade picked up another with a fielders choice and Eddie and Bryan Smith both singled in runs to make it 7-3 LB. Will shut them down 1-2-3 to get the 3rd straight complete game win by the LB staff. -- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U - (7-29) LONG BEACH 3, CHULA VISTA 2 @ SUPER-REGIONAL, WHITTIER - Yesterday's win put us in the winners bracket final vs Chula Vista (another big team! sensing a trend) as we moved over to Whittier. We got off to another great start as Will Semonsen walked, Spencer Steer and Jacob Hughey singled, the latter driving in the 1st run. Jack Williford then blasted a double to score another. Unfortunately we left runners at 2nd & 3rd, ending the inning up 2-0. Jay Rohman was our pitcher today and he loaded the bases on 2 walks and a little nubber down 3rd...only to end up stranding all the runners as he struck out the side. That was a preview of a game in which the other team clearly wasn't going to hit him much, but he was also struggling with his command.
Rohman lead off the 2nd with a single and Riley Dent then walked. Semonsen singled to load the bases and after an out, Hughey singled for his 2nd RBI to make it 3-0. We looked like we were about to blow the game open, especially as Maxx Cauble singled hard between 1st and 2nd, which would have scored 2 with only one out. Shockingly, the ball hit our runner, who was immediately called out and the ball declared dead, sending the runner who had scored back to 3rd. Instead of a 5-0 lead 1 out and 2 on...we then ended the inning leaving the bases loaded and only a 3-0 lead.
Some shaky defense lead to single runs for Chula Vista in the 4th inning on a 1st & 3rd "pickle play" and then again in the 6th with a couple of errors. Rohman kept battling but the command issues meant his pitch count was climbing and he was done after 5 innings. Hughey made a huge play in the 5th, with a bullet throw from right field to nail a runner trying to go from first to third on a single.
Meanwhile, LB kept getting runners on and into scoring position, only to fail to drive them in. We left a runner at 3rd in the 3rd, left 2 on in the 4th and worst of all in the 7th, trying to add some insurance runs and failing to score after loading the bases. Not our cleanest game on either side of the ball.
Spencer Steer had come on to pitch the 6th and was dropping his curve in for strikes. Going into the 7th with a 1 run lead, we needed 3 outs for the win. The CV lead off batter singled and after an out, the tying run was at second base and we looked to be in danger of losing the lead and possibly the game. Eddie Cervantes than made the play of the game, catching the runner off second with his backpick throw and in the subsequent rundown, Semonsen made sure of the tag for a huge out. With 2 out and no one on, Steer made an amazing catch with his back to the plate of a soft liner over his head toward short, ending the game with a close 3-2 win for the Beach, putting us into the Championship game on Monday. Rohman gets the win and Steer gets the save. -- Kirk Salaya
LBP 14U - (7-30) LONG BEACH 2, VICTORIA 3 @ SUPER-REGIONAL, WHITTIER - Monday night brought us to the Super Regional Finals and Victoria Riverside was our opponent after surviving an incredible 6 possible elimination games in the losers bracket. So the tournament was ending the same way it started with what looked to be the two strongest teams. LB was one win away from the Zone Championships in Watsonville.
Victoria had the same big lefty pitching that threw 5 perfect innings against us in the first game of the tourney. His perfect game did not last even one batter this time as Will Semonsen lead off with a sharp line drive double to right center. Spencer Steer followed by ripping one down the left field line for a run scoring double and we were up 1-0. Maxx Cauble knocked in Steer with a single to give LB a 2-0 lead.
Jack Williford had the start and survived a 1st & 3rd situation in the first. He then cruised through the next few innings as LB left a runner on each inning. In the 4th, LB left the bases loaded in the top of the inning without scoring, while Victoria got a run in the bottom of the inning when a single was played into a triple. Neither team really threatened in the 5th & 6th, so the 7th started with LB up 2-1 and 3 outs away from the Championship.
Looking to add some runs, Tanner Meckes lead off with a single, but we ended up leaving him at 2nd. This game was feeling a lot like our narrow victory over Chula Vista the day before, with LB wasting scoring opportunities and our opponent only scoring on our mistakes. Unfortunately, this time it cost us the victory as we unraveled just enough to hand Victoria the victory on our errors, 3-2. Williford certainly deserved better with yet another complete game with a pitch count in the 70's. As we were the winners bracket champs, Victoria had to beat us twice to win and advance, so on to the second game of the evening at 7:00 pm. -- Kirk Salaya
LBP 14U - (7-30) LONG BEACH 4, VICTORIA 1 @ SUPER-REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, WHITTIER - The boys were down and upset but we regrouped with the thought that Victoria could not beat us twice. With our pitching a bit depleted, Austin Logan got his first action of the tourney on the mound and had a shaky 1st inning with Victoria scoring once for a 1-0 lead, but then minimizing the damage and getting us out of the inning.
Maxx Cauble and Jack Williford both singled to start the 2nd and Griffin Keller singled Maxx in to tie it at 1-1. Logan hit into a force out to score the go ahead run and the inning ended with LB up 2-1.
The second was looking worse than the first with 2 on and no out when Logan made a good play to start a double play at third and Spencer Steer making a great throw to complete it and keep them scoreless. That seemed to really settle Logan, who then started to locate his pitches down in the zone and he had 3 straight 1-2-3 innings, including the 5th in which he only made 3 pitches! Austin ended up going 5 1/3 innings in the biggest start of his life and giving LB a terrific performance.
LB picked up a couple of huge runs in the 3rd with Steer and Jacob Hughey singling and Williford walking to load the bases. Keller came up big again, with a 2 run double to put LB up 4-1 and giving him 3 RBI's on the night.
In the 6th, Victoria had 2 singles and only 1 out and it was time to go to Will Semonsen to try and shut them down. A swinging dribbler down the line was converted into an out at first with a great defensive play by Semonsen, putting runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2 out. A base hit would bring Victoria within 1 run, but Will ended the inning with a tremendous curve that dropped in and froze the batter for a called strike three.
Both teams went 1-2-3 in the 7th, with Semonsen ending the game and tournament in style, getting a strikeout to make LB the Super Regional Champs and send us to Watsonville. -- Kirk Salaya
PONY WEST ZONE TOURNAMENT – WATSONVILLE, CA.
LBP 14U - (8-3) LONG BEACH 12, SANTA CRUZ 3 @ WEST ZONE, WATSONVILLE, CA - On a cold overcast morning in Watsonville, we started the Western Zone tournament against Santa Cruz. The Watsonville field is the nicest we have played on and we look forward to a great tourney and a chance to move on to the World Series in PA.
As usual, we were visitors but didn't get anything going in the first. Our horse Jack Williford was on the mound and had a great 1-2-3 inning with 2 strikeouts. He then led off the 2nd with a walk and was sacrificed to 2nd by Griffin Keller. Eddie Cervantes singled to put runners at 1st & 3rd. Tanner Meckes was safe on an error by the shortstop with Jack scoring. Eddie then scored on a passed ball to give LB a 2-0 lead.
We doubled that in the 3rd as Maxx Cauble singled, moved up on a fielders choice and went to third on a single by Griffin. He went to 2nd on a passed ball. Cervantes then came up with a big 2 run single to make it 4-0.
In the 4th, Will Semonsen singled then scored as Spencer Steer doubled to the base of the left field fence. He then stole 3rd standing up and scored as Cauble was safe on a fielders choice. Williford then hit a shot down the left field line to the fence that scored Maxx to make it 7-0.
Meanwhile Jack had a perfect game going through 4 innings and was cruising until SC managed to get 2 runs in the 5th. They also added another run in the 5th after we put up two in the top half of the inning as Jacob Hughey doubled and Williford singled him in. Brandon Wade then made it 9-2 with a hard single.
LB pushed it to a final score of 12-3 in the 7th as Meckes walked, stole second, moved to 3rd and scored on a wild pitch. Semonsen doubled down the right field line and scored on Steer's double to left center. Hughey finished the scoring with a single to score Steer.
Austin Logan pitched the final two innings as the LB boys move on to play Kauai on Saturday. -- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U - (8-4) LONG BEACH 4, KAUAI, HAWAII 1 @ WEST ZONE, WATSONVILLE, CA - We had our second game in the West Zone Tourney, but since we felt that Kauai was the best team we would face, we really considered this the most important game.
As usual, we were visitors and looked like we were off to a great start with Will Semonsen leading off with a single and Spencer Steer safe as an error was made on an attempted force play, Will taking third. LB looked to be in business. Within a minute, a strikeout and interference call had all but ended the threat. Our boys were frustrated we didn't score and Kauai was pumped up. That and some poor defense on our side led to a run for them in the bottom of the first. Jay Rohman minimized the damage by striking out the last two batters and leaving runners at 2nd & 3rd.
Both teams went 1-2-3 in the 2nd with Rohman striking out the side. He would go on to strike out 2 in each inning from the 3rd through the 5th, mainly with a nasty curveball that was bouncing for swinging strikes, with catcher Eddie Cervantes doing a great job of blocking balls and throwing out runners at first to complete the strikeout.
In the 4th, Jack Williford singled and Monty Petersen ran for him. Griffin Keller was safe on an error and Tanner Meckes ran for him, putting runners at 2nd & 3rd. Cervantes came through again, singling in Petersen for the tying run with Meckes out on a close play at the plate.
The 6th inning saw Jacob Hughey hit a 1 out single and then take 2nd on a passed ball. Maxx Cauble singled to put runners at 1st and 3rd, then Williford followed with a single for the go ahead run. LB tacked on 2 more in the 7th as Riley Dent, Semonsen & Steer all singled, the last driving in the third LB run. Hughey knocked in the 4th run on a fielders choice and the scoring was complete.
So we went into the bottom of the 7th with a 4-1 lead and 3 outs to go for the win. It wasn't easy as Kauai got 2 on, but failed to score as Rohman closed out a complete game win with 13 strikeouts in a dominant performance against a very good team.
We stay in the winners bracket and play Campbell ( NorCal) Sunday at 5:00pm. -- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U - (8-5) LONG BEACH 4, CAMPBELL, CA 3 @ WEST ZONE, WATSONVILLE, CA - Well the Cardiac Kids did it again in Watsonville. We finally had a sunny day today and it was almost warm, a welcome change from the last few days. With a 5:00 game today, we let the boys sleep in and went to McDonalds for a huge take out order and brought it back to the hotel just as they were waking up and they stuffed themselves on pancakes, egg burritos and Mcmuffins. We went to the field as a team to check out the other games and then headed back to get ready for our game against Campbell.
We kept up our program of always being visitors and Will Semonsen started us off with a double over the head of the left fielder. Spencer Steer singled him to 3rd and Jacob Hughey loaded the bases with a walk. As has so often happened, we failed to totally capitalize on the situation and only got 1 run as Semonsen scored on a wild pitch. Seems like we are always 1 big hit short of breaking open an inning. In the bottom of the inning with Semonsen pitching, he worked out of a jam by picking a runner off second with 2 runners on.
Both teams went quietly in the 2nd and 3rd innings, with Steer turning in a fantastic play on an infield chopper in the third, flying across the infield to grab the ball and throwing out the runner.
In the 4th, Campbell scored a run on a single and double to tie the score at 1. In true LB fashion we came right back in the top of the 5th as Eddie Cervantes started with a single and Tanner Meckes came in to run for him. Bryan Smith & Riley Dent both walked to load the bases. Semonsen then singled in the go ahead run and Steer just missed a homer on a big fly to center that ended up as a sacrifice fly and a 3-1 lead. Hughey then doubled in the 4th run.
Semonsen worked 1-2-3 innings in the 5th and 6th and the Beach looked to be in great shape with only 3 outs to go. Unfortunately we made things way more interesting than needed in the bottom of the 7th, allowing 2 runs to score and Campbell having the tying run at second when we got the last out for a 4-3 win and a berth in the championship game. Semonsen had another complete game for the LB staff in an impressive performance. We will play Tuesday against the winner of the losers bracket and only need one win to win the Zone Championship and advance to the World Series. -- Kirk SalayaLBP 14U - (8-7) LONG BEACH 3, CAMPBELL 2 WEST ZONE CHAMPIONSHIP @ WATSONVILLE - On a perfect day for baseball, the Long Beach boys were looking to take their final step to the World Series and needed 1 win out of a possible 2 games to get there. Once again, we were in our usual spot in the first base dugout as the visitors and we had an opportunity in the first after a Spencer Steer single and Maxx Cauble getting hit by a pitch, but left them both out on the bases.
The workhorse of our pitching staff, Jack Williford, got the ball and worked a 1-2-3 first on only 7 pitches. Unfortunately, he left a pitch up in the zone in the second and their big clean up hitter hit a solo homer to give Campbell a 1-0 lead. They bumped that lead to 2-0 in the 2nd with a walk, sacrifice and timely single. Meanwhile the LB boys looked a bit flat, leaving Cauble at 3rd after a lead off pop double in the 4th.
So Coach Rick Dent broke out his old school rap to pump the boys up to lead off the 5th and it worked. Will Semonsen singled, Steer immediately doubled him in, hitting a shot to right center to make it 2-1. Jacob Hughey then followed with a double of his own, a hard grounder past first base to tie the score at two apiece. We left him on the bases and couldn't break the tie, but we had new life and a new ball game.
Williford had 2 straight huge 1-2-3 innings for us to keep Campbell in check, even though he clearly did not have his best stuff and was battling his command all day. They say the mark of a good pitcher is winning without your best stuff, and Jack was a good pitcher today.
With 2 outs in the 6th, Eddie Cervantes came up big for us, hammering a double over the head of the left fielder. Monty Petersen came in to run and Riley Dent picked him up, knocking in the go ahead run on a 1-2 sharp grounder up the middle. LB now had a lead for the first time in the game and only needed 6 more outs for the win. Williford got 3 of those outs in a 1-2-3 6th inning, facing the top of the Campbell lineup.
We were looking to add some insurance runs in the 7th and Steer smoked a leadoff liner, but the third baseman made a leaping catch for the out. After the 2nd out, Cauble hit a line shot right back up the middle off the shin of the pitcher, who somehow was able to recover and still throw Maxx out at first. So even with two hard line drives, we had nothing to show for it, and went to the bottom 7th holding on to our slim 3-2 lead.
We called on Jay Rohman to finish the game as Campbell's big home run hitter was leading off the inning. He took Jay's first pitch deep to left and it looked like he might have his second homer of the game and our lead would be gone. Luckily it fell short of the fence and he settled for a double. Still, they were one single away from tying up the game. The next hitter looked to bunt the runner over to 3rd, but instead popped one halfway up the first baseline in foul territory and Hughey made an amazing diving catch for a crucial 1st out. After a walk put runners at 1st and 2nd, Rohman got a huge strikeout for the second out. He then induced a comeback grounder from the next hitter and threw him out at first to get the save and finish a huge victory for the Beach. So the Cardiac Kids win another close game and get their trip to PA for the World Series, the 4th time in 6 years that Long Beach has made the Series. Quite an incredible accomplishment and we hope to match the 2008 team as World Champions.
The coaching staff could not be more proud of how the boys have played and we are also extremely appreciative of the tremendous support from the families and friends that made the trip to Watsonville. A special thanks to our financial guru Randy Smith and our Secretary of Transportation, Chris Steer. GO BEACH! -- Kirk Salaya
2012 PONY 13's ALL-STARS
Manager: Frank Bennett (Dodgers)
Coaches: Ken Jakemer (Dodgers)
Stacy Ybarra (Dodgers)
Bobby Haycox (Rays)
Michael Hall (Angels)
Bryce Hed (Angels)
Zack Pettway (Angels)
Cole Weeks (Astros)
Curtis Stewart (Astros)
Matt Abdelnour (Dodgers)
Landon Anderson (Dodgers)
Owen Beebe (Dodgers)
Trevor Barlow (Rays)
Lorenzo Haycox (Rays)
Jacob Allen (Red Sox)
Diego Frausto (Red Sox)
David Tillman (Red Sox)
Ben Landworth-Kleinhenz (Red Sox)
Matt Seibert (Reds)
LAYB INVITATIONAL - Los Alamitos
LONG BEACH PONY 13U - TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS
PONY SECTION TOURNAMENT (July 6-8, 2012)
@ LOS ALAMITOS
LONG BEACH PONY 13U - REGION CHAMPIONS - ADVANCE TO ZONE
Saturday - 7/7
Long Beach (7)
Los Alamitos B (4)
Sunday - 7/8
Long Beach (7)
whaley invitational 13u (jULY 14-15, 2012)
@ whaley park
Saturday - 7/14
Long Beach (6)
Sunday - 7/15
Long Beach (18)
Redondo Highlanders (1)
PONY WEST ZONE TOURNAMENT (July 21-25, 2012)
@ AMERAGE PARK, FULLERTON
Saturday - 7/21
Long Beach (20)
Sunday - 7/22
Long Beach (6)
Maui, Hawaii (5) 8 Innings
Tuesday - 7/24
Long Beach (8)
Tuesday - 7/24
Long Beach (1)
2011 PONY 14's ALL-STARS
Manager: Ken Jakemer (Dodgers) Coaches: Jerry Barham (Dodgers)
Stacy Ybarra (Dodgers)
Brad Dunlap (Dodgers)
Mike Fitzgerald (Angels)
Spencer Hill (Angels)
Blake Perkins (Angels)
Andy Brown (Astros)
Tristin Chamberlain (Astros)
Jake Barham (Dodgers)
Jeremy Corbin (Dodgers)
Connor Dunlap (Dodgers)
Josh Goldberg (Dodgers)
Marc Moroney (Dodgers)
Jackson Foss (Rays)
Tyler Radcliffe (Rays)
Will Johnson (Yankees)
Sean Suarez (Yankees)
Game 1 : July 22 - Long Beach 1, Redlands 0
Game 2 : July 24 - Long Beach 4, Anaheim 2
Game 3 : July 27 - Long Beach 9, Emerald 0
Game 4 : July 29 - Long Beach 13, Whittier 5 (Long Beach Wins 'Super' Region Championship)
PONY West Zone Tournament @ Fullerton
Amerige Field, Fullerton, CA
300 Commonwealth Rd., Fullerton
[CLICK FOR BRACKET]
Game 1: 8/2 - Long Beach 10, West Jordan, UT 0
Game 2: 8/3 - Long Beach 4, Tucson, AZ 3
Game 3: 8/4 - Long Beach 6, Tucson, AZ 5
Game 4: 8/6 - Long Beach 10, Victoria 7 (Long Beach Wins West Zone Championship)
PONY World Series @ Washington, PA
Lew Hayes Field, Washington, PA
[CLICK FOR BRACKET]
Game 1: 8/10 - Long Beach 5, Tamiami, FL 1
Game 2: 8/12 -Long Beach 10, Hagerstown, MD 4
Game 3: 8/14 - Long Beach 9, Tamiami, FL 7
Game 4: 8/16 - Long Beach 3, Chinese-Taipei 2 (Long Beach Wins World Series Championship)
FRI 8/8 - Our adventure to Pennsylvania got off to a less than stellar start as the plane ticket arrangements were botched by the Pony Headquarters. Instead of the team leaving as schedule on Friday at 8:30 AM, it was determined that our tickets were actually for the day before. This caused the Pony staff to scramble to find seats for our team on Friday. the result? We wound up on three different flights, each with a different layover city, and the flights left LAX at 6:40 AM. This meant a 4:15 AM pick-up at Whaley park, and a long day on the plane to PA.
The good news was that everyone made it safely and relatively on time. We were greeted at the hotel by Chase DeJong who returned from Florida to joins at the World Series. The teams here are much bigger then we remember from last year, and it seems very strange to be here again. It feels like we were only gone a week. People are very happy to have us back, and our old friends remember us too.
We start the festivities off tomorrow, but for now it's time to get some much needed rest for everyone.
SAT 8/9 - The official start of the 2008 PONY World Series began with the managers meeting at 9:00 AM. Rules were reviewed, new team hats were handed out, and the the coin tosses were done for all games in the tournament. (We will be the visitors for most of our games). Later in the morning, the teams headed over to Lew Hays field for team photos. The 8th annual Friends Game featured two teams of physically or mentally challenged boys and girls, who got the opportunity to play (and win) against the World Series All-star players. Long Beach's Thomas Walker was a key participant in the game helping out the kids on offense, and then taking a big K when he got his chance to bat. This was a very memorable experience, especially after the game as the players congratulated each participant with high fives and words of praise and encouragement.
After a couple hour break, we were back at the PONY fields for the Opening Ceremonies. Each team was introduced, and took up positions on the baselines. The national anthems from Chinese-Taipei, Puerto Rico, and the USA were performed, and it was time for play to begin. We watched the Chinese team play a steady game and win 11-0 over Davenport. Iowa. In the nightcap, the Area host Johnstown, PA, stunned the crowd by capturing their first ever World Series win by defeating Puerto Rico 6-2. The players spent most of this time working the crowd and meeting the locals. When it was over, it was back to the hotel, and a firm curfew to get ready for our big day on Sunday.
The highlights of the day have been the bonding between our boys and the team from Taichung City, Taiwan. The friendship has been building since the early morning when the two teams got together and chose up sides for a big whiffle ball game in the parking lot. The team captains (Soloman for LB) picked players from both teams, and the boys played an inspiring game...even though they could not communicate very clearly at first.
Thomas Walker became the un-official international representative for the team, and has become very very popular with the Taiwan team. He has greeted them with 'hello' in their native language, eliciting smiles and a "Thomas, you very smart' reply from one of their coaches. During their game, Thomas would call out the name of one of their players, who sheepishly acknowledged each call of his name with a smile and a tip of the hat.
Later that night at the hotel, the same Taiwan player saw Thomas downstairs and called out for him. When Thomas looked up, the player tossed him a Chinese-Taipei practice shirt as a sign of respect and friendship. This touching moment was repeated moments later when Thomas returned the favor by giving the player a LB hat and practice jersey of his own. This truly magic moment was one that accurately shows what this event is REALLY about. Life changing experiences that will last a lifetime.
Time for bed, and dreams of tomorrow's competition. Stay tuned.
SUN 8/10 - The early morning wake-up calls went unanswered today, and we had to rush to get players up and ready for the World Series Breakfast. It turned out to be a good thing, as we were the last ones to arrive, and then ultimately the first to get in line to eat! Such luck!
The breakfast featured every team and their families and friends. Coach Ken spoke about the background of our league, our relatively small size (5 teams), and our sincere appreciation of being back again for the second year in a row. He also mentioned that Long Beach is planning on making a return trip again next year, to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Long Beach Pony 1959 championship.
After breakfast, the players had to hurry and get ready to go take some batting practice before the big game later in the evening. Once at practice, the focus wavered away from the game, and centered more around discussions of who would hit in the HR contest the following day. This was not the focus we wanted, and the coaches nipped that attitude in the bud quickly. However, there was lingering concern about how we would perform later in the evening.
After a short rest, the vans were ready to take us back to the field for the game against Tamiami. The conditions were perfect at the start of the game, and Chase DeJong reminded us of what we had been missing in the Zone tournament. He threw a complete game, allowing only 1 late run in the 7th, to lead the Beach to a 5-1 win.
Catcher Matt Maccarrone led of the 3rd inning with a solo home run to right center to break a scoreless tie. Soloman Williams had two big hits, and drove in 2 runs to keep Long Beach alive in the winners bracket.
The post game activities were shortened by a light rain that sent the team back to the hotel for some quality delivery pizza! Then it was time to return to our own rooms and get some much needed rest.
MON 8/11 - Monday morning arrived with a bit of rain fall on the ground, but that would be all for the day as the team got ready to head to the park for the Home Run hitting contest and the Fastest Runner competition.
Representing the Long Beach team in these events were batters Irie Elizalde and Soloman Williams, and runner Brett Harper. The contest got underway, and many players were struggling to hit more than 1 HR before 10 outs. After 10 players had batted, Soloman's turn came up. He was able smack 2 HR's out of the park, placing him in a tie with a 3 other players at 2 each. Next up was Irie, who found some rhythm and stroked 3 balls out of the park. Watching the final first round participants bat was a tense time as Soloman and the rest of the 2 HR players were on the bubble to advance to the second round. Unfortunately, there were two batters that hit more than 5 each, and Soloman was eliminated. However, Irie advanced to the final round of 4, representing LB. He would not capture the crown on this day though, as the Chinese-Taipei batter took home the trophy.
Next up was the Fastest runner competition, which Brett Harper ran a solid 14.35 run around the bases. His time was good for 3rd place overall, as the Puerto Rico runner won the competition with a time of 13.96.
After returning to the motel for a brief period of down time (think laundry and telecommuting to work), the entire Long Beach congregation in Pennsylvania went to dinner at Angelo's Italian Restaurant for a wonderful group dinner. Many thanks to the parent who coordinated the event. It was really great to have everyone together at one time and place.
From the restaurant the team headed over to Lew Hays field to watch the evenings games (or to be seen by the local female population....not sure which one was the priority?) The night ended with an 11:00 curfew, and a renewed focus to prepare for the game tomorrow. We have a busy schedule tomorrow including a luncheon at the Rotary Club at noon, batting practice after that, and then the game vs. Hagerstown, MD at 8:00 PM local time.
TUE 8/12 - The team awoke on Tuesday refreshed and ready for a busy day. Things started off with a team luncheon with the Rotary Club of Washington, PA. Our team represented Long Beach very proudly, and the Rotarians were again very impressed by our young men's poise, manners, and intelligence. Chase DeJong gave the opening invocation, and Coach Romo kept the audience on the edge of their seats during his recap of our journey to get here.
The next activity of the day came when a few players were taken in full uniform to the Pony International Headquarters for some advance video shots and on camera interviews in preparation for Fox Sports scheduled broadcast of the World Series final. Thomas Walker was asked to sit for one of the interviews, and he knocked it out of the park.
At the same time, the rest of the team went for some pre-game batting practice with Coach Rick and Coach Victor, before returning back to the rooms for a couple hours of rest before we headed back to the fields for our late game.
Finally, we got to play the game, and Long Beach jumped out early as Brett Harper led off the game with a bunt single, Daniel DeWolf followed with a double, and both runners would score before the inning ended. Ty Provencher took the mound for the Beach, and he came out strong. He would retire the side 1-2-3 in the first.
In the second inning Long Beach scored again on a solo home run by Harper, and in the 4th they would score 2 more times with two outs to take a 5-0 lead. Provencher kept the Marylanders frustrated through 3, but in the 4he encountered some difficulty as the bases were loaded with 1 out and a run across. Oliver Van Buskirk was summoned to relieve Ty, and he escaped the jam by striking out the next two hitters to end the inning.
With momentum back on their side, the Beach again rallied with two outs. This time they would get an RBI single by Avery Flores, and an RBI double by Harper to extend the lead to 8-1. Meanwhile, Van Buskirk kept throwing hard, and he completed his 2 2/3 innings of work without allowing a run or hit, while striking out 4.
In the 7th, Long Beach scored twice more, again with 2 outs. A Chase DeJong double brought home the final run of the night for LB,making the score 10-1. Cody Elder was handed the ball to finish the game, and he recorded the final out with runners on base, and Long Beach was heading to their lower bracket final on Thursday.
Finally, we had the van ride back to the motel, a quick bite to eat, and another good nights sleep with nice dreams of a World Series victory in each of our heads. What a great way to end the day!
WED 8/13 - With an off day on Wednesday, the team slept in a bit later than usual, and we all went to the nationally famous Waffle House for a mid-day breakfast meal. Returning to the WH brought back fresh memories of last years team, and the staff behind the counter remembered us, and how well behaved our teams were. After breakfast we headed back to the rooms, and Coach Romo worked his connections to book the team seats at the Pirates vs. Reds game later that night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
We chartered a bus to take the 49 members of our team and extended families that were interested in the game, over to PNC Park. The 40 minute bus ride took us through some beautiful parts of the country, highlighting the long history of this part of the nation. As is expected when traveling with small children, we had to make an emergency potty stop just a few minutes from the stadium. The bus erupted in cheers when Boston Bob returned to the bus, with a skip in his step, and we were able to proceed.
At the game, we enjoyed one of the most beautiful ballparks in America. We were also acknowledged on the electronic scoreboard as the 'Long Beach, CA PONY World Series team'. The Pirates were energized by our attendance, and defeated the Reds in a quick game that had us on our way back to the motel before 10:00 PM.
The players and coaches returned to their rooms, and in a short period of time, all was quiet. We will awake tomorrow with a focus on preparation for the game on Thursday night against Tamiami, FL.
THU 8/14 - We awoke on Thursday with the realization we were one game away from the finals on Saturday, and we had to spend a whole day waiting for our 8:00 PM start time. The weather was dark and cloudy, and there was a real threat of rain throughout the area. We took the team to the Wild Things batting cage to prepare, and then went back to 'rest' before we headed out to the field.
Out at Lew Hays field, the first game of the night featured Chinese-Taipei and Puerto Rico. In a close battle, Puerto Rico handed the Chinese-Taipei team their first loss, 7-4 forcing a rematch today to reach the championship game on Saturday. the game ran a bit late, so we had to wait a bit longer to finally take the field.
The game finally started, and we batted first (again!) as Brett Harper walked, advanced on Daniel DeWolf's single, and scored on a passed ball to give Long Beach the early lead. Soloman Williams took the mound, and retired the side allowing only a lead-off single. In the second, the Beach put two more runners on base, but could not get the timely hit and failed to score. Tamiami came right back and scored a run of their own on a double and single, before the final two outs of the inning were recorded.
In the third, DeWolf singled to start things off, Thomas Walker was hit by the pitch, and Chase DeJong singled in a run forcing a Tamiami pitching change. Williams greeted the new pitcher with a single, but that would be all as Long Beach took a 2-1 lead. Williams returned to the mound to face the top of the Tamiami order, and retired them in order.
The Beach scored a single run in the 4th on a bunt single by Avery Flores and a long double by DeWolf. Walker was hit by another pitch, but the Beach could not capitalize on it and had to settle for a 3-1 advantage. The bottom of the inning did not go so well. Soloman walked the lead-off batter (while throwing what looked like 7 good strikes in the at bat). The next batter hit a slow roller to Thomas , who slipped and was unable to complete the play. The next batter singled sharply to right, and the ball went to the wall scoring one run. After getting two quick outs, and an 0-2 count on the #9 hitter, a mislocated fastball caught enough of the plate for the hitter to reach out and single to right, driving in two runs and giving Tamiami the lead 4-3. Williams would get the final out, on a grounder to Walker.
With a need to respond to the Tamiami rally, Williams led off the 5th with a solid single up the middle. With Jake Hardy at the plate, Williams attempted to steal second, and beat the throw to the base. But as he slide, the break away base came loose, and at the same time the shortstop swiped Williams' arm off the base for a questionable out call. The inning would end without a run, and Long Beach still trailing by 1.
Long Beach sent Oliver Van Buskirk out to pitch the bottom of the 5th. He got off to a bit of a rocky start, by hitting the first batter and allowing a single to the next hitter. A long fly out to Harper in center, and an intentional walk of #45 Knez, loaded the bases. Oliver would strike out the next hitter for the second out on the inning, but a wild pitch would score runner from 3rd. Another walk load the bases again, but again Van Buskirk stuck out the hitter to end the inning with a score of 5-3.
With a 2 run deficit and time running out, Long Beach needed to respond. Tamiami made another pitching change, bringing in a lefthander to try and close the game out. Leading off the 6th was Van Buskirk. After taking the count to 3-2, he drove a fastball far over the fence in right field for a long home run cutting the led to 1. This energized the squad and also rattled the Tamiami team. Flores reached on an error, and after a ground out by Harper, DeWolf came up and doubled down the left field line to tie the game. Walker stepped up and drove a double down the right field line scoring DeWolf and Long Beach had regained the lead at 6-5. DeJong and Williams would both reach base on fielder's choices, before the inning ended on a come backer to the mound.
Tamiami started the bottom of the 6th with the top of their order batting. A lead-off walk, was followed by a single to right field. Williams scooped up the hit, and threw to DeJong, who wheeled around and threw a bullet to DeWolf at third to catch the runner rounding third to far. This was a critical momentum play for the Beach. A pop fly to DeWolf at third was caught for the second out, but the next batter stroked a single to move the runner to second. A two out grounder to second resulted in an error as Avery slipped while making the play, loading the bases with Tamiami's biggest slugger coming to the plate. The call to the bullpen was answered by DeWolf , who got behind 2-0 to the fearsome hitter. The next pitch was a curve that didn't reach the target as it landed squarely in the back of the hitter, forcing in the tying run. (This was actually a very good thing, as he could have driven in many more if he kept his hot hitting streak going). DeWolf then struck out the final hitter of the inning as we headed to the 7th all tied up at 6-6
Matt Maccarrone led off with a grounder to second, but the ball was booted, and the Beach had a lead-off runner. Maccarrone tried to catch the Tamiami team with their heads down by stealing second, but the attempt was thwarted and Long Beach had lost a big runner. Van Buskirk grounded out for the second out, as Flores came up to bat. The number 9 hitter smacked his second hit of the game to right field. Harper followed with a grounder to short that was mishandled for an error. DeWolf came up and drove a pitch up the middle for his 5th hit, and an RBI to give Long Beach the lead. After a steal of second by DeWolf , Walker stroked a hit to right driving in Harper and Dewolf. DeJong was hit by the pitch, and Williams would walk to load the bases again, but the final out was recorded on a strike out as Long Beach took a 9-6 lead into the bottom of the 7th.
Waiting to close out the game was Chase DeJong, and he confidently strode to the mound. The first batter he faced had homered off DeJong in the previous game between these two teams, and he smacked another long drive that stayed in the park, but resulted in a triple. Unfazed due to the 3 run lead, DeJong got a ground ball out to Flores, which scored the run from 3rd, bringing up the top of the order again. But DeJong was throwing heat, and he proceeded to strike out the final two hitters, and Long Beach was heading to the PONY World Series Championship for the second year in a row.
We will have more info about the game on Saturday, but the information we have now is that the game should be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports at 10:00 AM on Saturday (Only on satellite systems that can get the Pittsburgh feed - DirectTV and Dish Network customers). Don't miss your last chance to watch these young men play their great brand of baseball representing Long Beach, California, and the United States.
FRI 8/15 - With the big win on Thursday, we had another 'off' day on Friday. While Puerto Rico and Chinese-Taipei were preparing for one more battle to reach the championship game on Saturday, we were able to relax a bit and focus on the Saturday game. We had a couple of solid batting sessions, before heading out to CiCi's All-you-can-eat pizza parlor, for dinner. We witnessed a thrilling (yet appalling) eating contest between Irie Elizalde and Oliver Van Buskirk, who were out to break the record set last year by Alex Campbell of 42 pieces. As the competition wound down, they were neck-and-neck at 36. But Irie put on a big final kick, and wound up winning (?) by finishing 45 slices (but not the crust), with Oliver a distant second with 38.
Meanwhile, back at PONY Headquarters we were applying the full court press on Fox Sports to get the game carried live back home. Unfortunately, it appears that all of our efforts were unsuccessful, other than the fact that the games cane be seen on DirectTV or Dish Network systems. (For a small additional fee to get the Pittsburgh feed).
Over at Lew Hays field, we were able to watch the PR vs. C-T game, and were pleased with the fact that Chinese-Taipei defeated Puerto Rico 5-4. In the contest, the Chinese-Taipei team had to use their ace, leaving him unavailable on Saturday. Long Beach will have a fully rested pitching staff, and will send their ace, Chase DeJong out to the mound on Saturday.
We have reached the final game of the 2008 PONY World Series Championships for the second year in a row. A tremendous achievement on it's own, but we have unfinished business to take care of, and we will need all of your support to bring back the championship to Long Beach, California.
SAT 8/16 - We awoke this morning with a much shorter day than any other previous day here in Pennsylvania. With a 1:00 PM start time for the Championship game, we had to get up early, get some breakfast, sign some autographs, and get over to the ball field at 11:15 AM. Upon our arrival at Lew Hays field this morning, you could tell this was a much bigger game than we had ever played. The presence of 6 TV cameras strategically positioned around the field was an awesome and exciting sight for all to see.
There was some confusion surrounding the schedule of events leading up to the 1:07 first pitch, as they had to allow for some pre-game ceremonies. The delays caused our starting pitcher, Chase DeJong, to have to scramble to get his proper pre-game warm-ups in. After the teams were announced, and the national anthems from Taiwan and the United States were played, it was time to get the game started.
Chase took the mound and retired the first two hitters he faced, before giving up a double over Brett Harper's head in centerfield. The next hitter grounded to third, but the throw was over Soloman Williams head, and Taiwan had a 1-0 lead as the inning ended on a sharp grounder to third. On offense, the Beach sputtered a bit at the start and managed only a Daniel DeWolf single before the side was retired.
In the second, with two outs, a walk and a bunt single put two Taiwan runners on base, before DeJong got the lead-off man to line out to SS Thomas Walker ending the inning. Leading off the bottom of the second, Williams singled up the middle, Irie Elizalde singled to left, and Matt Maccarrone singled to left to load the bases with no outs. Long Beach was ready to break the game open, But two shallow fly outs and a fielders choice ended the threat without allowing a run. This was a big chance that got away but the team kept their heads up and went back to work on defense.
The third inning started with a walk, and a fly out to right fielder Victor Martinez. An attempted steal was thwarted by a strong throw and perfect tag to nail the runner. On the play Walker and the runner collided, with Walker's head striking the runners face. After a few minutes of assistance, the bloodied Taiwan player was helped from the field, and replaced in the line-up. A DeJong strike out of the very dangerous clean-up hitter ended the inning. Long Beach did not fare much better in their half of the inning, as DeWolf reached on an error, only to be doubled up on a liner to short by Walker . An easy grounder to second ended the inning with Taiwan still ahead 1-0.
DeJong was hitting his stride now, and retired the opponents 1-2-3 on two fly balls to second baseman Avery Flores, and another ground out to third. Again, the Beach had difficulty getting on base as all three batters were retired by the shortstop, sending the game to the 5th inning.
Taiwan got a 1 out single to right to bring up the top of the order. But DeJong induced a come backer that was turned into a 1-6-3 double play ending the threat. With the game slowly slipping way, Long Beach needed to make something happen. With one out, Flores reached base on a error, and was erased on a potential double play grounder by Harper. But the throw to first was high, and the ball wound up in the camera well sending Harper to second base. Up stepped 'Mr. Clutch' Daniel DeWolf who singled to left scoring Harper wit the game tying run. A long fly by Walker to the right field fence was caught for the final out of the inning, but the Beach was back in the game.
The 6th was more of the same from DeJong as two more fly outs to Flores, and a grounder to Walker ended the inning quickly. With 4-5-6 hitters in the order up, Long Beach looked to take a lead. Taiwan made a pitching change and brought in our friend Hu Chih Wei to pitch, and he also retired the side 1-2-3.
With one inning left to go before extra innings, and a forced removal of DeJong from the mound, Chase looked to close out the Taiwan offense. But a lead-off walk and a successful sacrifice bunt put a runner at 2nd with one out. A couple of pitches later, the runner stole third where he was quickly driven home on single. The next batter also singled to right, and both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch. With runners at 2nd and 3rd with one out, another wild pitch saw the runners attempt to advance again, but the runner at third changed his mind when a hustling Maccarrone retrieved the ball and recognized that the runner on 2nd had run all the way to 3rd base, while the other runner returned to 3rd. the ensuing pickle resulted in an out at the plate. the batter then lifted an easy pop fly to Walker for the 3rd out, with Taiwan holding a slim 2-1 lead as Long Beach came to bat in the bottom of the 7th.
With only three outs left to use , the Beach responded quickly. Matt Maccarrone laced the first pitch he saw through the 5/6 hole, and the tying run was on base. This was a perfect time to bring up pinch hitter Oliver Van Buskirk to try and drive a ball. He swung at the first pitch and fouled it off, as the LB crowd begged for something good to happen. On the next pitch, they got what they asked for, as Oliver drove a high, long fly towards the fence in right centerfield. the Taiwan outfielder looked like he had a play on the ball. But at the last second he turned and watched the ball carry over the fence for an amazing pinch hit 2 run walk-off homer to give Long Beach the PONY World Series Championship title.
The scene at home plate was surreal as Van Buskirk numbly rounded the bases, tossed away his helmet, and jumped on home plate and into the arms of his exuberant teammates who mobbed him in the traditional championship pile-up of bodies.
The stands were going wild, and I think we heard the cheers from our fans and friends watching at Legends all the way back in PA. Oliver was quickly pulled out from the pile, and after the team handshakes, he was instantly interviewed by the Fox Sports announcers about his amazing feat. The trophy ceremony was held, and the 2008 World Series Championship trophy was presented to manager Ken Jakemer and coaches Rick Romo and Victor Merrill. Then it was time for the family and friends to come on out and take pictures, hug kids, cry a few tears of utter joy, and just plain bask in the moment.
We were bombarded by local fans and Pony officials congratulating us on the victory, and expressing shear joy in the fact that the trophy was staying in the United States. These people have been supporting us throughout our stay in their friendly town, an they seemed as thrilled and excited as our team and family members that we had won.
As we were leaving the field, and returning to the dugout to collect our gear, a PONY official came up and asked for Chase DeJong's and Oliver Van Buskirk's game jerseys. One of which will be sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for one year, and the other will go on display at the PONY International Headquarters and Hall of Fame in washington, PA (Replacing the Heartwell jersey on display as the last West Zone team to win a World Series title back in 2003). We were then asked to attend the local Independent League Washington Wild Things game later that evening as quests of the club. We wound up taking over 45 people to the game, and the team was introduced out on the field where Oliver 'Walk off' Van Buskirk threw out the first pitch. We stayed a couple of innings before heading out as a team to eat at the Texas Roadhouse, where we had an amazing meal fit for World Champs.
Finally we returned back to the motel where the Taiwan players were milling about. Instantly the teams were together trading shirts, hats, signing autographs for each other and basically enjoying each others company for several hours before the police assigned to watch the motel asked everyone to return to their rooms at midnight.
With little more than 3 and a half hours before the bus trip to the airport, most of the players are planning to stay up. And who can blame them! We will arrive in LA around 11 AM, and will be bused to Whaley Park around 12:00 noon, where we hope to see all of our fans and friends who have been following us through this wonderful and amazing run.
This all-star experience has been an unforgettable journey where the depth and character of this team were major factors in the success we have achieved. Throughout the run, we have had different players step up and make major contributions in each and every tournament. The fact that this team finished with a perfect 15-0 record, while playing many high quality teams, and coming from behind in several critical contest, speaks volumes about the commitment and dedication of the players, coaches, and parents of these young men.
The coming days and weeks will be a whirlwind of activity as the team comes to recognize the magnitude of their accomplishment. They have proudly represented the city of Long Beach, the state of California, the Pony West Zone, and the United States of America, in bringing home the World Championship trophy. They have earned the accolades and recognition that is coming their way, and it has been my privilege and honor to recap the activities of this very, very special group.
Go Long Beach PONY - World Champs!
2008 WORLD SERIES SUPPORTERS
The Long Beach PONY All-Stars wish to thank
the following supporters of our 2008 World Series run.
We could not have done it without them:
Mike Sieckert - 2008 Long Beach PONY President
Denise Bunney - PONY Region Director
Patrick Sadler - Director of Baseball Operations, PONY International
Walter Schmidt (SoCal Sportswear) - Uniforms, Shirts, Jackets
Sarah Williams - Local Assistant Team Parent
Denise DeWolf - Local Assistant Team Parent
Sandy Hardy - Local Assistant Team Parent
The Merrill Family - All-Star Sponsors
Mindy McCarthy - All-Star Sponsor
Judy Jakemer - All-Star Sponsor
Broadway Glass - All-Star Sponsor
Lisa Maccarrone - Coaching advice and assistance
Bob Provencher - On-site support and entertainment
The De Jong Family - On-site support
The DeWolf Family - On-site support
The Elder Family - On-site support
The Elizalde Family - On-site support
The Flores Family - On-site support
The Hardy Family - On-site support
The Harper Family - On-site support
The Heavin Family - On-site support
The Holmes Family - On-site support
The Maccarrone Family - On-site support
The Martinez Family - On-site support
The Van Buskirk Family - On-site support
The Walker Family - On-site support
The Williams Family - On-site support
Brian Bialotto - LB Press Telegram Reporter (Outstanding Daily Coverage)
Mark Guardabascio - LBPostSports.com (Best Long Beach Sports Info)
J.J. Fidler - LBPostSports.com (Best Long Beach Sports Info)
Ryan Zumallen - LBPostSports.com (Best Long Beach Sports Info)
Doug Krikorian - LB Press Telegram Columnist (Two wonderful articles!)
Eddy Van Guise - LBTV-8 (Golden Voice and Passionate Support for Long Beach Pony)
Dennis Hunter - Production Coordinator LBTV-8 (Award winning World Champs story)
There are many, many, more people we could list here....and we apologize for any omissions from this list. You are all very much appreciated and a big part of this great journey.
2008 ALL-STAR PRELIMINARY ROUNDS
PONY SECTION TOURNAMENT – LONG BEACH, CA.
July 12 - The Long Beach All-stars faced a tough Lynwood team in their tournament opener, as they sent Soloman Williams to the mound. He responded brilliantly, pitching 5 innings and allowing only 1 run on 56 pitches.
He was supported by an offense that got untracked after dealing with the 'Batter's Box' scandal. The Beach took a 3-1 lead after 3 innings based on consecutive hits by Matt Heavin, Brett Harper, and Daniel DeWolf, and Thomas Walker's RBI double over the CF's head.
The 4th inning saw Long Beach score 8 more times, and put the game away on Irie Elizalde's 2 run blast over the fence in LF. It was solid effort by the team, who must now wait to play against the winner of the Heartwell and Santa Fe Springs game tomorrow.
Our next game is Tuesday at 7:30 PM. Make sure you come on out!
July 15 - The much anticipated Heartwell vs. Long Beach match-up brought out a full house of spectators at Whaley Park on Tuesday night.
Long Beach fans did not have to wait long for good things to happen. Brett Harper led of the game and was hit by the pitch, a Daniel DeWolf single and a walk, loaded the bases with no outs for Thomas Walker. A passed ball scored Harper before Walker drove a long HR to right center for a 4-0 lead. Four more hits in the inning would extend the lead to 6-0 before Heartwell came to the plate.
On the hill for Long Beach was 6'4" Chase DeJong, who got into a bit of trouble after striking out the leadoff hitter, by hitting two batters in a row. But a ground ball and strike out would end the inning with no runs scored.
The second inning got off to a bang when DeJong sent a towering fly, long and far into the left field trees for a solo HR. The next 4 batters all reached base on a error and 3 walks before a pitching change was made. When play resumed, Matt Maccarrone worked a full count before blasting a Grand Slam HR over the CF fence! His hit was immediately followed by Matt Heavin's drive over the fence in left center and the Beach had a commanding 13-0 lead.
Heartwell tried to mount a challenge in the bottom of the 2nd, and pushed across a run before DeJong struck out 2 hitters with runners in scoring position to end the threat. There would be single Long Beach runs in the 3rd and 4th innings to make the score 15-1 as Cody Elder came in to pitch. With 2 outs, Tyler Liedholdt got a hold of one and drove it out for a 2 run HR, but the final out was then recorded on a grounder to Oliver Van Buskirk who threw him out to end the game due to the 10 run mercy rule.
Our next game is Saturday at 10:00 AM against Norwalk for the Section Championship.
July 19 - Long Beach captured the Section Tournament Championship with a 18-7 victory over Norwalk. With the win, LB advances to the Super-Regional in Whittier as the WEST #1 representative.
This game got off to another great start as Ty Provencher took the mound and shut the Norwalk bats down in the first. The Beach bats were hot from the start as Brett Harper singled, Daniel DeWolf doubled him home, and after a walk to Thomas Walker, Soloman Williams and Irie Elizalde would blast HR's. That left the score 5-0 Beach.
After another shutout inning, Williams drove home two more runs to extend the lead to 7-0. Things were looking good, when Norwalk mounted a rally, and with 1 out they got a hit batter, a single, and a walk loading the bases. A high fastball was driven over the wall in left, and the lead was cut to 7-4. Victor Martinez came in and shut down the threat, and Chase DeJong came up to bat in the bottom of the inning and doubled home two more runs to put the Beach up 9-4.
Once again, Norwalk came battling back as they scored 3 more times, and made this a ball game. In the bottom of the 4th, Long Beach would get a single run on Irie's 2nd HR of the game, and that was all. So the call was made for Soloman to come in and close the game down. And he did just that, getting a quick end to the top of the 5th. Back to work offensively, Chase (3B), Thomas (1B), and Soloman (2B) all stroked hits and scored to increase the lead to 12-4.
Soloman completed another scoreless inning on the hill, and up came the batters again. This time Chase blasted a monster 2-run shot, Thomas tripled, Soloman singled him home for his 5th RBI of the game, and Irie smacked another HR (his 3rd of the game) to end the contest at 18-7.
We play again on Tuesday night at 7:30 in Whittier against the SOUTHEAST #2 team - Redlands. Come on out and support us in this very tough Super-Regional.
Congratulations Long Beach players and coaches! Well Done!
PONY SUPER-REGIONAL TOURNAMENT – WHITTIER, CA.
July 22 - The first round of the Super-Regional produced a 'Super' game on Tuesday night as Long Beach battled against a very tough Redlands team. The contest featured two outstanding pitchers matching scoreless innings from the outset. Long Beach sent Soloman Williams out to start, and he proceeded to pitch a masterpiece. Williams pitched 7 shutout innings on 79 pitches, striking out 8 and allowing only 3 hits. Amazingly, when he was done the score was still tied 0-0. That was because Redlands' pitcher Kevin Stevens was equally as impressive through 5 innings, allowing only 2 singles.
However, Redlands made a pitching change in the 6th, and Long Beach showed a bit of life before stranding Brett Harper at third. With one out in the bottom of the 7th, Soloman battled deep in the count, and squibbed an infield single. This brought up Irie Elizalde, who swung and missed at a high fastball, before stepping out and refocusing on the next pitch. It was another high pitch that Irie was ready for, and he smashed a long drive deep down the left field line. The ball bounced off of the base of the fence 335 feet away, as Williams raced all the way home with the winning run, and a thrilling Long Beach victory!
Next up is Anaheim on Thursday night at 7:30 PM. Come on out and get your money's worth of baseball excitement! July 24 - Round 2 at the Super-Regional produced another tremendous game as Anaheim and Long Beach put on a great show for the cro