The Goleta Valley South Little League Junior Division All Stars lost a 7-6 decision against South Pasadena in a first-round game of the Southern California State Tournament played in 100-plus degree weather in Norco on Tuesday evening.
South Pasadena rallied for five runs in the bottom of the seventh to overtake GVSLL. The winning ran came home on a balk call.
“The game started at 6:30 p.m. and it was still 104 degrees and the team played as hard as they could until the last ball was thrown close to 10 p.m. last night,” said GVSLL manager Rob Brennan, who added there were some questionable calls made in the game.
GVSLL took a 2-0 lead in the third as Diego Alvarez doubled in Josh Lopez and Jake Brennan scored on a passed ball.
South Pasadena tied the score in the fourth. GVSLL limited the damage by turning a double play.
GVSLL reclaimed the lead with four runs in the fifth.
Gunner Martinez opened the game on the mound for GVSLL. He surrendered one hit and three runs (one earned) over 3.1 innings, striking out six and walking three. Cruz Lorca finished out the game.
“Gunner and Cruz threw six great innings in some really tough weather conditions. It was extremely hot and they battled,” said Brennan. “The seventh inning was a tough inning for us to not close out with a win against a solid team.
“I could not be prouder of the kids for working so hard and to have a few calls and situations change the outcome for us after almost three and a half hours of playing. We demonstrated great sportsmanship and played the game with integrity and our boys should hold their heads up high.”
Alvarez, Chris Youngdahl, Kevan Vatan, and Josh Lopez each collected a hit for GVSLL. Alvarez led the team with two RBIs, William Wrenn drew three walks and Cruz and Wrenn each stole multiple bases.
The GVSLL is scheduled to play in an elimination game Thursday at El Cerrito Park in Corona.
The GVSLL members include: Jake Brennan, Diego Alvarez, Cruz Lorca, William Wrenn, Chris Youngdahl, Christian Martinez, Owen Carleton, Titus Fernandez, Kevan Vatan, Josh Lopez, Wyatt Mitchell, Gavin Miller and Kieran Ramaker.
The team is managed by Rob Brennan and coached by Brian Fernandez, Dan Carleton, Ray Lopez, Billy Wrenn and Ed Martinez.