Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Belmont-Redwood Shores second baseman Ryan Carbulludo cleanly fields a grounder to start a 4-6-3 double play in a 12-4 win over Pacifica American in the District 52 10-11 All-Star tourney.
The Belmont-Redwood Shores 10-11 District 52 All-Star team had its work cut out for it when it faced Pacifica American in Game 1 of the championship series at Kiwanis Field at Red Morton Park in Redwood City Tuesday evening.
Belmont-RWS has been in survival mode since an 11-10, second-round loss to San Mateo American, forcing it play — and win — six straight days.
Pacifica American, on the other hand, had breezed into the championship series, outscoring its opponents 29-5. Just as important, this Pacifica 10-11 team is comprised of many of the same stalwarts from the District 52 9-10 championship it won last year. Over the last two years, Pacifica American had been 9-0 in District 52 play.
Tuesday, however, behind a stellar pitching performace from Drew Dowd, Belmont-Redwood Shores handed Pacifica American its first loss of the 2013 tournament. Belmont-RWS broke open a 4-4 tie with an eight-run bottom of the fifth to post a 12-4 win and force a winner-take-all championship game at 5:30 p.m. today at Kiwanis Field.
“Why not us? That’s been our motto,’ said Belmont-RWS coach Tom McGuire. “It’s been an incredible ride. We’ve played six days in a row and we get to come back and play [today].”
Early on, it appeared Pacifica American was going to use the game as a coronation. It scored twice in the inning and tacked on two more in the second to take a 4-0 lead.
But Dowd settled down after that. After giving up four runs on five hits in the first two innings, the diminutive lefty allowed only two more hits the rest of the way.
“He’s the leader of this team. An incredible kid,” McGuire said. “He’s carried us. He battled.”
Pacifica American coach Steve Falk tipped his cap to Dowd.
“We hit the ball (well). A lot of balls right at them,” Falk said. “They made the plays. [Dowd] kept the ball down.”
As Dowd kept the Pacifica American bats at bay, the Belmont-Redwood Shores offense finally got its offense going. It tied the score with four runs in the bottom of the second. Belmont left the bases loaded in the third and were held hitless in the fourth before erupting for eight runs in the fifth.
Belmont-Redwood Shores scored eight runs on nine hits in the fifth and had back-to-back-to-back doubles from Dowd, Stevie Dong and Aiden Feeley as Belmont send 12 batters to the plate in the frame.Dong and Ben Fong had the big hits in the inning, with each driving in a pair of runs — Fong’s came on a long single in his second at-bat of the inning.
Dong, Fong and Logan Snow did the bulk of the damage for Belmont-Redwood Shores. Dong was 3 for 3 with two RBIs, a double and a run scored. Fond was 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Snow went 2 for 2, scoring two runs in the process.
Pacifica American was led by Justice Turner, who drove in a pair of runs with a first-inning, bases-loaded walk and then delivered a run-scoring single in the second. Andrew Harkness scored a pair of runs, while Nate Azzopardi also drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk.
“It’s huge to put an exclamation point (on a win),” McGuire said. “I think it sends a message.”
In other District 52 action, San Mateo National scored once in the top of the seventh to beat Foster City to capture the 9-10 District 52 championship.
San Mateo jumped out to a 4-0 lead with four runs in the second inning. It eventually stretched its lead to 5-1 before Foster City scored three in the bottom of the fourth to cut its deficit to 5-4.
Foster City then tied the score with a run in the bottom of the fifth.