District 52 Little League is on a roll. The district that encompasses 14 Little League organizations in San Mateo County is one win away from sending a team to the West Regional in San Bernardino for the second straight year — one step away from the Little League World Series, which is comprised of the best 11-12-year-old all-star teams in the world.
Last year, it was the Belmont-Redwood Shores team that became the first District 52 team to advance to San Bernardino since the 1967 Ravenswood squad. With a win Thursday, Pacifica American can duplicate the feat.
With that being said, now is as good time as any to compare BRS and Pacifica. The comparisons between the two are pretty similar. Both went 5-0 in the District 52 tournament. BRS outscored its opponents 101-24, while Pacifica had a run differential of 68-17.
Both then went 3-0 in Section 3 play, posting identical scores of 36-7 over three games.
In Northern California state tournament action, aka Division 2, BRS suffered one of its only two defeats last summer, but rebounded to beat Santa Cruz twice in the championship series to punch its ticket to San Bernardino.
Pacifica, on the other hand, is still undefeated in Division 2 play and will have to be beaten twice in the championship series to be denied a trip to Southern California. Pacifica will play the winner of Mill Valley-Woodcreek, teams it has already beaten 12-0 and 14-6, respectively.
The biggest differences between the teams, however, is pitching and offense. BRS featured one of the best pitchers to come through the Peninsula in years in Sean Lee, who posted several double-digit strikeout games throughout BRS’ run last season.
Pacifica doesn’t necessarily have a pitcher who can post those kind of strikeout numbers, but they have several who are just as effective. Christian Falk is Pacifica’s big-game pitcher. He has closed out both the District 52 and Section 3 tournaments and expect him to get the ball Thursday in the Division 2 championship game.
The other big difference between the two is the batting lineup. While BRS had several players bat over .350 last summer, it relied more on stringing hits together to score its runs, with a smattering of home runs.
Pacifica has relied on the long ball this summer, having blasted 41 home runs in 11 games. That can definitely come in handy as it advances deeper into the playoffs. Having literally everyone in the lineup capable of knocking one out, Pacifica is never really out of a game. In fact, its propensity to hit dingers — and hit them early — puts early pressure on the opposition.
Regardless of the similarities and differences between the 2014 Pacifica American and 2013 Belmont-Redwood Shores Little League all-stars, there is no doubting both put together summers the players, coaches and parents will never forget.
San Mateo resident Brian Zelaya was named to the United States boys’ under-17 national team that will compete in the Open Nordic Tournament beginning Monday in Denmark.
An incoming junior midfielder, the 5-7, 140-pound Zelaya is a full-time player with the De Anza Force Soccer Club. He was selected to the U17 Spring Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida at the beginning of 2014. Earlier this month, he was one of 38 players called into the U17 national team camp before being named to the Open Nordic Tournament team.
With his spot with the U17 national team, Zelaya is in the mix to represent the U.S. at the U17 World Cup next fall in Chile.
A player was misidentified in the story “HMB beats depleted Tigers” in the July 22 edition. Ryan Cole scored 13 points for Menlo-Atherton in the Bears’ 64-31 win over San Mateo.