Terry Bernal/Daily Journal
Alpine starting pitcher Trip McKinlay went the distance in a four-inning, mercy-rule win over San Mateo National.
When Kyle Otis goes yard for the first time, he does it in style.
Alpine West-Menlo’s cleanup hitter entered the season never having hit a regulation home run. When Otis went deep for the first time in his career for his regular-season team, Morey’s, it was a grand slam.
Entering into Monday’s championship round of the District 52 10-11-Year-Old All-Star Tournament, Otis had yet to go deep in the tourney. But the slugger’s first homer was a crushing grand slam, highlighting a 13-run first inning as Alpine downed San Mateo National 13-3 in a four-inning mercy-rule game.
“It was a fastball low and I just swung low and it just carried out,” Otis said.
With the win, Alpine and San Mateo will rematch Tuesday at the Belmont Sports Complex in a winner-takes-all showdown. Alpine entered Monday’s game through the losers’ bracket, needing to twice defeat San Mateo. San Mateo was previously undefeated in the tourney.
Alpine sent 18 batters to the plate in the inning. In fact, Otis’ grand slam didn’t occur until his second at-bat of the frame. Otis — nicknamed the Flying Squirrel — initially got Alpine on the board with a bases-loaded single, which scored three runs after an error in the San Mateo outfield allowed Collin Galles, Trevor Wargo and Trip McKinley to cross the plate. Also tabbing two hits in the inning were Wargo and Harrison Carrington.
San Mateo pitchers walked four Alpine batters in the frame, including three of the first five batters.
San Mateo manager David Villar was optimistic after the blowout.
“When it’s more one-sided, it’s easier to swallow with a younger team than a heartbreaker,” Coach Villar said. “It was pretty much over after the first inning. That was one of the longest innings ever. But they’re kids, they’re resilient, they’re going to bounce back.”
Alpine starting pitcher Trip McKinlay did the rest, holding San Mateo to three runs through four innings to insure the mercy-rule win.
“We tried not to talk about it too much,” Coach Wargo said. “It was kind of like a no hitter. We didn’t want to jinx it.”
After Alpine’s first-inning explosion, there was some talk about taking McKinlay out of the game to save him for Tuesday. But Alpine decided to stay with the sturdy right-hander.
“With this (San Mateo) team, no lead is safe,” Coach Wargo said. “So, we wanted to keep our ace going.”
San Mateo’s Isaac Pineda continued his hot streak at the plate with a sacrifice fly and a solo home run. Pineda now has three homers in the tourney. Jason Villar added a solo homer for San Mateo.
In the District 52 Minors All-Star Tournament championship round, Pacifica American downed San Mateo American, 11-6. The two will face off Tuesday in a winner-take-all finale at La Entrada School.