One has the unpredictability of a different champion since 2005, the other has a former juggernaut champing at the bit to get back to the top of the mountain.
Whichever District 52 tournament you choose to follow this weekend, it won’t be without its fair share of story lines — which should make for two weeks worth of exciting little league baseball.
Over in the 10-11 Minors tournament, 14 teams will battle to become the champion. Standing in everyone’s way is a Belmont/Redwood Shores team that will try to become the first repeat champion in the 10-11 field since at least 2005. Last season, Hillsborough came on strong near the end of the tournament and ran through the consolation bracket to face off against Belmont.
But behind Sean Lee’s masterful pitching performance, Belmont/Redwood Shores captured the title. Using a blazing fastball, Lee dominated a potent Hillsborough lineup. Lee allowed a check-swing double to Patrick Dudley to lead off the game and did not give up another hit. Hillsborough managed only one other base runner — Jack Damelio was hit by a pitch leading off the fourth — as Belmont captured the District 52 championship with a 3-0 win.
This year, the 10-11 double-elimination tournament heads to Red Morton Park in Redwood City. Foster City and San Carlos earned first-round byes and won’t begin their play until Sunday. Foster City awaits the winner of Palo Alto National and Redwood City West. They kick off the action Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on Kiwamis Field. San Carlos will face the winner of Hillsborough and San Mateo National. Those two will tangle at 2 p.m. on Mitchell Field.
Pacifica American begins its District 52 trek with a game against Palo Alto National at 9 a.m. on Mitchell Field. Menlo-Atherton will take on Redwood City East at 11:30 a.m. on Kiwanis. Over on the other end of Morton, San Mateo American and Half Moon Bay will do battle.
Alpin-West Menlo and the reigning champions cap off the day’s activity with a 2 p.m. game.
Over in the Majors 11-12 bracket, Hillsborough’s reign was interrupted by an upstart and flashy Foster City team that truly was the complete package last summer. It was the first time in five years a team other than the red and blue had captured a District 52 title.
It took a phenomenal pitching by Dominic Monozon and a pair of clutch hits for Foster City to beat Hillsborough 3-1 and capture their first District 52 Majors title in 20 years.
The road to Titletown wasn’t easy but Foster City sure made it look that way. In five games, the black and teal outscored their opponents 32-6 and had to beat the reigning champions twice.
In 2013, the two teams are slated on the same side of the 16-team bracket when play begins Saturday at the Belmont Sports Complex.
Foster City will take on San Mateo American in the day’s primetime matchup. Hillsborough has a 2 p.m. meet-up with Redwood City West.
Starting at 9 a.m., Menlo-Atherton faces off against the other Redwood City team, East, on complex No. 2. Belmont-Redwood Shores and San Mateo American play at the same time.
Pacifica National and Alpine-West Menlo have an 11:30 a.m. date and so do Ravenswood and Palo Alto National.
The 2 o’clock hour brings fans a San Carlos versus Half Moon Bay matchup on one end of the complex, and that Hillsborough versus Redwood City West game on the other.
The in-between hour of 4:30 p.m. sees Pacifica American and Palo Alto American welcome in the evening.
Hillsborough has won seven 11-12 titles since 2002. The last repeat champion besides Hillsborough was San Carlos National in 2002 and 2003.