The San Mateo American Majors All-Stars may get the last laugh after all as it waits to play either Danville of Castro Valley in the Section 3 tournament final Tuesday.
San Mateo American was looking forward to showing off their renovated facilities at Trinta Park in San Mateo during the Section 3 tournament, only to be told on the eve of the start of the tournament that their field did not meet regulations and the event would have to be moved to an alternate site.
The Distict 57 champion, Danville, filed a protest that the field at Trinta Park was not to regulation. After scrambling, SMA secured the fields at Marten’s Field — home of San Mateo National.
Steve Church, San Mateo American Majors All-Star manager, said the organization had spent the last several weeks sprucing up their facility. New coats of paint and general clean up had the team excited for the tournament and they were having a celebratory BBQ on the field Friday evening when the news came down the tournament would have to be moved.
“We spent thousands of dollars of our own money,” Church said. “It was them (Danville) looking for ways to disrupt our flow and get into our heads. I asked my son RJ, ‘Where would you like to play or do you care where you play?’ My son said, ‘I’m a baseball player. I’ll go play baseball wherever.”
Jason Gordon, who is the manager for SMA’s Intermediate All-Star team and whose wife, Robin, is running the Section 3 tournament, was aware of the field’s shortcomings, but it has never before been an issue.
“We knew [the field] was small,” Gordon said. “We had a walk through with the district umpires and they were OK with it. Turns out, we do not have an official waiver (for the field dimensions) with Little League. We thought it was OK.”
The American Majors All-Stars have not skipped a beat, however. It opened the tournament with a 5-3 win over Danville Saturday and came back Sunday with a dominating 13-0 win over Castro Valley.
Bennett Simon continues to mash for San Mateo American, hitting three home runs in Sunday’s rout of Castro Valley. He now has 10 homers and 34 RBIs through 10 tournament games so far this summer.
“He came out Game 1 hot and continues to be on fire,” Church said.
The San Mateo American Majors All-Stars will be the second team from the league to play for a title. The SMA Intermediate All-Stars made it to the championship game of the Northern California state tournament in Selma last week, but was denied the title Thursday by Sunnyvale.
“Sunnyvale had a great team,” Gordon said.
SMA was playing their sixth game in as many days and simply ran out of gas. Sunnyvale sent American into the loser’s bracket with a win on the opening day of the tournament, but SMA battled their way to loser’s bracket final, rallying from a 4-0 deficit to beat Mark West-Santa Rosa 6-4 to advance to the championship series.
“The semifinal against a really tough Mark West team was the highlight for us,” Gordon said.
Chase Gordon and Hugo Gomez combined to allow just three hits while striking out 14 for American. A number of miscues allowed Mark West to get out to a 4-0 lead, but RBIs from Chase Gordon and Riley Lim tied the game and Oscar Osuna doubled home two runs to give SMA the lead and send American to the tournament final.