Staring at elimination, the Belmont-Redwood Shores 11-12 Little League All-Star squad showed why it has been one of the best in Northern California this season as it advanced to the Division 2 championship series with a 12-1 win over West Sacramento in the consolation bracket final Friday night in Roseville.
BRS will face Santa Cruz in Game 1 of the championship series at 11 a.m. Saturday. If BRS wins, there will be a winner-take-all finale at 11 a.m. Sunday. Santa Cruz is the only team to have beaten Belmont-Redwood Shores during the all-star season, handing it a 2-0 loss in the winners’ bracket final Wednesday.
Two wins over Santa Cruz would send BRS to San Bernardino for the West Regional, the winner of which advances to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
The first three innings against West Sacramento Friday night was a tight affair, with the team knotted at 1 after three. In the top of the fourth inning, however, BRS took control with seven runs. Noah Marcelo hit a three-run homer to put BRS up 6-1 and Nick Lopez, who was celebrating his birthday, followed with a solo shot. Sean Lee’s RBI double gave BRS an 8-1 lead.
For icing on his birthday cake, Lopez went deep again in the fifth, this one a three-run blast. Joining the home run party was Brad Shimabuku, who followed Lopez’s jack with one of his own.
In the bottom of the fifth, West Sacramento loaded the bases, but Shimabuku shut it down. Shimabuku pitched all five innings for Belmont-Redwood Shores. He allowed just one run on three hits and struck out six.
The San Mateo National 9-10 All-Star Little League team, on the other hand, saw its season end Thursday with an 11-7 loss to Los Gatos in the consolation bracket of the Little League Division 2 tournament in San Jose.
It was an especially bitter pill to swallow considering the Dawgs held a 6-2 lead. But Los Gatos scored nine runs in the top of the fifth inning.
“We kind of blew up,” said SMN head coach Dave Villar. “We were up 6-2 and just could not get an out (in the top of the fifth).”
After winning the District 52 championship and the Section 3 title, San Mateo National was shooting for a 9-10 state crown. There is no world series for the 9-10 division and because California is so large, there are two state champions — a Northern California champion and a Southern California champion.
San Mateo opened the Division 2 tournament with a 5-3 loss to Mill Valley in the first round, immediately dropping the Dawgs into the consolation bracket. They picked up their first win of the tournament, a 13-3 victory over Riverpark American Monday, before being eliminated by Los Gatos Thursday.