The Foster City Warriors aren’t the kind of team to be intimidated.
After starting 4-0 in pool play during the Cal Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C. last week and falling 8-7 to the Margate Titans, the Warriors knew there was a chance to see that team again.
“That was our mentality,” said Foster City manager Jeff Aspillera. “That was our focus.”
A focused bunch of players describes the Warriors very accurately. While Aspillera said the team from Foster City took the Cal Ripken 11-under Ocean Breeze tournament as part vacation, part baseball, once the Warriors hit the diamond it was all business.
And Foster City certainly hit the ground running, mostly because its pitching was on point.
“I think our whole staff did well,” Aspillera said. “Everyone [who] took the mound did a good job.”
The numbers prove it. During the 4-0 start to the tournament, Foster City allowed just eight runs — good for second-best earned run average (2.00) in the entire field of teams. Not to mention, any pitching staff will look extra stellar if they’re getting a little more than nine runs a game worth of support.
“I always told the boys, if we score more runs than they do, we’re always going to come out ahead,” Aspillera said. “Our hitting definitely came through, but our pitching was the true testament of our team.”
After allowing five runs to LCB Legends in Game 1, that same staff went three games without allowing more than two runs.
But then came the Titans, who gave the Warriors everything they could handle.
“They matched up well against us,” Aspillera said. “They got a couple of breaks and that’s just the game of baseball. They just wound up ahead of us.”
The Warriors lost, but vowed to see, and test their skills against Margate again. But first, they needed to bounce back mentally. And they did just that in a close game against North Shore Prospects.
“We started playing small ball (in that game),” Aspillera said. “We mixed it up. We had some good base running.”
No one was better at that than Jeremy Chong, whose perfectly placed bunt and subsequent hustle down the line set up the eventual winning run in a 4-3 outcome.
That win set up what the Warriors wanted: a rematch with the Titans.
“The unfortunate thing was we spotted them six runs in the first inning,” Aspillera said. “We had to battle back. And we set the table late in the game with a couple of runners in scoring position, but at the end, we couldn’t get that key hit. It just didn’t go our way.”
Still, with the 10-8 loss to Margate, Aspillera said he was pleased with the way his team battled toward a 5-2 tournament record.
“A lot of people are saying we did well,” Aspillera said. “So that’s good to hear.”
Aspillera added the Myrtle Beach experience was good as a team building and community building experience for Foster City.
In more Foster City youth baseball news, the Riptide put together a winning effort at Cooperstown Dream Park in New York City this week.
“We were really happy with our result,” said manager Dan Ghiorso.
The Riptide went 4-3 overall at Cooperstown and saw their tournament come to an end in a 17-13 slugfest loss to the Denville Demons of New Jersey.
Before then, the Riptide had won two straight games by a combined score of 36-2. Overall, it was a good offensive tournament for the Riptide, who scored double-digit runs in all their wins.
Lastly in Foster City, the 8-under Fury A won a championship at the Foster City Tournament this past weekend.
The FC Fury boys played outstanding for six straight games, going undefeated in pool play then beating the West Coast Federals in the quarterfinal and Pacifica in the semifinal.
The tournament concluded in epic fashion with a walk-off win in the bottom of the sixth against the Peninsula Rays, 6-5.