Colleen Bennett - Sotheby's International Realty

LITTLE LEAGUE ALL-STAR PLAY: There Was No Stopping La Verne in Claremont on Thursday Night

July 7, 2017
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Banner Boys: We’ve got the banner, and we’re not giving it up!

The La Verne 11-year-olds played like 21-year-olds, pitching their hearts out and blasting the ball all over Pooch Park in Claremont, defeating Glendora American 12-2 and advancing to the next round of playoffs to be held in West Covina.

Literally, from the first crack of the bat, La Verne signaled that it had come ready to play. After looking at two strikes, leadoff hitter Diego Vasquez hit a wedge shot worthy of Tiger Woods in his heyday that sailed over the centerfield fence for a home run to give his team an early lead while the La Verne faithful were still settling into their seats.

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In the bottom of the first, La Verne gave the run back on a throwing error and a heads-up running play by Glendora’s Brody Baeza. La Verne, however, would be far less charitable going forward. In fact, they would be downright stingy behind their stellar defense and the powerful right arm of their starter Andrew Alva.

In the top of the second, after sharp singles by Dan Munoz and Colton Perez, Robert Nelsen would drive home Munoz on a sacrifice fly to give La Verne a 2-1 lead.

In the top of the third, La Verne exploded for four more runs, pushing their advantage to 6-1. Jared Brunk got things started with a single. After Alva walked, Munoz doubled both runners home, and then Colton Perez drove home Munoz with a two-run homer. Nelsen also singled in the inning to continue the hit parade.

Somewhere under that heap of humanity, you’ll find home run hitter Diego Vasquez.

Oh, there he is …

In the bottom half, Glendora American added a run on pinch hit RBI by Jared Harper to narrow La Verne’s lead to 6-2.

La Verne responded right back in the top of the fourth with a one-out walk issued to Vasquez, followed by a single by Brunk. With runners on second and third, Alva drove in Vasquez on a fielder’s choice, and then Lopez singled home Brunk to put La Verne up, 8-2.

Sailing along 8-2 entering the sixth, La Verne added four more runs for good measure, the big blow coming on a three-run blast by Alva. Setting the table for him were Spencer Savage who led off the inning with a double and Vasquez who had singled. In the inning Lopez and Munoz also singled.

For the evening, La Verne racked up 15 hits, including three home runs and a pair of doubles, leaving little doubt this team was ready to move on and face new challenges outside its district.

“Every game has been great, but this one tonight was our best one,” said manager Kevin Duffield moments after La Verne unfurled its championship banner and took a victory lap around the outfield fence.

La Verne played superbly with their bats …

and their legs

and their arms.

To get ready for the game, Duffield said no special preparations was taken. “We stuck to our routine, nothing changed,” he said. “The boys did it all.”

As much as Alva impressed with his pitching and his bat, Duffield said his entire team played championship baseball. “I don’t like to single anyone out,” he said. “This is a team sport, from the coaches, to the parents, to the kids.

“We are comfortable taking any player and putting them in any position,” he added.

That new position will find the players in West Covina next week. Whether they continue to play like seasoned 21-year-olds or the 11-year-olds that they are remains to be seen.

Can’t wait!

La Verne’s performance was definitely worthy of a championship!

COVERAGE SPONSORED BY LONGTIME LA VERNE REALTOR COLLEEN BENNETT,

WITH SOTHEBY’S REALTY, 909.374.4744.

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