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Goleta Valley 12U All Stars Stay Alive, Force Dos Pueblos to District 63 Final Game 2

Michael Luckhurst’s three-run homer leads GVSLL to 5-2 victory over DP

Goleta Valley’s Michael Luckhurst smacks a three-run homer duirng the second inning of Tuesday’s District 63 final against Dos Pueblos at Girsh Park. Click to view larger
Goleta Valley’s Michael Luckhurst smacks a three-run homer duirng the second inning of Tuesday’s District 63 final against Dos Pueblos at Girsh Park. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Trailing 1-0 early and facing elimination against their crosstown rivals, the Goleta Valley South Little League 12-under All Stars where in dire need of a clutch hit to springboard their own moral on Tuesday evening. 

Henry Manfredonia is greeted by his Goleta Valley teammates after hitting a solo shot on Tuesday evening.
Henry Manfredonia is greeted by his Goleta Valley teammates after hitting a solo shot on Tuesday evening. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

With a three-run blast in the bottom of the second inning that gave his team a 4-1 advantage, Michael Luckhurst did exactly that and more for GVS.

The home run eventually proved to be the difference for Goleta Valley South, as it kept their postseason alive with a 5-2 victory over Dos Pueblos at Girsh Park in the District 63 Finals.

“I kept on running because I didn’t think that it would go out but when I saw the ball go over, I was completely blown away,” Luckhurst said of his game-changing hit. “Overall, it feels really good to beat them.”

With GVS’ victory, the two squads will square off again today for a winner-take-all District 63 championship game at 5 p.m.

“Our kids have got a lot of fight in them and they weren’t ready for this to be over,” commented Goleta Valley manager Tony Sandoval. "They’re a good team and we match up well, so it should be a good one tomorrow.”

Leading the way for GVS (9-1 overall in the tournament) was Luckhurst, who went 1 for 2 with three RBIs and a run scored. Also contributing to the offense was Henry Manfredonia, who went 2 for 3 with a solo shot in the fifth.

Chase Hoover earned the victory the mound. He gave up two runs off two hits and walked five in four innings of work. The left-hander repeatedly fooled DP’s hitters throughout, striking out 11 on the day.

“If you don’t make mistakes, then you're not going to lose,” coach Sandoval added. “Today, our infield made all of their plays and Chase pitched a heck of a game."

Goleta Valley also got strong relief performances from Manfredonia and Jake Ristor. The pair didn't allow a hit in  two scoreless innings.

Henry Manfredonia tacks on an insurance run for Goleta Valley during a 5-2 victory over Dos Pueblos at Girsh Park. Click to view larger
Henry Manfredonia tacks on an insurance run for Goleta Valley during a 5-2 victory over Dos Pueblos at Girsh Park. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Dos Pueblos (7-2 overall) was led at the plate by Ryan Speshyock, who hit a solo home run in the second inning. Kellen Montgomery had a RBI double in the third.

Speshyock got the offense rolling with a straight shot over the center field wall for a 1-0 DP lead.

However, GVS immediately responded with four runs during the bottom half of the inning. Following back-to-back walks to Hoover and Gino Darke, Reagan Rivera cashed in with a RBI single. Two batters later, Luckhurst administered the knockout blow with a three-run blast to left field, increasing Goleta Valley's lead to 4-1. 

“Every Little League game has one big offensive inning that your defense must stop before the other team gets too far ahead,” Dos Pueblos manager Dan Brennan noted. “Unfortunately today, we weren’t able to accomplish this and we tip our hats to them.”

During the next inning, DP leadoff hitter Joe Talarico was struck by a pitch and advanced to second after Jackson Greaney was walked. With runners on first and second, Montgomery delivered with a RBI double that trimmed the deficit to 4-2. 

In the bottom of the fifth, Manfredonia added an insurance run for GVS with a mighty solo home run to center field. 

This meeting marks the third time that these two teams have played each other this All-Star season. Goleta Valley South currently holds a 2-1 advantage in the series following Tuesday's victory.

“Every year, it always seems to come down to these two teams and this great rivalry is a special thing for the community,” concluded coach Brennan.

— Noozhawk sports reporter Blake DeVine can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports and @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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