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Tuscarora Jr. Titans Varsity smashes Mt. Airy to defend MVYFL crown

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 by

The Tuscarora Jr. Titans Varsity defended their Mountain Valley Youth Football League championship by blasting Mt. Airy 34-6. The Jr. Titans Varsity had defeated Mt. Airy 6-0 in the regular season.

The win pushed the Varsity record to 12-0 for the 2011 season. Counting their 5 wins to close the 2010 season, the Varsity now has a 17-game winning streak in MVYFL play. The streak consists of 11 wins in regular season play and 6 wins in the playoffs.

Central Marin Chargers home to national cheerleading powerhouse

Monday, November 14th, 2011 by

National champs at work: Many of these girls are two-time national champions in competitive cheerleading. Building this stunt in practice are (l-r) flyers Katrina Murray, Christiana Toomey, and Sophie Baublitz. Forming the foundation are Destiny Buckhanan, Rachel Laereman, Alba Alvarado, Tammy Schott, Gwen Page, Channon Miles Saucer, Gabrielle Ficker, Julia Boro, and Clare Brodersen. Missing is Christine Hafner. SportsDashboards photo

There’s a controversy surrounding the sport of competitive cheerleading, but don’t tell that to the Central Marin Chargers cheer team, which has established a legacy of excellence.

The Cheer team, currently under the guidance of Aleshia Adams-Page, has been on a three-year roll. It began at Disneyland, in the U.S.A. Junior Nationals competition, where the Midget team won its division, only to be eclipsed by the Peewee team that not only won its division, but won the national grand championship as well. Two years ago, the Peewee team came in second at the JAMZ national championship in Las Vegas. This year, the Jr. Midgets won the JAMZ national championship in their division and the Jr. Peewees earned a second place.

SportsDashboards previously wrote about their achievements here and here.

This run of national prominence is being threatened as Page steps down as Cheer Director. Her daughter is graduating from the program, so Page’s last event will be the JAMZ national competition in January, where her Midget team will defend its championship. No one has come forward to assume the reins.
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Tuscarora Jr. Titan Varsity set to defend MVYFL title

Monday, November 14th, 2011 by

The Tuscarora Jr. Titans Varsity squad breezed past Gamber 44-18 to move into the Mountain Valley Youth Football League championship game, set for Saturday. Last year, the Titans had defeated Gamber in the championship game.

The Varsity will defend its championship against fellow Mountain Division member Mt. Airy, which nipped Middletown 14-8. The two teams met in the third week of the season, with the Jr. Titans eking out a 6-0 victory.

The Jr. Titans JV team fell one game short of defending their conference title when they lost to Mt. Airy 24-6. The JV team had defeated Mt. Airy 16-8 during the regular season and had won the championship last year by downing Mt. Airy in the finals.

Chargers Jr. Peewee defense answers the call but offense sputters

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 by

Chargers defend with gang tackles: Finn Weeks (49) and Jordan Halpern (81) close in on the Bronco runner from the left while Michael Burke (23), Jake Gammon (19) and Mason Cohen (55) converge from the right. Trailing the play are Alex Naqvi (2) and Max Harrod (44). SportsDashboards photo

The Central Marin Jr. Peewees met the Southern Marin Broncos for the second time in three weeks Sunday, and while the result was still a loss, 14-0, it was a much different game than the previous one.

In that game, the Broncos ran off to a 37-6 victory after leading at the half 14-6.

In this game, the score was 8-0 until midway through the fourth quarter. The Chargers made some adjustments on defense that kept the Broncos in check: they recognized that arm tackling and one-on-one tackles were not effective against hard running backs, so they resorted to an aggressive defense that featured gang tackling to bring down the Broncos runners.
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Yellow Jackets’ quest ends in overtime loss, Stingers also ousted

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 by

Workhorse: Keith Bradshaw scored all three Yellow Jacket TDs in their semifinal playoff game. SportsDashboards photo

The Novato Yellow Jackets fell just inches short in overtime in their Norcal semifinal playoff loss, 28-22, to the Southern Marin Broncos.

Overtime rules are different in American Youth Football, the body with oversight of the Norcal conference. Teams get the ball on the 25 yard line and have four plays in which to score. First downs cannot extend the drive. It’s four plays and then the other team gets the ball. The Yellow Jackets got the ball first and immediately handicapped themselves with two false start penalties, which meant that they had to go 35 yards to score in four plays.

Novato went to their bread-and-butter back, Keith Bradshaw. He reeled off runs of 9, 10, and 8 yards to move the ball to the 8 yard line with one play remaining. Again Bradshaw carried the ball. As with his other carries, he shucked off tacklers as he drove for the end zone. It took four Broncos to haul him down, just inches short of the goal line.

The Broncos made the most of their opportunity. Moses Johnson and Arturangel Lara made the going difficult for the Broncos, but that actually tells two stories. The first is the extraordinary effort the two defenders exerted to stem the tide. The second is the telltale fact that their tackles were being made in the defensive secondary, after Bronco runners had bolted through the defensive line. A quarterback sneak from the 1 yard line on the fourth play ended the contest.
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Tuscarora Jr. Titans teams take first steps toward title defense

Monday, November 7th, 2011 by

Two Tuscarora Jr. Titans teams are defending champions in the Mountain Valley Youth Football League and both took the first steps in defense of those crowns last weekend by winning their playoff games.

The Jr. Titan Varsity, winner of the Mountain Division and the only undefeated Varsity team in the league at 9-0, rolled past Walkersville 32-6 to earn a berth in the league semifinals. The JV team, which finished first in the Mountain Division with an 8-1 record, advanced with a 25-6 win over Boonsboro.

The Pony team lost to Gamber 14-6.

The Jr. Titan team playing in the Frederick Youth Football League finished their season in second place with a 7-2 record, with both losses coming at the hands of undefeated Middletown.

Chargers Jr. Peewees advance to Norcal semifinals

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 by

Stop right there: Jakari Anderson (27) stops the Novato runner during the Jr. Peewees shutout. Anderson scored a TD as well. Jack Naqvi photo

Charger playoff teams met with mixed results with the Jr. Peewees topping the Novato Killer Bees 14-0 to advance to the semifinals while the Peewees were shocked by the Novato Stingers 12-6 to end their season. In a bowl game, the Charger Cadets tumbled to the Bay Area Spartans 27-0. The Jr. Midgets trounced the Silicon Valley Tigers 38-18 in their bowl game.

Central Marin teams have been blessed this season with talented parents who have documented the progress of the teams with photographs that are available to all on Shutterfly. Maryann Cassidy has done a superlative job of documenting Jr. Midget games. Terrie Baum provided excellent photo coverage of the Jr. Midgets bowl game on the same site. The pictures of David Spitz capture the moment for the Peewee team. Jack Naqvi’s excellent work features the Jr. Peewee team.

Despite the score, the Cadets showed their mettle

Sometimes, courage and resolve are not enough to sway an outcome in your direction; and that was the case for the Cadets against the Bay Area Spartans.

The Chargers dug themselves an unbelievable hole in the first quarter, then played the Spartans to a standstill in the first half, trailing only 7-0 at the intermission.
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Stingers, Yellow Jackets advance in Norcal playoffs

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 by

Two-way threat: Sebastian Delgado (80) races toward the end zone for the Stingers' first TD. He snuffed the last Charger threat by intercepting a pass. SportsDashboards photo

The Stingers and the Yellow Jackets took opposite paths, but both ended up earning their way into the Norcal playoffs semifinals. The Stingers reversed an early season loss to the Central Marin Chargers, playing alert defense and just enough offense to gain a 12-6 decision. Offense was definitely not the problem for the Yellow Jackets, who hung 44 points on the San Benito Seahawks in a 44-28 conquest.

The Killer Bees distinguished themselves in defeat. In the first game of the season, they lost to the Central Marin Chargers 26-0. In the playoffs, they narrowed that gap to 14-0. The Mighty Bees struggled to the end against the Vacaville Bengals, losing 36-6.

The Mighty Bees got the mighty unfair playoff schedule
The Norcal conference has implemented both a local playoff system and a bowl system for postseason play. Many of the Division 1 teams enter the AYF playoffs, aiming to qualify for the AYF national championships. The local playoffs system is designed for the best teams that do not opt to play in AYF qualifying games. The bowl games are for teams who do not qualify for either playoff level.
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Vastly improved Central Marin Chargers prep for postseason play

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 by

In the pink: Many Central Marin Chargers and Southern Marin Broncos adorned their shoes with pink tape in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Chargers from the Cadet team are (l-r) Jack Greenwood (21), Dylan Johnson (20), Tristan McGirr (64), Lucas Siefert (66), Oscar Schott (88), and Griffin Rudy (51). SportsDashboard photo

The regular season is over and the report card on the Central Marin Chargers can be filed. It reads like this: all four teams have shown great improvement over the eight weeks of the season. Some players have made what seems like quantum leaps in their understanding of the game, while other players’ growth has been more modest; but to a man they’re better today than they were eight weeks ago.

All four teams took it on the chin from the Southern Marin Broncos Sunday. The Cadets lost 33-0, the Jr. Peewees lost 37-6, the Peewees dropped a 46-12 decision and the Jr. Midgets succumbed 28-6. Playing the Broncos, another Division 2 team in the Norcal conference, seemed like playing a Division 1 team. In each game, the Broncos dressed more players than the Chargers; at times the disparity was almost 2-1.

The results should not obscure the strides the Chargers teams and players have made. And there’s always the possibility that postseason action may give the Jr. Peewees and Peewees a chance to reverse Sunday’s outcomes.
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Tuscarora Jr. Titans sweep Catoctin, await makeup games

Monday, October 24th, 2011 by

Rain is about the only thing that’s slowed down the Tuscarora Jr. Titans this season. The Varsity and JV teams lead their Mountain Divisions and the Pony team is second.

The Jr. Titans teams closed out their regular season schedule Saturday at Catoctin and turned out to be unwelcome visitors, taking all three games. The Varsity stretched its unbeaten record to 7-0 with 52-6 victory. The JV advanced to a 6-1 record with a 38-7 win. The Pony team moved its record to 4-3 with a 26-0 shutout.

The teams await makeup games with Boonsboro and South Hagerstown. Playoffs begin in two weeks and the results of the makeup games are needed to firm up the seedings.

Defense key to Chargers Peewees win over Division 1 Vallejo Jaguars

Thursday, October 20th, 2011 by

TD Machine: Dominic Martinez scored two touchdowns and intercepted a pass. David Spitz photo

by Tom McCallister
The Chargers Pee Wee team played the Vallejo Jaguars, a Division 1 team from the East Section, who entered the game with a 1-5 record. The Chargers played their best game of the season and the head referee went out of his way to compliment the team on how disciplined they were throughout the game.

The Chargers got the ball first and the Martinez-McCallister offensive tandem immediately went to work. Dominic Martinez took the first carry 15 yards to the 50. Brady McCallister took the next run 20 yards to the Jaguars 30. Then, McCallister hit Martinez on a 20-yard pass to the 10. McCallister got them to the 5 and then Martinez capped the 5-play, 65-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring run.

On defense, Ethan LeValley and William Huggins played well at the defensive ends, containing their outside threats throughout the game.

On the Jaguars offensive first series, McCallister recorded a 7-yard tackle for a loss and then intercepted the ball on the next play and returned it 20 yards to the Jaguars 10 yard line. On the next play from the offensive side of the ball, McCallister scored on a tough run up the middle. The score was 12-0 Chargers after just 5 1/2 minutes of play.

The defense continued to corral and dominate the Jaguars, who did not get a first down the entire game. Jason Gabianelli was instrumental at outside linebacker, with solid tackling and great pass protection.

Common sight: Ethan LeValley (22) got plenty of kickoff practice against Vallejo. LeValley and William Huggins (24) anchored the Charger defense from their defensive end positions. That's Charles Feldman (77) on the right. David Spitz photo

The Jaguars went 4-and-out on their next series, again due to great contain play by the Chargers defensive ends. The Chargers took over on the Jaguars 30 yard line, and Martinez scored on the next offensive play for the Chargers, a 30-yard inside reverse, which was well-blocked by TE Charlie Williams and guard, La’Ron Cook. Martinez went untouched for the first 25 yards and then put a nifty cut-back move on their top defender at the 5 yard line to score. McCallister converted the 2-point, kicking PAT to put the Chargers up 20-0 with 9 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.

On the Jaguars next series, they ran two unsuccessful plays and then cornerback Charlie Williams intercepted a 3rd down pass at the Jaguars 45 yard line. However, the Chargers immediately fumbled the ball back to the Jaguars. However, the Jaguars offensive was victimized by excellent solo tackles for no gain on consecutive plays by McCallister and Cook. McCallister recorded an 8-yard sack for a loss on 3rd down. The Jaguars let their frustration get the best of them by compounding their woes with a personal foul at the end of the play, which pushed them back to their own 30 yard line. Their 4th-and-20 pass attempt fell incomplete in front of two Charger defenders who blanketed the play.

The Chargers sputtered a bit and shot themselves in the foot with a very untimely penalty on the next drive and were not able to get the ball in end zone before the half expired.

Versatile: Charlie Williams (42) had an intercepted pass and was an effective blocker from his tight end position. Coming in from the left to run interference are Jesse Alonso (5) and Benjamin Reese (95). That's Ethan LeValley (22) on the right. David Spitz photo

The Jaguars started with the ball in the 2nd half, but Martinez intercepted their 3rd down pass. On the Chargers first offensive play, Martinez ran it 20 yards to the Jags 35 yard line behind some key blocks by McCallister, LeValley, and Gabianelli. Huggins took the next carry down to the Jaguars 10 yard line. However, the Jaguars were down to 11 players and by rule one of their players had to leave for a play due to injury. The Chargers spiked the ball to allow the Jaguars to return their defense to full capacity. Unfortunately, the good deed was not rewarded and the Chargers were unable to punch it in from the 10.

However, two plays later, nose guard, Jesse Alonso stripped the ball in the end zone and McCallister recovered it for the touchdown. Samuel Spitz carried the ball on the extra point run to put the Chargers up 27-0.

The Jaguars again fumbled on their next possession, which William Huggins recovered at midfield. Thereafter, the Chargers allowed other players some time in spotlight running the ball and maintained possession with a methodical 50-yard drive that ended at the Jaguar 2 yard line as time expired.

TD Machine Part 2: Brady McCallister also scored two TDs, forming the other half of the dynamic duo with Dominic Martinez. In addition, he intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. David Spitz photo

This was not a walk-over victory that the score might indicate. The Jaguars had good, tough athletes who competed well to the end. However, the Chargers defense simply dominated the day forcing the Jaguars to commit 5 turnovers on their 6 possessions, which stymied the Jaguars throughout the day.

Chargers-Broncos rivalry renews on Sunday

Traditional rivals Central Marin and Southern Marin square off Sunday. The Peewees (5-2) face their Broncos counterparts (4-3) in a game that will determine top seed in the West Section playoffs. The Cadet game also has playoff seeding implications. The Broncos (5-2) top the standings and the Chargers (4-3) are in a three-way tie for second. Winner of the Jr. Peewee game will have top seed in the playoffs. The Broncos are 4-3 and the Chargers are 3-4. The Chargers Jr. Midgets (2-5) are in tie for fourth, behind the Broncos (3-4), who are in a three-way tie for first.

In other games last Sunday, the Chargers Cadets defeated the San Jose Saints (1-6) 26-6. The Chargers Jr. Peewees fell to Division 1 Oak Grove South (4-3) 26-2. The Chargers Jr. Midgets were not scheduled.

[Tom McCallister is the coach of the Central Marin Chargers Peewee team, father of quarterback Brady, and owner of a pair of shorts worthy of a place of honor in the Ugly Shorts Hall of Fame.]

Novato teams making progress despite the Richmond results

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 by

When the score is mounting against your team, it gets easy to lose perspective. Against the Richmond Steelers, the scores got uglier and uglier for the Novato teams as the games progressed. The Steelers won all four games handily, beating the Mighty Bees 31-6, topping the Killer Bees 40-6, besting the Stingers 34-6 and downing the Yellow Jackets 45-20.

The difficulties facing a Division 2 team like Novato when facing a Division 1 team like Richmond have been documented previously. Even though the American Youth Football rules attempt to level the playing field by placing age and weight limitations on the players at each level of competition, there still remains a huge advantage to Division 1 teams because they can draw from a larger population of potential players. In practical terms, most of the boys on a Division 1 team are at the upper limit of age and weight for their group, while boys on Division 2 teams will represent a wider range of age and weight.

Those factors weigh heavily on the outcomes when teams from the different divisions meet; but all is not lost for Division 2 teams. The Mighty Bees, Stingers, and the Yellow Jackets all have experienced success against Division 1 foes this year. Still, the manpower advantage was clearly demonstrated Sunday, as the Richmond teams each piled up five or more touchdowns.

The decisive nature of the scores Sunday should not obscure the fact that each of the Novato teams has demonstrably improved as the season has progressed. That improvement is what distinguishes the Novato program and certifies it as successful.
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Tuscarora Jr. Titans solidify status as top MVYFL Varsity team

Monday, October 17th, 2011 by

The Tuscarora Jr. Titans Varsity is the defending Mountain Valley Youth Football League champion, so you wouldn’t think that their bona fides needed confirming. But just as the Titans were undefeated in the Mountain Division, Middletown was was waltzing through the Valley Division with an unblemished record.

The two teams met Saturday and the Jr. Titans, now 6-0, are the lone undefeated team after drubbing Middletown 35-14. The Tuscarora JV team (5-1) solidified their position atop the Mountain Division by edging the Middletown JV (5-3) 8-6. The Jr. Titans Pony team (3-3) lost 24-6 to the undefeated Middleton Pony eleven (8-0).

The Jr. Titans have one more set of regularly scheduled games, to be played at Catoctin. Catoctin’s Varsity record is 3-5, the JV is 5-3 and the Pony team is 4-4.

In addition, there are possible additional Varsity make-up games to adjust for two rain-outs. The Varsity is tentatively scheduled to play Boonsboro (3-3) Wednesday and play South Hagerstown (6-1) sometime in the middle of the following week. South Hagerstown sits second to the Jr. Titans in the Mountain Division.

The Jr. Titan Varsity entry in the Frederick Youth Football League trounced the Packers 28-0 last week. They have a record of 5-2, both losses coming at the hands of the Middletown Knights. The Jr. Titans are in third place.

Central Marin Cadets chew up Vacaville Bulldogs

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 by

It was a mixed bag of results for Central Marin Charger teams against the Vacaville Bulldogs Sunday: The Cadets skunked their counterparts 14-0, while the Jr. Peewees dropped a 20-8 decision and the Jr. Midgets tumbled 26-7. The game scheduled for the Charger Peewees was cancelled.

All three Charger teams in action showed progress. The Bulldogs are a Division 1 team and they got all the football they wanted from the Division 2 Chargers.

This was an unusual series of games in that they were marked by two safeties. Safeties are not as rare as pink elephants, but they normally don’t come in clusters.

The day was made more fun by the boisterous Bulldog fans who traveled to Kentfield to support their team, along with a full complement of cheer teams.
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Jr. Titans sweep Gamber to set up clash with Middletown

Monday, October 10th, 2011 by

Tuscarora Jr. Titans teams swept their tilts with Gamber last weekend, allowing only one touchdown in three games.

The Pony team won 13-0, the JV won 22-8 and the Varsity won 34-0.

The Varsity win sets up a meeting of undefeated teams when the Jr. Titans, the defending Mountain Valley Youth Football League champion, faces Middletown. The Jr. Titans are 5-0 atop the Mountain Division and Middletown is 7-0 and leading the Valley Division.

There are no undefeated JV teams in the MVYFL. The Jr. Titans, defending MVYFL JV champions, have a record of 4-1 and lead the Mountain Division. Middletown is second in the Valley Division at 5-2.

The Jr. Titan Pony team has a record of 3-2, good for third in the Mountain Division. Middletown is 7-0 to lead the Valley Division Pony standings.

The MVYFL meeting of Tuscarora and Middletown has a subtext developed in the Frederick Youth Football League. The two organizations entered Varsity teams in the FYFL this year for the first time and have met twice, with Middletown winning by a touchdown both times, 28-22 earlier in the season and 26-19 last week. Tuscarora sits third in the FYFL, but they handed the second-place Colts their only defeat, a decisive 34-13 decision.

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Novato Yellow Jackets win unofficial Marin County youth football title

Thursday, October 6th, 2011 by

Ganging up on Broncos: The outstanding Yellow Jackets defense featured gang tackling. Here 6 Yellow Jackets converge on the ball carrier with John Hernandez Mira (20) making the initial hit. Others are Riley Wilmott (23), Nader Afrakhan (21), Brock Funke (22), Christian Richter (45), and Keith Bradshaw (28). SportDashboards photo

There’s no trophy for being the best Jr. Midget team in Marin County, but if there were, the Novato Yellow Jackets would own it after their 15-6 win over the Southern Marin Broncos. The Yellow Jackets previously bested the Central Marin Chargers 33-6, making them 2-0 against the other two Marin squads. (Read about the other Novato teams here.)

The first half of this game, which ended with the Yellow Jackets leading 8-6, would have pleased the most persnickety football connoisseur. These were two teams that knew exactly what they wanted to do and were very good at doing it. How effective were they? The second quarter featured only two possessions. The Broncos opened the quarter with a drive that ended in a touchdown and the Yellow jackets held the ball the rest of the period.
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Novato Stingers look like a different team

Thursday, October 6th, 2011 by

New defensive intensity: Mark Paige brings down a Bronco runner as Matthew Stutzman (40), Colton Carry (19), and Joseph Hudson (28) converge. SportsDashboards photo

The Novato Stingers dropped a 33-6 decision to the Southern Marin Broncos Sunday. The final score doesn’t tell the story. It was a completely different Stinger team from the one that took the field earlier in the season.

This Stinger team ran with purpose and attacked with attitude. The coaches had taught them how to read offenses before the snap. The players embraced the new knowledge and perfected the techniques. They gained the confidence on defense that they were doing the right things and that confidence carried over to the offense.

This was a game that was 7-6 at halftime and there didn’t seem to be an advantage for either side. The Stingers unleashed an effective passing attack behind Maxwell Kehs’ arm. And the defense bottled up the Broncos’ patented sweeps. (Read about the Novato Yellow Jackets game here.)
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Central Marin Jr. Midgets explode for big win over Silicon Valley Tigers

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 by

Dousing the coach: After their first win of the season the Jr. Midget Chargers followed tradition by dousing a coach, in this case assistant Bill Hurley. Next to Hurley is Michael Cassidy (25). Maryann Cassidy photo

A season of near misses ended for the Central Marin Chargers Jr. Midgets when they lambasted the Silicon Valley Tigers 37-13.

It’s probably true that no team deserved a breakthrough win more than these Chargers. After a rocky first game against Novato, the defending national Jr. Midget champions in American Youth Football Division 2, the team has improved every week. But after the prior week’s heart-rending loss to San Benito, when the Chargers absolutely dominated the fourth quarter but fell short, 20-14, it seemed that all their hard work might never be rewarded. Working hard and doing your best are rewards in and of themselves, but it’s always nice if those traits are ratified by the scoreboard.

The Jr. Midgets are the last stop in Central Marin football. The players will move from this team to their high school team. They’ve been leaving a legacy in grit and determination. And now, by their example, they’ve also shown the upcoming players that hanging in there and being team oriented pays off.

An interesting facet of the Jr. Midget season has been that they have been the best team on the field at the end of every game except the Novato contest. Whether you can attribute this to coaching, conditioning, heart, or adrenalin, it has been the case in every prior week that the team has been on the short end of the scoreboard, but they’ve never been outclassed on the field.
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Tuscarora Jr. Titans JV back in first place after postponement

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 by

The rains fell in Maryland, causing postponement of the Tuscarora Jr. Titans matches at South Hagerstown. Even though inactive, the Tuscarora JV squad moved to the top of the JV standings in the Mountain Division of the Mountain Valley Youth Football League.

The promotion in the standings came courtesy of arch rival Mt. Airy. Their JV team topped previous leader Catoctin 34-6. Because of two postponements, the Tuscarora JV team has a record of 3-1. Mt. Airy and Catoctin trail with records of 4-2.

The rain wiped out the matchup in the Varsity section between the leaders in the standings. Tuscarora remains on top with a 4-0 mark, while South Hagerstown stays at 4-1.

Next week, The Jr. Titans play at Gamber, a Valley Division club. The Pony team (2-2) meets the 3-2 Gamber team. The JV matchup puts the Jr. Titans, 3-1 and leader in the Mountain Division against a Gamber team than is 4-1 and second in the Valley Division. The undefeated Jr. Titan Varsity plays the 2-3 Gamber Varsity.

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Stop that boy … by rule if all else fails

Friday, September 30th, 2011 by

11-year-old Demias Jimerson is so good, an Arkansas youth football league applied a rule aimed specifically at him.

As reported by Rivals High, a part of Yahoo, Jimerson is so dominant that he scored 7 touchdowns in one game. And he’s only a sixth grader. So the league implemented a rule that had been used once previously. It bans Jimerson from scoring if he has already scored three touchdowns and his team leads by 14 points or more.

You can read the full Yahoo story here. The video included with the story shows Jimerson scoring at will.

To keep up with the latest Sports Stories “Like” the SportsDashboards page on Facebook or “Follow” us @SportsDashboard on Twitter.

Sports Stories is a service of SportsDashboards. SportsDashboards saves Athletic Directors and League Presidents time by bringing all registration, payment and communication online with easy to use web Dashboards for Coaches, Players and Parents. Click on the SportsDashboards icon in the top right corner to learn more.

Novato Mighty Bees trounce Oak Grove Central; Stingers upset Oak Grove West

Thursday, September 29th, 2011 by

Mighty Bees win a laugher: Here the Bees defend against the Palo Alto Knights. Mack Carter (16), Josh Ball (21), Michael Pina (55), and Gavin Herrera (53) pursue the runner. Ball, Pina, and Herrera each scored against Oak Grove Central SportsDashboards photo

The Division 2 Mighty Bees took down their second Division 1 opponent Sunday, routing Oak Grove Central 33-0.

The Mighty Bees (3-1) have the best record in the Cadet Division of the West Section and Oak Grove Central has yet to win a game; but there was still that Division disparity to take into account. The Mighty Bees weren’t fazed. They ripped Central’s defense for four touchdowns in the first quarter en route to a win that ended with the teams playing under mercy rules.

Scoring offensive touchdowns for the Mighty Bees were Michael Pina, Kardari Gambles, Jake Rutledge, and Josh Ball. Gavin Herrera stripped a Central ball carrier, grabbed the ball and raced for a defensive TD.

An easy victory provides the players with the chance to explore positions other than their normal spots. This could uncover hidden talents and certainly leads the players to better appreciation of what their teammates face. The bench players get extended minutes.
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Central Marin Cadets and Peewees win handily; Jr. Midgets edged

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 by

It was a travel week for the Central Marin Chargers. They played teams from three different organizations at two locations. Three of the teams played at San Juan Batista. The Cadets handled the San Jose Sharks 19-6. The Peewees dominated San Benito 28-0. The Jr. Midgets fell just short, 20-14, against the San Benito Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Jr. Peewees were ambushed at Elk Grove, 19-0.

The Cadets introduce themselves to the end zone

It’s been a difficult season for the Cadets. They went scoreless through their first three games. The Cadets erased all memory of that futility with their first possession. Taking the kickoff on their own 30 yard line, they moved directly down field behind the running of Jack Greenwood and Daniel Burke, with Burke going the final 22 yards to score.

From the Sharks’ point of view, Greenwood and Burke were a dynamic duo. Greenwood was the chief mischief maker, skirting the right side of the offense. When the Sharks overshifted to halt Greenwood’s progress, Burke would scoot around the left side.

This was the first complete Charger Cadets drive of the year and it looked like this: Greenwood carried twice for a first down. Burke pushed the ball into San Jose territory for another first down. After a penalty pushed the Cadets back, Greenwood carried four consecutive times to achieve another first down. Then Burke went in for the score.
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Tuscarora Jr. Titans end home schedule with a flair

Monday, September 26th, 2011 by

The season is only half complete, but a schedule oddity had the Tuscarora Jr. Titans finishing their home schedule in the Mountain Valley Youth Football League last weekend.

The Jr. Titans faced FSK and they gave home fans plenty to cheer about. The Pony team won 26-0, the JV racked up a 46-0 victory and the Varsity rolled to a 63-7 win.

For the Pony team, the win evened their record at 2-2. They stand third in the Mountain Division, trailing Mt. Airy and Catoctin, each with a 4-1 record.

The JV team advanced their record to 3-1. They trail Catoctin (4-1) in the Mountain Division. Their only loss has been at the hands of Walkersville (5-0), the Valley Division leader and the only undefeated JV team.

The Jr. Titan Varsity, the defending MVYFL league champion, remained undefeated at 4-0. They sit atop the Mountain Division standings, ahead of South Hagerstown (4-1). Middletown, the Valley Division leader, is also undefeated at 5-0.

The Jr. Titans play at South Hagerstown Sunday. The clash of the two top Varsity teams in the Mountain Division should bring some clarity to the top of the standings. The other two games are not as dramatic: the South Hagerstown JV team is 2-3 and their Pony team is 0-5.
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Novato Jr. Midgets drub Palo Alto Knights

Friday, September 23rd, 2011 by

Great Start! The Novato Rumble Bees got things off to a good start against Palo Alto. Defensive tackle Owen Walewander eludes three blockers to make the sack. Be sure to catch the video of their touchdown pass that accompanies their story. SportsDashboards photo

The Novato Yellow Jackets aren’t the defending national AYF Division 2 Jr. Midget champions for nothing and they proved that decisively Sunday with a 39-26 trouncing of their Palo Alto Knights counterparts.

Overall, this figured to be a tough day for the Novato teams, which play in Division 2 of the Norcal conference. Palo Alto is a Division 1 team. The significance of the different divisions is that Division 1 teams generally draw from a bigger pool of players, which usually means bigger rosters and, on average, advantages in speed and size. AYF imposes age and weight limitations to try to even the playing field, but the ability to attract more players tilts the field in favor of the larger programs.

Bigger rosters played a significant role in Sunday’s games, which were played under clear skies and a hot sun. The cry of “Water” was heard often and with intensity. The Knights, boasting larger rosters, were able to substitute more freely and more easily keep their players hydrated. Until the Knights met up with the Yellow Jackets, that advantage was palpable.
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For the Central Marin Chargers, losses should not obscure progress

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 by

First strike: The Jr. Midgets put the Steelers on notice by taking an early 6-0 lead. Maryann Cassidy photo

The Norcal scheduler did the Central Marin Chargers no favors this season.

The Chargers had to open against Novato, a Division 2 opponent, but one that sent two teams to the national AYF playoffs last year. One of those teams, the Yellow Jackets, won the Division 2 Jr. Midget national championship. Then they faced two straight Division 1 foes, the Oakland Dynamites and the Richmond Steelers.

In the Charger-Oakland post, we explained the challenges facing Division 2 teams playing Division 1 opponents. And those difficulties obtained against Richmond as well: the Steelers teams were faster, more powerful, and had deeper rosters. Richmond prevailed in all four games. The Steeler Cadets won 28-0, The Jr. Peewees won 39-12, the Peewees won 37-6 and the Jr. Midgets won 26-12.
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Tuscarora Jr. Titans Varsity remains undefeated

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 by

The Tuscarora Jr. Titans Varsity took care of business with a 34-0 whipping of invading Walkersville.

The Jr. Titans (3-0) are the Mountain Valley Youth Football League defending champions and look to be the class of the Mountain Division again this year. Walkersville (2-2) is one of the stronger teams in the Valley Division, but their Varsity team offered little resistance.

It was a different story in the JV game, where both teams entered the fray undefeated. The Jr. Titans (2-1) are the defending MVYFL champions, but Walkersville (4-0) squeaked out a 25-24 win. The Walkersville Pony team (3-1) also triumphed, downing the Jr. Titans Pony squad (1-2) 19-6.

The Jr. Titans will next host FSK in their final home game of the season. Their last four games will be on the road. The FSK Pony and JV teams are each 0-3 on the season, while the Varsity team is 1-2.

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SportsDashboards salutes: Novato Youth Football players who earned academic recognition

Monday, September 19th, 2011 by

Novato Youth Cheer spices up the Tiny Mites and Cadets games.

Novato Youth Football is part of the national American Youth Football organization. AYF puts an emphasis on scholarship as well as athletic prowess.

If a student does not maintain a passing average, he or she cannot participate in football and cheer activities. This is not quite the wink-wink rule that it is in some high schools and colleges, where superior athletes are passed through the system with sufficient grades to remain eligible.

Because AYF groups have no close ties to schools, the students actually have to earn their grades because of their scholarship, not because of their contribution to a school team. That means that inclusion on this NYF list of students recognized for academic achievement carries far more weight than a similar list would carry from many high schools or colleges.

SportsDashboards salutes the following students for their classroom achievement. Students are grouped by the team they play for. Pictures of Novato Cheer teams adorn this story because these students deserve to be cheered.

Rumble Bees (Tiny Mites)
Dylan Burness
Bryce Callahan
Cameron Changeux
Haroute Giragossian
Brett Huser
Hunter Smith

Mighty Bees (Cadets)
Joseph Bailey
Ryan Dolan
Logan Ebenal
Christopher Falvey
John Griffin
Reed Hall
Kyle Kelly
Conor Mack
Isaiah McGrue
James Rutledge

Killer Bees (Jr Pee-Wee)
Brad Arata
Angel Camacho
Jack Carlson
Bailey Denton
Maxwell Grabovac
Jayden Herrera
Matthew Hudson
Caleb Jerinic Brodeur
Luisangel Lara
Michael Obukhov

The older cheer team roots for the Stingers and Jr. Midgets.

Stingers (Pee-Wee)
Colton Carry
Mario Corral
Conor Elliott
Matthew Foley
Joseph Hudson
Maxwell Kehs
Joseph Lundberg
Julius Pelletier

Yellow Jackets (Jr Midgets)
Nader Afrakhan
Ryan Burness
Joshua Chable-Sasiu
Casey Denton
Justin Hemphill
Raynan Lack
Donald Preseley
Adrian Ramos
Christian Richter
Riley Wilmott
Vincent Toberman

Cheer
Grisselle De Leon
Krystal Gutierrez
Emma Huser
Julia Christina Schulman

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Novato’s Mighty Bees trim Vacaville Bulldogs 7-6 in Cadet contest

Thursday, September 15th, 2011 by

The Novato Youth Football teams trekked to Vacaville Saturday to play the Bulldogs in Norcal conference play as part of the American Youth Football program. Novato came away with one victory in four games. That’s not a bad outcome, considering that Novato is a Division 2 program playing against a Division 1 team.

The Mighty Bees won the Cadet contest 7-6 when the Bulldogs were thwarted in their point after touchdown attempt. The Bulldogs scored first. The Mighty Bees seemed to contribute to their own downfall, committing several penalties. It is not uncommon for young teams to commit infractions.

But good young teams find ways to overcome penalties and that was the story for the Mighty Bees. They never quit trying and finally broke through with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. They pushed across the extra point and then held off the Bulldogs to secure the victory. The win left the Mighty Bees with a 2-0 record. That establishes them as the only undefeated Division 2 Cadet team in the West Section of Norcal. Two Division 2 teams remain undefeated in the East Section.

Novato was ever so close to coming away with a second win, as the Yellow Jackets, the defending AYF Division 2 national champions, put the fear of flying creatures in the Division 1 Bulldog Jr. Midget team before succumbing 33-25. The Yellow Jackets’ record of 1-1 matches the best Jr. Midget record in the West Section, where no team is undefeated. One East Division team carries an unblemished record.

The Jr. Peewee Killer Bees were overmatched by their Vacaville counterparts 32-0 and the Peewee Stingers dropped a 39-0 game to the Bulldogs. These outcomes are too common when Division 2 teams play against their bigger Division 1 rivals. AYF sets age and weight limitations to level the playing field, but the Division 1 teams draw from a larger pool of prospective players. The Killer Bees and Stingers are each off to 0-2 starts this season, but the Stingers represented Norcal at the AYF nationals last year and figure to be a presence before this year is out.

Sunday, the Novato clubs will again face a Division 1 foe when the Palo Alto Knights come visiting. The 10 a.m. clash between the Mighty Bees and the Knights features two undefeated teams. The games begin at 9 a.m. with the Rumble Bees and Knights in a Tiny Mites fray. The Knights’ Jr. Peewee team is also undefeated, while their Jr. Midget and Peewee teams are each 1-1.

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Jr. Titans fight off Mt. Airy challenge; confront Walkersville next

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 by

The Tuscarora Jr. Titans are learning that when you’re the defending champion, there’s just no end to the challenges for your title. The Jr. Titans Varsity and JV teams won the Mountain Valley Youth Football League championships in 2010, establishing them as the teams to beat this season.

Last week, the challengers came from Mt. Airy, a team that was second only to the Jr. Titans last year.

It was last year redux. The Jr. Titan Varsity edged the Mt. Airy Varsity 6-0. The JVs also won by a touchdown, 16-8. The Mt. Airy Pony team, which went undefeated last year, topped the Jr. Titans 15-0. The wins kept the Tuscarora Varsity and JV teams undefeated and atop the Mountain Division of the Mountain Valley Youth Football League.

This week, Walkersville, one of the Valley Division powerhouses, will invade. The Walkersville JV is undefeated, while their Varsity and Pony teams both have 2-1 records.

To keep up with the latest Sports Stories “Like” the SportsDashboards page on Facebook or “Follow” us @SportsDashboard on Twitter.

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Central Marin Chargers run into Oakland juggernaut

Monday, September 12th, 2011 by

Central Marin Chargers Peewees (in white) converge on an Oakland Dynamites runner. Players were Anthony Pomilia (44), Finley Cronin-Hughes (62) and Dominic MacLean (50). All four Chargers teams were hard pressed by the Division 1 Dynamites. SportsDashboards photo.

Mama said there’d be days like this.

Central Marin sent four Charger teams onto the Oakland Dynamites field Saturday, but not one of them were able to penetrate the Dynamites’ end zone.

That result could not be totally unexpected. Oakland is a Division 1 team in the Norcal region of American Youth Football, while the Chargers are a Division 2 team. Oakland draws from a much larger population. That was never made more apparent than in the Cadet game, where the Dynamites dressed nearly 30 players while the Chargers dressed about 15. AYF keeps the playing field level by limiting the ages and weights of players who can compete in each category. But Oakland’s ability to draw from a larger talent pool was telling on Saturday.

One of the benefits of selecting from a larger population is that the Dynamites have been able to infuse all of their teams with exceptional speed. In football, an advantage in speed in generally decisive. That was certainly the case Saturday as the Dynamites Jr. Peewee team topped their Charger counterparts 34-0, the Dynamites Peewees won 33-0, the Dynamites Cadets won 33-0 and the Dynamites Jr. Midgets won 13-0.
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Tuscarora Jr. Titans sweep Brunswick in their opening games

Thursday, September 8th, 2011 by

Rain may have postponed the Tuscarora Jr. Titans opening day of the Mountain Valley Youth Football League season, but Titan teams wasted no time exerting their dominance on the second week of the season against Brunswick.

The Titan Varsity A triumphed 36-7, the Junior Varsity romped 56-0 and the Pony squad eked out a 7-0 win. The Brunswick teams dropped to 0-2 after being swept the prior week by Middletown.

Varsity A, coached by Randy Cole, is the defending MVYFL champion. The Varsity program is primarily for boys who are 13-14 years old with no maximum weight limits. Players over the 150 lb or 135 lb weight limits depending on age are considered “red stripers” and must play on the line.
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Marin County rivals split four games on AYF opening day

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 by

The Central Marin Chargers and Novato Youth Football squared off on opening day of the Norcal Conference of American Youth Football. Every game was won decisively, as the organizations split the four games played.

In the Junior Midget division, defending national champion Novato Yellow Jackets trimmed their Central Marin counterparts 33-6. Junior Midget teams include players 12 years and under, with a weight limit of 140 lbs., or older lighter 13 year olds with a weight limit of 120 lbs.

In the Peewee division, the Chargers, which showed strength in this division in 2010, shut out the Novato Stingers 24-0. The Stingers competed in the AYF national tournament in 2010. The Peewee division includes players 11 years and under with a weight limit of 125 lbs., or older lighter 12 year olds with a weight limit of 105 lbs.

The Chargers also dominated the Jr. Peewee game, topping the Novato Killer Bees 26-0. The Jr. Peewee division includes players 10 years and under with a weight limit if 110 lbs., or older lighter 11 year olds with a weight limit of 90 lbs.

The Novato Mighty Bees stung the Chargers 32-0 in the Cadet division. The Cadet division includes players 10 years and under with a weight limit of 110 lbs., or older lighter 11 year olds with a weight limit of 90 lbs.

Central Marin does not sponsor a Tiny Mites team, so the Novato Rumble Bees were idle.
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National AYF champion Novato Youth Football expands its program

Thursday, September 1st, 2011 by

Novato Youth Football has a tough act to follow as they prepare to open their season Sunday against the Central Marin Chargers. Last year, NYF sent two teams to the American Youth Football championships and the Novato Yellow Jackets came home with a national championship in the Division II Jr. Midget tournament.

The Yellow Jackets stomped the Westchester Raiders 30-0 to earn their way into the championship game against the Jets of Harlem. That game was knotted at 14-14 at the end of regulation. The Jets got the ball first in the tie-breaker period and scored to make it 20-14, but missed the extra point. After three failed attempts to tie the game, the Yellow Jackets were tempting karma big time as they faced fourth down from the 12-yard line. A Hail Mary pass into the right corner of the end zone connected to tie the game and the kick for the point after was good to give Novato a 22-20 victory. That ending will definitely be a tough act to follow this year.

The Pee Wee Novato Stingers also qualified for the year-end tournament. They had the misfortune to draw into the bracket with the eventual champion Marana Broncos. The Stingers were ousted 28-22 by the Yonkers Gladiators, who ended in third place.

In 2010, Novato fielded five teams in the Norcal Youth Football and Cheer conference. This year they will add a Midget team, which should benefit from players stepping up from the national championship Jr. Midget team.
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Central Marin Chargers open AYF season Sunday

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 by

The Central Marin Chargers will be fielding four teams this season in Norcal Youth Football and Cheer, a league in the American Youth Football organization.

Central Marin teams had a fair portion of success in the 2010 season and are looking to improve on their standings in 2011. In 2010, the Charger Jr. Midgets posted a record of 5-3, the Pee Wee team went 4-4 and the Jr. Pee Wee team had a 6-2 record. The Midget team went 2-6 as did the Cadet team.

This season the Chargers will field teams in the Jr. Midget, Pee Wee, Jr. Pee Wee and Cadet divisions. Art Penaflor will coach the Jr. Midget team; Tom McCallister will coach the Pee Wee team; Roy Leon will head the Jr. Pee Wee team; and Mike McGirr will coach the Cadets.

All four teams will be cheered by Central Marin’s award-winning Cheer teams. Headed by Aleshia Page, the Cheer squads have won two national titles recently, one in 2009 and one earlier this year.

The complete Charger schedule for the 2011 season:
Sept. 4 Novato
Sept. 10 at Oakland
Sept. 18 Richmond
Sept. 24 at San Benito (Jr. Peewee at Elk Grove)
Oct. 2 Sacramento Saints (Jr. Peewee and Cadets); San Juan Peewee; Silicon Valley Jr. Midgets
Oct. 9 Vacaville Bulldogs
Oct. 15 at Vacaville Bengals
Oct. 23 at Southern Marin

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Central Marin Cheer wins another national title

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 by

When it comes to cheer, the Central Marin Chargers have what it takes. SportsDashboards previously saluted the Chargers’ Cheer team for winning a national title in 2009.

Now it’s 2011 and they’re baaaack!

Actually it’s the 2010 edition of the Chargers’ Jr. Midget Cheer team that won the JAMZ national title.

Aleshia Page has led the Central Marin Cheer contingent for the past several years. Her innovative routines, so adeptly performed by her girls, are eye-popping in their complexity and score high with the judges. Even the best routines need the polish and discipline of the performers and Central Marin has been blessed with a bevy of athletic young girls who have prospered performing under Page’s direction.

The accompanying video is over 8 minutes. The first couple of minutes capture the Chargers’ winning routine. If you’re only interested in the Chargers, skip to the 5:30 mark in the video and see everyone’s reaction when Central Marin is declared the national champion. Sheer joy.

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Tuscarora Jr. Titans ready to defend Mountain Valley league titles

Monday, August 29th, 2011 by

The Tuscarora Jr. Titans had a good 2010 season, winning the Mountain Valley Youth Football Varsity and JV titles. Those achievements are chronicled here.

The Titans are ready to begin defense of those championships, opening their season Sunday at home against Brunswick. The Titans were scheduled to open their season Sunday, August 28, but Hurricane Irene had the final say and the result was a postponement.

The Titans will be fielding MVYF teams in five categories this season: Varsity, JV, Pony, Mini-Pony and Flag. For the first time, an additional Varsity team will compete in the Frederick Youth Football League.

The MVYF regular season schedule:
Sun, Aug 28th at Boonsboro (postponed)
Sun, Sept 4th Brunswick
Sun, Sept 11th Mt Airy
Sun, Sept 18th Walkersville
Sun, Sept 25th FSK (Taneytown)
Sat, Oct 1st at South Hagerstown
Sun, Oct 9th at Gamber
Sat, Oct 15th at Middletown
Sat, Oct 22nd at Catoctin

The MVYF playoff schedule:
October 31st DII BOWLS
Nov. 5th/6th 1st round playoffs at Pony Hosts
Nov 12th/13th 2nd round playoffs at Pony Hosts
November 19th Superbowls at GAMBER

The FYFL regular season schedule (all games played at McCurdy Field):
Sat, Sept 10th Lions
Tues, Sept 13th Knights
Sat, Sept 17th MSD
Sat, Sept 24th Colts
Sat, Oct 1st Knights
Sat, Oct 8th Packers
Sat, Oct 15th Lions
Sat, Oct 22nd MSD
Sat, Oct 29th Colts

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Huntington Beach, CA, wins the 2011 Little League World Series

Sunday, August 28th, 2011 by

In a game that lived up to its championship aura, Huntington Beach, CA, pushed across a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 2-1 win over Hamamatsu, Japan, to win the Little League World Series.

Huntington Beach became the second California team in three years to win the championship, emulating the feat achieved in 2009 by Chula Vista, CA. Overall, teams from California and Japan have each won seven LLWS championships.

Pitching was clearly front and center in this title contest. Huntington Beach’s Braydon Salzman went the distance, striking out nine while allowing only three hits. That effort was matched by Shoto Totsuka, who walked a thin line while allowing four hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. Totsuka reached his pitch limit of 85 pitches and was relieved by Kazuto Takakura, who took the loss.

The strengths of the teams were on display in the third inning when each team scored their first run. Hamamatsu opened the top of the third inning when Seiya Fujita singled. Kaito Suzuki ran for Fujita. Totsuka laid down a sacrifice bunt and was thrown out at first base. Suzuki never stopped running, rounding second and dashing toward third base. A wild throw permitted Suzuki to score. The lead was short lived. Hagen Danner led off the bottom of the third with a home run to right center.

Both teams put several runners in scoring position without scoring. Hamamatsu had rallies in the fourth, fifth and sixth but could never get a key hit. Huntington Beach had threats in every inning before finally scoring again in the sixth.

Salzman opened the bottom of the sixth with a walk. Dylan Palmer followed with a single. Danner’s ground ball was misplayed to load the bases with one out. Salzman was thrown out at the plate on Trevor Windisch’s grounder. That set the stage for Nick Pratto. Pratto was the winning pitcher the previous day when Huntington Beach topped Billings, MT, to earn the right to play for the championship. He slapped a single up the middle to score Eric Anderson, who had run for Palmer, with the winning run.

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The Little League World Series: Hamamatsu and Huntington Beach advance to the finals

Saturday, August 27th, 2011 by

Saturday was a day for fortune reversals as Huntington Beach, CA, and Hamamatsu, Japan, earned the right to face each other Sunday in the Little League World Series championship game.

In the United States bracket, Huntington Beach clubbed Billings, MT, 11-2 to avenge an earlier 1-0 loss. In the International bracket, Hamamatsu downed Mexicali, Mexico, 5-2 to reverse a 3-2 loss earlier in the tournament.

In the unique lexicon that is the Little League, the Huntington Beach-Hamamatsu clash is a rematch of last year’s championship game, even though neither team was in the LLWS last year. The Little League recognizes regions, rather than teams, and the matchups, both this year and last, pit the Japan region champion against the West region champion. Last year, Japan was represented by Edogawa Minami LL, Tokyo, Japan, who won the championship 4-1 over West region representative, Waipio LL, Waipahu, Hawaii.

Huntington Beach rediscovers its offense
After winning its first two games 11-0 and 10-0, the Huntington Beach bats were strangely silent in the next two games – A 1-0 loss to Billings and a 2-0 win over Clinton County, PA. But the bats woke up in the second game against Billings.

Hagen Danner opened the game with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Nick Pratto’s grounder. In the second inning, Ryo Takada was hit by a pitch and Dylan Palmer slammed a home run as the Californians scored more runs in the first two innings than they had in their last two games. Billings scored in the bottom of the second when Andy Maehl singled. A wild throw on a pickoff attempt allowed Maehl to advance to second base and an overthrow at second permitted him to score.

In the fourth inning, Pratto, the winning pitcher, doubled home Christian Catano and Justin Cianca to make the score 5-1. They added two more runs in the fifth as Braydon Salzman singled home a run and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Things really fell apart for Billings in the final inning when they surrendered four runs although Palmer’s single was the only Huntington Beach hit of the inning.

Cole McKenzie, a standout as a pitcher and at shortstop for Billings, drove a ball deep over the left field fence in the bottom of sixth for the final run.

Pratto pitched the first 5 1/3 innings for the winners, striking out 10 and allowing only three hits. Salzman and Trevor Windisch each got an out to close the game.

Huntington Beach was the runner-up to Waipahu, HI, in the West region last year and hopes to duplicate the feat of Chula Vista, CA, who won the 2009 LLWS.

Hamamatsu rides Suzuki to the win
Yoshiki Suzuki has been Hamamatsu’s best player. He leads the tournament in RBIs with 10 and is tied for the home run lead with 3. But against Mexicali, it was his pitching that dominated as he won his second game of the tournament. Suzuki scattered seven hits, surviving an early scare in the first inning, to lead his team into the championship game.

In the bottom of the first inning, Daniel Guillen singled and went to third on a single by Alonzo Garcia. That brought up Bruno Ruiz, who had singled to beat Hamamatsu in their previous meeting. But Suzuki induced a grounder that ended the threat.

Mexicali was outhit in this game, but it was some uncharacteristically poor defense that aided Hamamatsu’s hitters. In the third inning, Gaishi Iguchi led off with a single. Seiya Fujita followed with a double to drive in the first run of the game. Fukita then continued around the bases to score on a wild throw. It was more of the same in the fourth inning as Asuya Otsuka singled and was able to reach third base on a Mexicali misplay. Two outs later, Kaito Suzuki singled him in. Kaito Suzuki then scored on a double by Mitsuhiro Uchida to make the score 4-0.

Mexicali finally scored on Yoshiki Suzuki in the fourth inning. Garcia led off with a double and scored two outs later on a Hamamatsu error.

Both teams scored a run in the fifth inning. Yoshiki Suzuki led off with a single for the winners and eventually scored on Otsuka’s single. Jorge Jacobo, the losing pitcher, tripled home Carlos Arellano to make it 5-2. Jacobo was later thrown out at the plate to end the rally.

Hamamatsu goes into the championship game as the defending champion, because they represent the region of last year’s champion.

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Little League World Series – Day 8: The bracket finals are set

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 by

Huntington Beach, CA, and Hamamatsu, Japan, won berths in their respective bracket finals, setting up rematches of two of the best played games of the Little League World Series.

Huntington Beach will play Billings, MT, in the United States bracket final. In their previous meeting, Billings won 1-0 in seven innings, becoming the only team to score against Huntington Beach’s strong pitching. Hamamatsu gets a chance to avenge a 3-2 loss to Mexicali, Mexico, in the final of the International bracket.

United States bracket
Huntington Beach, CA 2, Clinton County, PA 0

International bracket
Hamamatsu, Japan 9, Maracay, Venezuela 6

How the games were won

Powerful pitching prevails
Huntington Beach has allowed only one run in four games and their pitchers did nothing Thursday to mar that record. Hagen Danner pitched the first 5 1/3 innings, striking out 12 while allowing only three hits. Braydon Salzman got the final two outs. Danner was also the hitting star of the game, banging out three of his team’s five hits, including a home run in the third inning to break the scoreless tie. The winners added an insurance run in the fourth inning when Christian Catano doubled and scored on a single by Ryo Takada.

Alex Garbrick, the starting pitcher for Clinton County, got two of his team’s four hits. Clinton County managed only one runner past first base. In the fifth inning Wyatt Koch singled and advanced to second and third on wild pitches. But he was stranded at third base.

The victory sets up a rematch for Huntington Beach with Billings, MT. Billings rode Ben Askelson’s home run to a seven inning 1-0 victory in their first meeting.

A barrage of big flies
Hamamatsu blasted three home runs on their way to the win over Maracay. Yoshiki Suzuki hit a pair of homers to drive in three runs and winning pitcher Kazuto Takakura clubbed a three-run homer. Hamamatsu opened the scoring in the third inning. Mitsuhiro Uchida singled and scored on Ken Igeta’s double. Suzuki followed with his first homer to make it 3-0. Takakura’s homer in the fourth made it 6-0. Suzuki opened the fifth inning with his solo shot for what proved to be the winning run. Hamamatsu added another run in the fifth when Takuya Okamoto walked, advanced on a single by Gaishi Iguchi, and scored on an error.

It looked like Hamamatsu had salted away the win with an 8-0 lead, but Maracay mounted a furious rally in the bottom of the fifth, scoring five runs to get back into the game. Numa Rodriguez and Keyber Cardozo opened the inning with singles. Yonny Hernandez walked to load the bases. Carlos Narvaez singled home Rodriguez and Cardozo and Hernandez scored on an error. Elio Narvaez homered to make it 8-5.

Suzuki scored on Iguchi’s single in the sixth inning for the winner’s ninth run. Maracay made one last push in the bottom of the sixth. Wilson Alvarez led off with a single. Cardozo singled him to second and Hernandez drove him in. That brought the tying run to the plate with only one out, but reliever Iguchi struck out the next two hitters to preserve Hamamatsu’s win.

Hamamatsu has followed the most difficult path to the finals of the bracket. Their loss to Mexicali, 3-2 in seven innings, in the second game sent them into the losers bracket, where they have had to play two more games than Mexicali to reach the finals of the International bracket.

Japan’s representative last year won the LLWS, so Hamamatsu, because it represents the same region, is technically the defending champion.

Friday is a day off, with the bracket winners decided in Saturday’s games.

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Little League World Series – Day 7: And then there were two

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 by

Wednesday was the day when the four remaining undefeated teams faced off. Pitching was the name of the game as Billings, MT, and Mexicali, Mexico, remained undefeated in two games that both went to extra innings. Solo home runs broke up both games.

United States bracket
Billings, MT 1, Huntington Beach, CA 0 (7 innings)

International bracket
Mexicali, Mexico 2, Maracay, Venezuela 1 (9 innings)

How the games were played:
We’re talking serial heroes with the bat in both games.

Ben’s big blow
Ben Askelson broke up the scoreless tie between Billings and Huntington Beach by leading off in the bottom of the seventh inning with a home run. That’s the same Ben Askelson whose two-run double led Billings to a 3-1 win over Lafayette, LA. Cole McKenzie pitched the first 5 2/3 innings and allowed the Californians only three hits. Sean Jones skated with danger in the final 1 1/3 inning, walking three but not allowing a run. Nick Pratto pitched well for Huntington Beach, striking out 9 in his four innings of work. Braydon Salzman hurled two scoreless innings before being touched by Askelson for the home run.

Huntington Beach loaded the bases in the second inning, but had Justin Cianca thrown out at the plate trying to score after a pitch got away from catcher Andy Maehl. Huntington Beach threatened again in the third inning when Hagen Danner led off with a single and moved around to third base, but his teammates couldn’t bring him home. Both teams moved a runner to third in the fourth inning without being able to score. Dylan Palmer led off with a single for Huntington Beach and reached third, but was stranded there. Billings’ McKenzie doubled in support of his own cause and Askelson moved him to third, but he was left there.

Jones flirted with danger in the top of the sixth when he walked two and hit a batter to load the bases, but he escaped unscathed. Patrick Zimmer doubled for Billings in the bottom of the sixth, but was thrown out at third trying to advance on a grounder to the right side.

Askelson’s homer in the seventh was the first run scored against Huntington Beach in the tournament and ended a string of 16 consecutive scoreless innings pitched by Huntington Beach hurlers.

Huntington Beach will play Clinton County, PA, for the right to challenge Billings for the United States bracket championship.

Bruno’s big blow
Bruno Ruiz homered in the ninth inning to break up a 1-1 tie that had existed since the first inning. It was Ruiz’s second game-winning hit. His single knocked in the winning run against Hamamatsu, Japan, in the seventh inning.

Mexicali scored in the top of the first when Jorge Jacobo reached base on an error and later scored on a single by Alonso Garcia. Maracay answered in the bottom of the first. Albaro Gaince was hit by a pitched and scored on Yonny Hernandez’s double. That was all the scoring until Ruiz homered in the ninth.

Mexicali got superb pitching from Carlos Arellano, who went the first 7 1/3 innings, allowing only four hits while striking out 11. He was relieved by Jacobo, who retired all five batters he faced to earn his second win of the tournament. Maracay starter Keny Marquez was equally effective in his six innings of work, yielding four hits while striking out seven. Wilson Alvarez pitched a scoreless inning. Hernandez, the Maracay hitting star with seven RBIs in three games, was touched for Ruiz’s home run during his 1 1/3 innings on the mound. Gaince pitched the final 2/3 of an inning.

Maracay threatened in the third inning when Keyber Cardozo tripled with one out, but was left stranded. In the bottom of the sixth, Maracay’s Elio Narvaez led off with a double and Hernandez was given his second intentional walk of the game. Mexicali’s second double play of the game ended the threat.

Mexicali mounted a threat in the top of the seventh. Alvaro Valdez singled and Kenet Delgado walked. With two outs, Arellano made a bid to win his own game with a single, but Valdez was thrown out at the plate trying to score.

Maracay will face Hamamatsu, Japan, to determine who will challenge Mexicali in the International bracket championship game.

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Little League World Series – Day 6: Two more teams bite the dust

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 by

The elimination phase of the Little League World Series continued, with two more teams knocked out. Wednesday’s games will feature the remaining undefeated teams squaring off.

United States bracket
Clinton County, PA 7, Warner Robins, GA 5

International bracket
Hamamatsu, Japan 4, Langley, Canada 0

Consolation game
Cumberland, RI 8, Rotterdam, Netherlands 7

How the games played out
The first inning had most of the fireworks in this game. Warner Robins opened the game with three runs that seemed to set the tone for the game. Logan Arnett and Austin Burnette singled. Josh Goodman tripled them both home and then scored on Jordan Hampton’s single. Clinton County responded with six runs of their own to essentially settle the contest before the first inning was over. Brandon Miller singled, Alex Garbrick was hit with a pitch and Talon Falls singled to load the bases with no outs. Landon Breon singled home two runs and Cole Reeder’s ground out drove in Falls with the tying run. One out later, Trebor Nicodemus singled home Breon to put the Pennsylvanians ahead for good. Mitchell Smith ran for Nicodemus and came around to score on a series of wild pitches. Mike Keibler walked and eventually scored when Miller, batting for the second time in the inning, singled him home. In the third inning, Smith singled and scored on Garbrick’s double to close out the Pennsylvanian’s scoring. Warner Robins closed to within two runs in the fourth when Jake Fromm, hero of the previous day’s nine-inning extravaganza, slammed his third homer of the series with Arnett on base. The Georgians loaded the bases in the fifth, but Tyler McCloskey came on in relief for Clinton County and struck out the next hitter to get out of the inning. Warner Robins put the tying runs on base in the sixth inning, but McCloskey again escaped without surrendering a run.

Three Hamamatsu pitchers combined for the shutout against Langley, with the second pitcher, Hiroyasu Sugiura, getting credit for the win. The winners slammed three extra base hits while scoring three runs in the third inning to break the scoreless tie. With two outs, Kazuto Takakura walked. Ken Igeta doubled to score Kaito Suzuki, who had run for Takakura. Yoshiki Suzuki doubled to score Igeta and came home on a triple by Asuya Otsuka. Hamamatsu’s final run came in the fourth inning when Kaito Suzuki singled and scored on Gaishi Iguchi’s triple. Langley put two runners on base in each of the first, third and sixth innings, but could never push a run across the plate. Nick Atkinson had three hits for the losers.

Unlike the Warner Robins-Clinton County game, where most of the fireworks came in the first inning, Rotterdam and Cumberland waited until the final inning to tee off, each scoring five runs in the sixth. Cumberland opened the scoring in the third inning when Ryan McCormick reached on an error and Jacob Glod tripled him home. Glod scored on a wild pitch. Cumberland added a run in the fourth when Max Hanuschak singled, went to third on a double by Christopher Wright, and scored on a wild pitch. Rotterdam retaliated with a pair of runs in the fifth to close the game to 3-2 and set up the wild finish. Bram Dolman and Tim van Toorn walked and Angelo Wicklert was hit with a pitch to load the bases. Phayson Antonia was safe on a fielder’s choice with Dolman scoring. Van Toorn scored when Darryl Jamoena was hit with a pitch. In the sixth inning, consecutive walks to Robert van de Koppel, Diamond Silberie, Christopher Gijsbers and Van Toorn pushed home the tying run. Wicklert’s sacrifice fly scored Silberie. Antonia then unloaded a three-run homer that seemed to salt the game away. But Cumberland had different ideas. Conner Mastin singled and eventually scored on Hanuschak’s single. Wright reached base on an error and Conor Lavallee singled to load the bases. Colin Cannata was hit by a pitch to force in one run and when James Belisle was safe on an error, two runs scored to tie the game. Cannata then scored the winning run on an error.

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Little League World Series – Day 5: The field is reduced to half

Monday, August 22nd, 2011 by

Another four teams took it on the chin, cutting the field in half. The undefeated teams – Huntington Beach, CA, and Billings, MT, in the United States bracket, and Mexicali, Mexico, and Maracay, Venezuela – had Monday and Tuesday off while the rest of teams struggled to stay alive … each facing elimination with a loss. Monday’s results:

United Stated bracket
Warner Robins, GA 8, La Grange, KY 5 (9 innings)
Clinton County, PA 10, Lafayette, LA 0 (4 innings)

International bracket
Langley, Canada 5, Ching-Tang, Taipei 3
Hamamatsu, Japan 13, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 4

Consolation game
Oranjestad, Aruba 5, Rapid City, SD 0

How the games played out:
Warner Robins scored five runs in the third inning to take a quick lead over La Grange. The Kentucky squad, facing elimination, battled back to tie the game in the fifth inning and two relief pitchers, Jake Fromm for Warner Robins and Travis Faith for La Grange, matched pitch for pitch until the ninth. Fromm pitched 4 1/3 innings of shutout ball and delivered the three-run homer in the ninth that sealed the game. Faith and Griffin McLarty homered for the losers. Warner Robins will meet Clinton County, PA, Tuesday in an elimination game. La Grange was eliminated.

Clinton County’s Landon Breon and Brandon Miller combined to pitch a no-hitter against Lafayette in a game shortened to four innings. He benefitted from a huge offensive outburst, with Clinton County scoring three runs in the first inning and seven more runs in the second. Breon, the winning pitcher, helped his own cause by driving in three runs. Alex Garbrick and Wyatt Koch each drove in two runs. Miller, who got the last two outs of the game, led off the game with a home tun. Lafayette’s tournament is over. Clinton County faces Warner Robins Tuesday in an elimination game.

Langley, Canada, and Ching-Tang, Taipei, waged a fierce battle in their elimination game. Langley jumped on top with two runs in the first inning and another in the second inning, only to see Ching-Tang tally three runs in the third inning to knot the score. Langley pushed across an unearned run in the fourth inning to take the lead and winning pitcher Yi-An Pan provided the insurance run with a sixth inning homer. Ching-Tang was eliminated even though they outhit Langley 9-6; they were undone by errors. Chen-Tso Tseng had three hits for the losers; no one else on either team had more than one hit. Langley will face Hamamatsu, Japan, Tuesday in an elimination game.

Hamamatsu, Japan, broke open a tight game with Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, with eight runs in the sixth inning. The winners broke on top with three runs in the top of the second inning, thanks to a double from Asuya Otsuka, only to see Dhahran tally four runs in the bottom of that inning on doubles by Brandon Carswell and Jordan Hajazin and singles by Julian Kinney and Bradlee Sumner. Hamamatsu edged ahead 5-4 with two runs in the fourth inning, setting up the sixth inning explosion. Ryota Matsushita relieved for Hamamatsu in the third inning and shut out Dhahran the rest of the way to earn the victory. Sotaro Yoshida started the big inning with a solo home run and later singled to drive in two other runs. Dhahran is eliminated; Hamamatsu will face Langley, Canada, Tuesday in an elimination game.

In the consolation game, Gillian Wernet threw a four-hit shutout while striking out 12 for Oranjestad, Aruba. His performance was especially noteworthy because the Rapid City team had clubbed four home runs in their two championship bracket games. Albert Pop led the winners with two hits and drove in two runs.

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Little League World Series – Day 4: The winners take the field

Sunday, August 21st, 2011 by

The winning teams from the first two days of the Little League World Series were pitted against each other on this day. The results:

United States bracket
Billings, MT 3, Lafayette, LA 1
Huntington Beach, CA 10, La Grange, KY 0 (4 innings)

International bracket
Maracay, Venezuela 8, Langley, Canada 0
Mexicali, Mexico 3, Hamamatsu, Japan, 2 (7 innings)

How they reached this point
Billings, MT, won the Northwest Region. They defeated Rapid City, SD, in their first game, behind a four-run rally in the fourth inning. Conner Kieckbusch smacked a two-run single and winning pitcher Cole McKenzie cracked a two-run double. Kieckbusch quelled two Rapid City rallies with great defensive plays. Patrick Zimmer shut out Lafayette, LA, for five innings to get the win in their second game. Ben Askelson broke the scoreless tie with a third inning two-run double. Ian Leatherberry doubled home an insurance run in the 3-1 win.

Lafayette, LA, won the Southwest Region. In their opening game, they defeated Warner Robins, GA, 2-0. Brad Hines pitched five shutout innings. Haden Erbe relieved with the bases loaded in the sixth and retired the side to save the win. Tyler Miller got the key hit, a fourth-inning triple. He scored on a squeeze bunt. Against Billings in the second game, Erbe started and held the Northwest champs to two runs. But his mates were unable to instigate any rally as they fell, 3-1.

Huntington Beach, CA, won the West Region. They bounced Cumberland, RI, 11-0 in their first game. Braydon Salzman, the first of three pitchers contributing to the shutout, helped himself at the plate, driving in one run and scoring three runs. Hagen Danner went 2-4 with a triple and Trevor Windisch drove in three runs. Danner was the winning pitcher as they clubbed La Grange, KY, 10-0 in four innings. Nick Pratto and Ryo Takada each drove in two runs and doubled. Salzman and Jason Mayorga added two hits each.

La Grange, KY, won the Great Lakes Region. Pitcher Griffin McLarty did it all in their first game 1-0 win over Clinton County, PA. McLarty hit a first-inning homer for the only run of the game and proceeded to strike out 12. He benefitted from a strong defense that threw two runners out trying to score. Without McLarty on the mound, they didn’t fare so well against Huntington Beach, CA, losing 10-0 in four innings.

Maracay, Venezuela won the Latin America Region. They’ve had great pitching in both their wins, topping Rotterdam, Netherlands, 6-1 in their first game and shutting out Canada 8-0. Keny Marquez was the winning pitcher against Rotterdam. He benefited from the slugging of Omar Conoropo Jr., who hit a home run and drove in three runs, and Yonny Hernandez, who knocked in two runs. Jothson Flores was the first of three pitchers who combined for the 8-0 shutout against Langley, Canada. Hernandez came up big with the bat again, slamming two home runs and driving in four runs. Neil Prieto hit a solo home run.

Langley, British Columbia, won the Canada Region. They dug themselves a big hole in their first game, giving up a five-run inning to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, but stormed back to win 6-5 with the help of a four-run final inning. Cole Cantelon went 3-3 and drove in three runs to pace the Canadians. He also pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to get the win. They were completely stymied by the Maracay, Venezuela, pitchers in their 8-0 second game loss.

Hamamatsu won the Japan Region. Edogawa Minami LL, Tokyo, won the 2010 LLWS, so Hamamatsu is representing the region as defending champion. They lived up to that notice in their first game 12-1 drubbing of Aruba. Pitcher Yoshiki Suzuki hit a grand slam homer. Mitsuhiro Uchida had three hits and drove in three runs.

Mexicali, Baja California, won the Mexico Region. In their first game, pitcher Jorge Jacobo shut out the strong Ching-Tang, Taipei, team 3-0. It was the first time in 55 games that a Taipei representative had been whitewashed. Jacobo struck out 12 and helped his cause with a double, an RBI and a run scored.

The game of the LLWS (so far) Mexicali 3, Hamamatsu 2 (7 innings)
In 2010, the representatives of Japan and Mexico battled to the wire before the Japanese team triumphed. The renewal of this rivalry, with different teams representing the two regions, met expectations.

Hamamatsu scored twice in the first inning. Matsuhiro Uchido opened the game with a single and came around to score on misplays of Yoshiki Suzuki’s grounder. Kaito Suzuki ran for Yoshiki Suzuki and scored when Selya Fugita’s grounder was misplayed.

Mexicali evened the game in the second inning. Victor Bejarano doubled home Ulises Rodriguez with the first run. Kenet Delgado scored the tying run on Carlos Arrellano’s grounder.

Yoskiki Suzuki and Mexicali’s Alonso Garcia matched pitches from the second inning on. In the bottom of the seventh, Jorge Jacobo singled and came around to score on a single by Bruno Ruiz. The Mexicali win evened the score for last year’s defeat by Mexico’s team in the International bracket finals against the Japan team.

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Little League World Series – Day 3: A day of elimination

Sunday, August 21st, 2011 by

The double elimination facet of the Little League World Series took its toll Saturday as four teams suffered their second loss and were eliminated from championship contention. Rapid City, SD, and Cumberland, RI, dropped out of the United States bracket. Orengestad, Aruba, and Rotterdam, Netherlands, dropped out of the International bracket. Saturday’s results:

United States bracket
Warner Robins, GA 6, Rapid City, SD 3
Clinton County, PA 2, Cumberland, RI 0

International Bracket
Ching-Tang LL, Chinese Taipei 20, Orengestad, Aruba 3
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 4, Rotterdam, Netherlands 2

How the teams reached this point
Warner Robins, GA, won the Southeast Region. They were shutout by Lafayette, LA, in their first game (2-0), even though they left nine runners on base, They quickly remedied that shortcoming against Rapid City, scoring three runs in the first inning on Jake Fromm’s home run on their way to a 6-3 victory. Fromm drove in four runs and Logan Morris drove in two more. Pitcher Logan Arnett held Rapid City scoreless until the final inning.

Rapid City, SD, won the Midwest Region. They brought big bats to the LLWS, hitting four home runs in their two games. Erik Petry had two homers and Hayden McGriff added a homer in their first game loss (6-4) to Billings, MT, but all three came with the bases empty. After trailing Warner Robins throughout their second game, they put on a fierce last inning rally in an attempt to salvage their title hopes. McGriff knocked in one run and Brett Beyer slammed a two-run homer, but it was not enough as they lost 6-3.

Clinton County, PA, won the Mid-Atlantic Region. Just a short drive from the Wilmington, DE, site of the LLWS. Their fans packed the stadium to more than 40,000 spectators in each of their games. That vocal support failed them in their first round game against La Grange, KY. The Keystone team had two runners thrown out at the plate in their 1-0 loss. They struck early against Cumberland, RI, in the second game. Brandon Miller walked, to lead off the first inning, advanced on a wild pitch and a passed ball and scored on pitcher Alex Garbrick’s single. That was the only run Garbrick needed in the 2-0 win. Cole Reeder started the opener against La Grange and allowed a run in the first inning, so Clinton County pitchers now have a string of 11 scoreless innings as they move on.

Cumberland, RI, won the New England Region. Their bats went silent in the LLWS, falling to Huntington Beach, CA, 11-0 in their first game before being stifled by Clinton County, PA, 2-0.

Ching-Tang LL, Chinese Taipei, won the Asia-Pacific Region. They became the first Taipei representative in 55 LLWS games to be shutout when they lost their first game 3-0 to Mexicali, Mexico. They took their frustration out on Aruba in their second game, scoring 20 runs in a game abbreviated to four innings. Chi-Ling Hsu hit two doubles while driving in five runs. Chin-Hao Yang went 4-4, scored three runs and drove in two. Winning pitcher Yu-Kuan Wu went 3-3 with two doubles, scored three runs and knocked in two. He pitched three scoreless innings. Shih-Lung Chen added a home run.

Orengestad, Aruba, ran into two Asian buzz saws, dropping their first game to Hamamatsu, Japan 11-1, before suffering the 20-3 loss to Ching-Tang, Taipei. Endry Brito had an RBI in each game.

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, won the Middle East-Africa Region. In their first game, they took a 5-2 lead against Langley, Canada, then saw the Canadians rally for a 6-5 win. Tanner Beachy had an RBI double and subsequently stole home, but it was not enough. Dhahran jumped to a 3-0 lead against Rotterdam, Netherlands, and made it stand up in their 4-2 win. They scored two runs in the first inning without a hit as a walk and an error put the first two batters on base and Dylan Ell and Beachy followed with RBI groundouts. Tyler Wilkins relieved in the bottom of the sixth with the tying runs in scoring position and only one out and proceeded to strike out the next two batters to preserve the win.

Rotterdam, Netherlands, won the Europe Region. They were never able to mount the kind of offense needed to overcome Maracay, Venezuela, in the first game 6-1 loss or in their 4-2 defeat at the hands of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Against Dhahran, they fell behind 3-0, but closed the gap to 3-2 on a two-run double by Marijn Jeisma. They had the tying runs on base in each of the last two innings, but couldn’t push the runners across.

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Little League World Series – Day 2

Saturday, August 20th, 2011 by

The second day of the Little League World Series is complete. The results:

United States bracket:
Ocean View LL, Huntington Beach, CA 11, Cumberland American LL, Cumberland, RI 0
North Oldham LL, La Grange, KY 1, Keystone LL, Clinton County, PA 0

International bracket
Langley LL, Langley, British Columbia, Canada 6, Arabian American LL, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 5
Gran Maracay LL, Maracay, Venezuela 6, Rotterdam LL, Rotterdam, Netherlands 1

How the teams reached the World Series:
Langley LL won the Canada Region.
Arabian American LL won the MEA Region.
Gran Maracay LL won the Latin America Region.
Rotterdam LL won the Europe Region.

North Oldham LL, North Oldham, KY, won the Great Lakes Region after losing its first game in the regional tournament to the Ohio champions, West Side LL, Hamilton, OH, 6-0. They won their next three games to earn a semifinal berth, where they defeated the Michigan champion, Grosse Pointe Park LL, 8-0. That set up a rematch with West Side; and North Oldham reversed the previous decision, winning 3-0 to advance to the World Series.

Keystone LL, Clinton County, PA, went undefeated in winning the Mid=Atlantic Region. They shut out the New York champion, Great Kills American LL, Staten Island, 3-0. In the finals, they bested Paramus LL, Paramus, the New Jersey champion, 5-2 to earn their spot in the World Series.

Ocean View LL, Huntington Beach, CA, swept the West Region, going undefeated. In the semifinals, they downed Washington LL, Washington, UT, the Utah champion, 5-0. They survived a 2-1 pitchers’ duel to nip Red Bluff LL, Red Bluff, their Northern California rivals, to advance to the World Series.

Cumberland American LL, Cumberland, RI, had the most difficult time of any regional champion in winning the New England Region. They were shut out twice in the early games, 8-0 by Goffstown Junior Baseball LL, Goffstown, the New Hampshire champion and 3-0 by Fairfield American LL, Fairfield, the Connecticut champion. In the semifinals, Cumberland was again matched with Fairfield, but this time they prevailed by an 8-7 count. In the championship game, they outslugged Andover National LL, Andover, the Massachusetts champion, 13-7, to punch their ticket to the World Series.

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Little League World Series – Day 1

Friday, August 19th, 2011 by

The games of the first day of the Little League World Series are complete. The results:

United States bracket
Billings LL, MT 6, Harney LL, Rapid City, SD 4
Lafayette LL, LA 2, Warner Robins American LL, GA 0

International bracket
Seguro Social LL, Mexicali, Mexico 3, Ching-Tang LL, Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei 0
Hamamatsu Minami LL, Hamamatsu City, Japan 12, Aruba North LL, Oranjestad, Aruba 1

How the teams reached the World Series:

Seguro Social won the Mexico Region.
Ching-Tang won the Asia-Pacific Region.
Hamamatsu Minami won the Japan Region.
Aruba North won the Caribbean Region.

Billings, MT, won the Northwest Region. They lost their second game in the regional tournament to the Oregon champion, Bend South LL, 10-6. They won their next two games to earn a semi-final berth against Lewiston LL, the Idaho champion. Billings won 6-2 to earn a rematch with Bend South. Billings prevailed 7-1 to earn the World Series berth.

Harney LL of Rapid City, SD, also lost one game on the way to the Midwest Region championship. After clinching a semifinal berth, Harney lost 12-8 to the Minnesota champion, Centennial Lakes West LL. Harney downed the Missouri champion, Webb City LL, 7-2 in the semifinals and bested the Nebraska champion, Kearney LL, 4-2, to advance to the World Series.

Lafayette LL, Lafayette, LA, was undefeated in winning the Southwest Region. They defeated the New Mexico champion, Altamont LL of Albuquerque, 12-6 in the semifinals. Lafayette nipped Pearland Maroon LL, the Texas East champion, 8-7, to earn the trip to the World Series.

Warner Robins American LL, Warner Robins, GA, also went undefeated in winning the Southeast Region championship. They shut out the West Virginia champion, Fairmont LL, 7-0, in the semifinals. In the finals, they topped New Tampa LL, the Florida champion, 4-2 to advance to the World Series.

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Anthony Robles, NCAA wrestling champ, waxes poetic in ESPY speech

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 by

SportsDashboards previously detailed the story of Anthony Robles, the one-legged wrestler from Arizona State who won an NCAA wrestling title this year.

Recently, Robles was awarded the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2011 ESPY awards, sponsored by ESPN, the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports.” The ESPYs are fast becoming the sports world’s version of the Academy Awards and Robles’ honor was a particularly fitting one.

Jimmy Valvano, for whom the award was named, made an emotional appearance at one of the early ESPY shows while accepting the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Valvano was dying of cancer, but in his acceptance speech, he uttered the phrase that has resonated over time: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” With ESPN’s support, the Jimmy V Foundation has raised millions of dollars to support cancer research.

Robles made his own acceptance memorable, as you can see in this ESPN video clip, when he recited original poetry. The clip includes his poem, but we have reproduced it below.
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Playoff redux: bridesmaid role for Tamalpais and Kim Scarsella

Monday, July 11th, 2011 by

Tam pitching ace Kim Scarsella

It’s true. History does repeat itself, much to the chagrin of the Tamalpais High School softball team and their star pitcher Kim Scarsella.

We chronicled the success of the team last year as well as detailing the outstanding personal performance of Scarsella, who earned all-state honors. That season was marred by losing to the Redwood Giants in the Marin County Athletic League finals, followed by a heart-breaking loss to Bishop O’Dowd in the finals of the North Coast Section Division 3 finals, despite the no-hitter pitched by Scarsella.

Fast forward one year and it’s the same tune, second verse. Tam faced Redwood again in the MCAL finals and fell short as Redwood’s 11 seniors finished their high school career with league titles in all four years.

Tam’s foray into North Coast Section playoffs had a familiar ring as well. In the second round, they faced MCAL rival Terra Linda. After the regulation 7 innings, Scarsella had a no-hitter, but the game was tied. After 8 innings, Scarsella still had allowed no hits. Terra Linda finally managed a hit in the ninth that led to the winning run.

The country and western lyric goes, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” You could forgive Scarsella if she adopted it as her theme song.

She earned first team all-MCAL honors, a fitting follow-up to her sophomore year, when she was named the MCAL Pitcher of the Year.
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SportsDashboards salutes Annie Boyer and the Redwood Giants

Monday, July 4th, 2011 by

The determination on Annie Boyer's face tells you all you need to know about why the Redwood Giants are once again MCAL champions.

There are a lot of words that describe Annie Boyer and her Redwood Giants teammates … but the one word that captures it all is champion.

When you talk about Marin County Athletic League softball, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is Redwood. They’ve won the last six conference championships, which means that the 11 seniors on this year’s squad never experienced an unsuccessful season.

It’s not unheard of for a high school athletic program to achieve similar dominance. The basic ingredients are a feeder program that starts to develop skills prior to high school and then a high school coach who can mold those talents into a cohesive team.

Redwood had the feeder program, with most of its players coming out of the Marin Girls Softball organization. And after six consecutive titles, the bona fides of coach Gary Casassa are unquestioned.
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Softball All-American Camille Gaito: as good as it gets

Monday, June 6th, 2011 by

Camille Gaito pitched the UCSD Tritons to the NCAA Division II championship.

The accolades and honors poured in for Camille Gaito this season. Most of them were for individual achievement. But the best honor is the one she shares with her University of California at San Diego teammates: NCAA Division II champion.

Gaito has been named Most Outstanding Player of the national championships, first team All-American by Daktronics in a poll of sports information directors, second team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, pitcher of the year in the West Region as named by Daktronics, and pitcher of the year in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

Statistics never tell the whole story, but Gaito’s stats confirm her domination of the Division II scene this year. She was second in the nation in wins by Division II pitchers while posting a 35-4 record, second in winning percentage at .897, fourth in earned run average at 0.75, and seventh in least walks allowed per 7 innings at 0.69. She eclipsed the UCSD marks for career wins (65), wins in a season (35) and appearances in a season (44).
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