FRANKLIN LOAN CENTER GAME OF THE WEEK: La Verne Has New Championship Banner to Wave

July 29, 2010
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It's been a banner year for La Verne's 11-year-old all-stars.

It's been a banner year for La Verne's 11-year-old all-stars.

Led by the arm and bat of Nick Peifer, the La Verne Little League 11-year-old all-stars squeezed out an 8-6 victory over Orange to win the Sub-Division III north tournament on Wednesday night, propelling the team into the state championships against the Sub-Division III south winner this Saturday at 5 p.m. at Homer F. Briggs Memorial Park in Ontario.

The win has capped an amazing post-season run for the 11-year-old all-stars from La Verne, who have swept the district, section and now sub-divisional Little League tournaments to land a berth in the state finals.

Everyone in the park knew that in meeting Orange a second time in the tournament, La Verne would face a much stiffer challenge than its initial 10-1 win over Orange two nights earlier. For one, La Verne ace AJ Woodall wouldn’t be on the hill, and two, Orange, having already faced La Verne, was sure to make some key adjustments.

Orange, however, had no answer for Peifer, who in his usual lead-off role, led off the game with a single, slapping a curve ball into right field. But then Orange’s Shane Darsow slammed the door, getting the next three batters in order to escape the inning unscathed.

In the bottom of the first, Peifer worked around an error and a walk, stranding two Orange runners and showing his trademark resolve of buckling down with runners aboard.

In the second inning, Darsow, who was so masterful in the first, battled his control, walking four batters and hitting another, which led to La Verne scoring three runs. Despite his bout of wildness, Darsow almost squeaked out of the inning, were it not for a two-out bases loaded single by Peifer, giving La Verne a 1-0 lead. Darsow then walked Nate Schneider and Anthony Cascarano to force in two more runs to put La Verne up, 3-0.


0203In the bottom half of the inning, Peifer worked around another error and a two-out single, once again frustrating Orange.

In the third, La Verne’s Nick Johnson hit a booming one-out double and came around to score on a double by Chris Spencer to tack on a fourth run.

Orange finally broke through with two runs in the bottom of the third on RBI singles from Michael Long and Brandon Ducheny. With half the game in the books, La Verne led 4-2.

That score didn’t last long, however. In the top of the fourth, La Verne scored four more runs, and once again it was Peifer who got things started with a bloop single to center for his third consecutive hit. Then Schneider fisted a ball up the first base line to leg-out an infield hit.

Nick Johnson was working hard to get La Verne the precious last outs his team needed.

Nick Johnson was working hard to get La Verne the precious last outs his team needed.

With Peifer at third and Schneider at first, things really started to get crazy. With Anthony Cascarano at the plate, Darsow delivered a pitch that momentarily squirted away from Orange catcher Esperanza. Peifer, seeing just enough daylight, bolted for home. Esperanza pounced on the ball and fired to Darsow who couldn’t hold the hot throw. Peifer’s daring dash put La Verne up, 5-2, with Schneider standing at third.

More chaos followed. After Cascarano grounded back to the pitcher for the first out, Orange intentionally walked AJ Woodall to put runners on the corners. Graydon Smith also nursed a walk to load the bases.

With the score a still manageable 5-2, Orange elected to bring in reliever Gavin Folsom, and the strategy almost worked. Johnson grounded to short, but William Meissner charging in from his shortstop position threw wildly across his body to home, allowing Schneider and Woodall to score. With two outs, Luke Grapentin singled in Smith for La Verne’s fourth run of the inning.

La Verne now owned a comfortable 8-2 lead.

But Orange started carving into that lead, a slice at a time. In the bottom of the fourth, Meissner hit a one-out homer to trim the La Verne’s lead to 8-3. After La Verne went quietly in the top of the fifth, Orange cut the lead to 8-4 on two-out RBI single by Esperanza.

La Verne was blanked again in the top of the sixth, but needing only three outs to claim the championship, and with solid reliever Nick Johnson on the mound holding an 8-4 lead, La Verne wasn’t about to trade its position.

Meissner led off with a solid single to stir the Orange partisans. Next, Connor Chase hit a sharp grounder to second, but there was Peifer, now playing second, staying with it and getting Case at first for the first out. Up stepped Darsow, hitting out of the three hole. He hit a shot to center that, had the ball had a little more trajectory, would have left the ballpark in a New York minute, but the sure-handed Jake San Miguel snared the liner for the second out.

Fans on both sides stood up, La Verne hoping for one more out, Orange hoping the game and its season would continue. Michael Long strode to the plate, a perfect two-for-two on the night with a walk to his credit. Sensing the moment, the big first baseman crushed a two-run homer to cut La Verne’s margin to 8-6.

Unnerved, Johnson struck out Folsom to give La Verne that precious third out and, more important, an opportunity to play in the state championship on Saturday. It had withstood Orange’s best shot.

“What can you say about our kids,” said Manager Kevin Smith. “They’re the breakthrough kids. They really came through.”

Smith, who had to serve a two game suspension for not properly substituting, was much relieved that his players continued to play well no matter who was managing.

“I felt a little funky,” Smith admitted. “I didn’t want to screw anything up.”

At this point in the summer, La Verne’s 11-year-old all-stars can do wrong – at least when they’re on the baseball field.

La Verne dog pile. Football season must be around the corner.

La Verne dog pile. Football season must be around the corner.

20 Responses to “FRANKLIN LOAN CENTER GAME OF THE WEEK: La Verne Has New Championship Banner to Wave”

  1. Great write up, you have been doing a great job following all these games! Thanks.

    Pat Smith

  2. rancho san diego
    July 29th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    pretty good to win without all your players. coach suspended for two games for cheating. good learning lessons.

  3. Nice Win La Verne! You boys have done an amazing job & deserve it!
    With all the preparation and official process surrounding Little League sanctioned play I am CERTAIN the ramifications from the league officials would have been much worse had “cheating” been involved vs. a simple coaching error. I am sorry to see that someone feels the need to take away from 11 year old boys celebrating the fruit of their labors! Little League baseball is after all about THE BOYS!

  4. I hardly doubt you’re from Rancho San Diego! The game was played and won on the field! Subs did get put in in the 4th inn!Unfortunaately, we only played 5 1/2 inn one missing kid was the next one up. Our boys did learn a lesson. People make mistakes…GET OVER IT!

  5. Nicely put BBallMom17!

  6. Rancho San Diego (AKA UNLL)

    The game is played on the field and that’s how the decision was made by Williamsport! Move on with your hate!

    Great job to the boys who just won their THIRD TOURNEY! Last team standing in the NORTH BABY!

  7. rancho san diego
    July 30th, 2010 at 4:47 am

    the poor kids you beat by cheating probably do not feel the same though.

  8. To know the details of the game would be key to making comments!
    No need to justify them further, obviously there is a lack of understanding!

    I hardly doubt the “poor kids” who ALSO played an amazing game would feel right to move forward on account of a technicality and not TRULY winning the game, after all the boys showed up to play the game of baseball, not games!

  9. Disctrict 63 fan
    July 31st, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    It is unfortunite that district 20 and Laverne Little League will have a tainted record and labled as cheaters.No matter how you try to explain “what Really Happened” the fact remains the same… Cheating is cheating.I noticed a La Vern players signing to the batter from second base. It is not illegal to do this but this isn’t classy either.

    You have a good team… why the antics?

    Good luck to both teams… but I hope Ranch San Diego teaches your coaches/team a lesson.

  10. It makes me sad to see adult bullies trying to publicly beat down 11-year old boys. But I guess if it makes you feel better….

  11. well you showed up with 13 and lost. what does that show? your district let you get away with one in sectional. i am glad your fans/families put your BOYS ahead of the other BOYS you beat by cheating. the other little leagues know about you and are rooting for you to lose. sad to see this is how you want to be known

  12. well 2-0 is a good start. one more to go. looking forward to the new write up about the loss but it is not up yet.

  13. WOW! This much hate for little league baseball and outcome of games?? It makes me extremely sad/uncomfortable to see grown men/women rooting for BOYS to lose… is one thing to have team pride and wish the best for your kids as we all do that as parents, ….I however have NEVER wished the worse for ANOTHER CHILD, that is true evil and you have just taken this to a very unfortunate level…….we are supposed to be their role models……

  14. This is for you know it alls! Get the facts straight then pop off!

    Diego Ramirez
    July 29th, 2010 at 9:40 pm
    For the record, the La Verne manager was suspended for two games but it was not for “intentionally not playing two of his players.” The player in questioned played 6 defensive outs (two consecutive innings), he was the lead-off hitter coming up in the bottom of the 6th inning that was not played due to La Verne being the home team and leading after 5 1/2. The fact is that there was only one player in question and yes, he did not bat prior to the game offically ending (therefore the suspension). Everyone has a right to voice their concern/opinion but it should be done with the foresight of providing correct informaiton and not editorializing on false information.

    District 63

    If you think picking up signs isnt part of the game, you know squat about baseball. Happens at every level! Learn the game before you pop off!

  15. I cannot believe you people! It’s one thing to be upset at the manager or coaches for an unfortunate error but it’s another to take it out on the kids. That goes as LOW as it can. Our kids don’t deserve this, they simply did what they do best and that is to go out and play great baseball. Everyone makes mistakes, hell the umpire yesterday made a huge mistake, but I don’t think that should be held against him FOREVER! The same situation came up in the 12 yr old District tournament where 2 teams didn’t play their subs and all those managers got was a slap on the hand NO SUSPENSION! I’m sure both of those coaches were trying to cheat and they should be harassed for it too, give me a break! GET OVER IT and let the kids play baseball!

  16. Proud to be LV Parent
    August 1st, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I want the word “cheating” to STOP!! If cheating truly happened the LV ALL STAR PLAYERS & PARENTS would have not wanted to continued to play, that’s not how we play. The scoreboard said it all, we were the better team. Also, with the many dozen District Officials at the games, dont you think if we cheated we would have been done right then and there. Grow-Up… it was not cheating! If you new any of our Coaches you would know that they play by the rules and want to win fair & square. WHICH WE HAVE! Yes we can admit are 1 mistake (DID YOU HEAR THAT, 1 MISTAKE) but to call it “cheating” is rediculous, USE ANOTHER WORD!
    GO LV ALL STARS! What ever happens, we are SO PROUD OF OUR 11 YR OLD SONS AND COACHES! What a wonderful experience this has been for them and your fans!

  17. The players won the game. The manager screwed up his subs. Little league made the call (the one that is in the rulebook by the way). The manager served his penalty. Get over it.

  18. At the end of the day, there was only two teams left in Southern California. All less doesn’t matter!

    Congrats to both teams representing their divisions! Its an opportunity and learning experience of a life time! Enjoy the moment!

    To all the haters, grow up and quit whinning! LMAO!

  19. I really feel very sorry for the so called adults that are writing to trash La Verne LL 11 year old All Stars. Yes,there was a non intentional coaching error made and it was dealt with. Get over it~it had nothing to do with the boys!! Both teams fought hard!La Verne beat us fair and square. Great job! We were rooting for you guys at State!

  20. Having been at the game between UNLL and LVLL 11 year old all-stars, I would first like to say congratulations to BOTH teams. You both played a fantastic game. La Verne All-Stars won the game fair and square and anyone that has ever played the game of baseball wants to win the game on the field. The one player that did not bat was not the reason La Verne won the game. The people that are bashing the kids for one mistake made by the coach need to stop. The game was and is about the kids and not about you. I salute the La Verne 11 year old All-Stars on their fantastic season!!

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