The Indians of the Los Banos Little League Majors Division learned a valuable lesson on Tuesday – you can’t take anybody lightly in the playoffs.
The Indians, which won the regular season title after ending up tied with the Yankees at 17-4, needed every run they could get in a 6-3 victory over the Padres, which went 2-19 in the regular season.
“Everybody can beat anybody. You’ve got to come out and give a good effort, or you’re going to get beat,” Indians manager John Cook said. “Can’t take anything away from the Padres, they played hard today.”
The Padres scored two in the fourth inning before John Menezes strode to the mound to calm things down. Menezes stayed until he was forced out by a pitch count with one out in the sixth, when Zack Iturbide finished the game with a pair of strikeouts.
“He’s the hardest thrower on the team,” Cook said about Menezes. “We have a great pitching staff, but he’s always around the strike zone.”
That pitching staff will be important over the next few weeks, when the Indians are embroiled in not just the Los Banos Little League Battle Tournament, but also the District 73 Tournament of Champions.
“We have to watch the pitching,” Cook said. “But we have a lot of arms.”
The Indians trailed 1-0 in the first inning, but Anthony Gutierrez evened the score with a home run that cleared the center field fence by about 25 feet.
The fourth-seeded A’s also won on the post-season tournament’s opening day, defeating the No. 5 Cardinals 13-9. The other side of the bracket featured Wednesday victories by the Yankees (17-8 over the Giants) and the Nationals (7-5 over the Red Sox).
In Triple-A action, the fifth-seeded Dodgers defeated the No. 4 A’s for the chance to take on the top-seeded Nationals, while the Pirates and Tigers won the two May 28 games.
In Double-A, the A’s and the Giants won their first-round games, with the sixth-seeded Giants upsetting the No. 3 Dodgers 8-2. And in Single-A, the No. 5 A’s upset the No. 4 Diamondbacks 16-10 on May 28 for the chance to face the top-seeded Tigers, which were 15-1 in the regular season.