Saturday belonged to the Tigers in the double-elimination championship of the Los Banos Little League’s triple-A division, but on Sunday, the deciding game went to the Dodgers.
The Tigers started off the weekend with a 12-7 victory on Saturday. Since the Dodgers were undefeated in the tournament to that point while the Tigers lost 9-7 to the Dodgers and came back through the elimination bracket, the Tigers’ win forced a winner-take-all championship game on Sunday. The Dodgers rebounded from the loss the day before to win 15-5.
Tigers coach Michael Leon said by that point in the tournament, he had run out of arms.
“It’s just one of those things,” Leon said. “We were in an elimination game Saturday, so we were playing to live another day.”
The Dodgers held a 2-0 lead after the first inning on Saturday off of an Adrian Delgado popup. Aidan Lopez Blackwood tagged to second, allowing Camron Lockett to score, then scored himself on an error.
The Dodger extended their lead in the second on a Lockett single, and Phillip Heredia added another on an error. The Tigers got back in the game with a three-run third, with Brandon Villagrana, Maurice Hooker and Andres Reynoso all scoring on errors.
The teams traded runs in the bottom of the third and top of the fourth before the Tigers took the lead with a four-run fifth, with the centerpiece a three-run, inside-the-park home run by Armando Cazares. The Dodgers put two across on a Brent McMurray single in the fifth, but the Tigers put the game away in the sixth with four runs on six walks when the Dodgers ran out of pitching.
The high-90s afternoon heat got the best of the Dodgers on Saturday, with catcher Blackwood taking to the dugout with heat exhaustion and another player complaining of stomach cramps. But it was a different story on Sunday when the Dodgers teed off on the Tigers’ pitching.
The Nationals, the triple-A regular season champions, moved on to the District 73 Tournament of Champions, where on Monday they defeated Yosemite 15-4, followed by a 13-2 loss to Atwater that sent them to the elimination bracket. The Nationals defeated Modesto 9-3 on Wednesday, and faced Mariposa on Thursday (results were unavailable at press time).