San Mateo National bounced back Tuesday to win in dramatic fashion after a Monday-night thrashing at the hands of Alpine-West Menlo.
With the game tied in the sixth inning, San Mateo rallied in its final at-bat for a 6-5 win to capture the District 52 10-11-Year-Old All-Star Tournament championship at the Belmont Sports Complex. Cody Rafael had the game-winning knock, an infield single to plate pinch runner Moises Garcia with the go-ahead run.
Alpine rallied in the bottom of the sixth and saw the potential tying run reach scoring position with no outs. But San Mateo closer Jake Willerup set down the next three batters in order to notch the save. After a pair of strikeouts, the final out of the game was recorded on a groundout to shortstop Tyler Berkson, who fired across to first base to send San Mateo to sectionals.
Alpine won Monday via mercy rule after four innings thanks to a 13-run first inning rally to force a winner-take-all showdown. San Mateo wasn’t feeling the effects Tuesday, however, according to manager David Villar.
“If they were, they didn’t show it,” Coach Villar said. “They are 11-year-old kids. They are resilient — short-term memory. It was very, very good that they were able to bounce back and bounce back so fast.”
Aside from the game-winning run, all the runs in the game were scored in the third inning. In the top of the third, San Mateo got on the board with a three-run home run by Willerup and went on to plate two more to go ahead 5-0. In the bottom of the inning, Alpine responded with five runs of its own. Trip McKinlay had the big swing of the bat for Alpine with a three-run bomb.
San Mateo’s Jake Kalaveras earned the win in relief after entering in the fifth to relieve starter Jack Yuretich.
With the win, San Mateo advances to the Section 3 tournament beginning Saturday in Union City. Last season as 10-year-olds, the team won the Section 3 Minors title.
“Hopefully we can repeat and go on to state,” Coach Villar said. “I think all off our pitchers are eligible to pitch. … We’re looking good going into sectionals.”