Story and Photos by Gregg McMullin and published by The El Segundo Herald.
The 2018 El Segundo Little League closed its books and schedule by crowning champions in the AA, AAA and Major Divisions. So 105 days of baseball at Brett Field have come to an end. What began on February 17 with the Opening Day ceremonies concluded on a clear, picturesque day. It was classy way to
say goodbye to the 2018 season with a bounce house, a Jacob’s ladder, snow cones and cotton candy for the family to enjoy while taking in three great games. There were cheers and tears
by players and even some parents -- but make no mistake…there were no losers.
The most exciting game of the day was the Double-A matchup between the Indians and Royals. The Triple-A champions had the best pile-on celebration after winning and the favorites in the Major Division game played a solid game. Perhaps the highlight of the day was the singing of the National Anthem. Samantha Quevedo’s rendition sent chills and goose bumps through the large crowd and evoked the largest ovation of the day.
Gomez Hits Walk-off Single to Lead Indians to Double-A Championship
It was a game that will be long remembered for being one of the most exciting championship contests at any level. The heavily favored Indians had the best overall record during the
regular season and the best defensive lineup. They faced the Royals, who had the highest scoring team and had come through the loser’s bracket to face the Indians in the final. The Indians had a big lead only to see it disappear in the sixth inning. They then won it in the bottom of the sixth inning on Sebastian Gomez’s walk-off RBI single to give them an 8-7 win.
With one run in, the Royals had runners on second and third in the first inning. However, Indians starter Tyler Brook got a strikeout to end the potential big inning. The Indians countered in their half of the first when Gomez, who was 2-for-2 with a walk, singled and scored on a double by Carson Rollins.
The Indians scored five runs in the second inning to take a 6-1 lead. Elyjah Green drew an eight-pitch walk, while Grant Osborne and Tanner Wilson also walked to load the bases. Camden Quaintance slammed a two-run single to give the Indians a 3-1 lead. Lukas Da Silva and Rollins each drew drew RBI walks to increase the lead to 5-1. Brooke’s RBI single made it 6-1. In the third inning, Xavier’s ground ball scored Green who had walked to make it 7-1.
The Royals made their miraculous comeback starting in the fourth inning when Ty Binstein walked and scored on a single by James Tyler. with a three-run sixth inning to tie the game. James Tyler walked and then Michael Lambert and Preston Milne-Castro each singled to load the bases. Nair’s RBI single made it 7-5 and Noah Davis’ broken bat two-run single to right field tied the game.
The Indians won it in the bottom of the sixth. Tanner Wilson and Camden Quaintance each walked followed by Sebastian Gomez’s RBI walk-off single that scored Wilson and ignited a celebration for the Indians. Dodgers Win Triple-A Division The Cardinals were certainly not expected to do as well as they did to overcome a third place regular season finish to play in the championship game. They battled through the loser’s bracket only to face the top-seeded Dodgers and fall 12-6. The Cardinals struck first when Cole Knupfer doubled and scored on a ground ball by Tristan Foster. Rocco Goncher and Hudson Arthur each singled. Then Sam Whitney’s RBI single made it 2-0. The Dodgers scored a run in their half of the first inning when Cole Shoepe singled and later scored on an error. The Dodgers put together a big second inning and scored five runs on five hits and a walk. Eli Stephans and Dylan Stenberg each had singles, Shoepe walked and Ryan Wiacek had a two-run single. Joaquin Wagner-Bagues’ RBI single capped the big inning to give the Dodgers a 6-2 lead.
In the third, the Cardinals came up with a big inning of their own. Knupfer and LoganBrooks each singled and Foster was aboard on an error. Rocco Goncher hit a ball that wasmisplayed for a two-run error to make it 6-4. Foster would end up scoring on a run down to make it 6-5. In the bottom of the third inning, Chase Mattoon blistered a ball down the left field line and circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run to give the Dodgers a 7-5 advantage. The Dodgers put the game out of reach by scoring five runs in the fourth inning. Stephans and Stenburg singled, and Shoepe drew a walk to load the bases. Wiacek’s two-run single made it 9-5. Joaquin Wagner-Bagues’ hit a line drive behind the Cardinals outfield for an inside-the-park home run and a 12-5 lead.
The Cardinals would score a run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly ball by Hudson Arthur that scored Logan Brooks, who had singled, to make it 12-6. In the sixth inning, when Dodger pitcher Ryan Wiacek got Christian Colombo to ground out to end the game, it ignited the best celebration player pile-on during Championship Saturday.
Dylan Garcia Pitches Major Giants to Division Championship The top-seeded Giants got to the championship game by defeating the Cardinals in the playoffs 3-2. The Cardinals’ path to Championship Saturday was an arduous but exciting one. They won three games by one run and lost to the Giants in a thriller. This would be the sixth time these two teams would meet and it would determine the league champion. The Giants used good pitching and timely hitting to defeat the Cardinals 4-1 to win it all. The Giants sent Dylan Garcia to the mound and he came up with one of his best outings. The right-hander limited the Cardinals to one run and four hits. He walked two and struck out six before being replaced in the sixth inning. In the first, the Cardinals had an opportunity to have a big inning. James Baldino singled and Ethan Ayler was hit by a pitch. With runners on second and third, Garcia induced a strikeout to end the inning. The Giants took advantage of their speed to score two runs. Ben Lee singled and scored on Jimmel Immel’s double. Later in the inning, Immel used his quickness to steal home plate on a throw back to the pitcher.
The Cardinals couldn’t get a timely hit in the second inning and another rally was cut short. Nate Ibarra led the second off with a single for the Cardinals and Jake Stein walked with two outs, but once again Garcia got a strikeout to end the inning.
In the third inning, the Giants added to their lead with back-to-back doubles by Immel and Owen Reed to make it 3-0. In the fourth inning, Dane Sorenson hit a towering sacrifice fly ball that easily scored Ryan Zarneke to cap the scoring for the Giants. In the sixth inning, The Cardinals avoided the shutout when Grady Lubs scored on Baldino’s RBI single. With Garcia’s pitch count maxed out, the Giants brought in Immel to close out the game. After giving up a single to Ayler, he got Griffin Whitener to hit a ground ball to second base to end the game.
The Closing Ceremonies were a testament to another wonderful season. Outgoing President Lance Giroux thanked the large crowd for the support of El Segundo Little League, the numerous sponsors and the El Segundo Fire Department for their involvement. He introduced the winning and runners-up teams and then named all 50 12-year-old players graduating. While they lined the infield, Giroux then announced the winner of the first Nate Chittick “Phenomenal Coach” Award. It goes to the individual who best exemplifies placing fun and development above competition and one who teaches and encourages with respect, integrity and passion for the game. Out of the 16 nominees by players, other coaches and parents, Michael Alcala was named the first Phenomenal Coach of the Year.
Home Run Derby
Ten players took part in the Home Run Derby. It was whittled down to the final three. This was Gabriel Blanco’s third straight appearance and second for Holden Coulter and Nik Kvitek. Coulter took the lead in the final round, but Kvitek hit the tiebreaker -- a 260-foot bomb -- to win it. It was a perfect day for baseball and for the family to be together.
On behalf of the organization’s staff and sponsors, thank you for supporting El Segundo Little League. •
2018 11/12 El Segundo Little League All Stars
Manager: Mike Alcala
Coaches: Nick Coulter & Teddy Schutte
2018 10/11 El Segundo Little League All Stars
Manager: Eddie Lee
Coaches: Jose Mendez & Mike Zarneke
2018 9/10 El Segundo Little League All Stars
Manager Jeanette Osbourne
Coaches Michael Wagner & Jason Knupfer
2018 Major Dodgers Beach Cup Champions!
The new Coaches Award was inspired by the late great Nate Chittick. This is an award that is near and dear to everyone this great man touched in his time involved in our League and City.
The Winner of the Nate Hobgood Chittick "Phenomenal" Coach award is Mike Alcala.
GameChanger is no longer compatible with our website. We are moving over to the Iscore app. There has been an entire makeover of our league website. Each team has their own page. We should no longer need shutterfly as the page is fully integrated to to allow messaging, image sharing, player and game states. It also allows us to add and change game schedules which update to your mobile device. Score keepers should now download the app and use it to broadcast the games. This new system will allow you to track your players progress year to year as well.
Score keepers can get app help here.
Living the dream
Please reference the link below for a list of approved bats for the Spring 2018 Season.
As a reminder, none of the non-wood bats used last year,
are legal for use this year. This includes player evaluations.
You MUST use a certified USA Baseball bat or a wooden bat this season for all player evaluations, practices and games.
Field hotline for field status/closure for Brett and Richmond: (310) 524-2883
Status of all other ESLL fields (Walton, Bakalyar, and Arena) is at the discretion of the league.