San Marino Junior All-Stars run away with Section 2 title

Baseball: Junior All-Star squad records 13 hits, steals seven bases to claim Section 2 championship.

July 18, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

NORTHRIDGE — It certainly doesn't take much to get the offense of the San Marino Junior Baseball All-Star team going.

Anything from recording an infield single to getting hit by a pitch to working long pitch counts to stealing bases will work for San Marino.

It's been about being selective, yet aggressive at the plate, and normally good things have worked in San Marino's favor in the process.

San Marino put its dynamic offense on display Wednesday night to record an 11-7 victory against Encino in the if-necessary championship game of the Section 2 Tournament at Northridge Little League Fields.

San Marino, the District 17 champion, will next meet the Section 5 champion in an opening-round contest of the five-team Division III Tournament at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ontario Mountain View Little League's Westwind Park.

“We do have a well-rounded offense,” said San Marino Manager Mack Paciorek, whose team finished with 12 hits and stole seven bases to topple Encino, which forced Wednesday's game with a 14-7 win against San Marino on Tuesday. “We might not have a lot of guys who have lots of power, but we have a lot of speed.

“We are aggressive and we have the ability to mix it up.”

San Marino proved it immediately. It took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a run-scoring single by Tyler Spitzer.

San Marino sent 13 batters to the plate and scored seven runs to extend its lead to 8-0 in the second. Aden Santino and JT McDowell recorded back-to-back run-scoring singles to make it 3-0.

Spitzer walked on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to make it 4-0 before Mark Wieke registered a run-scoring single to extend the advantage to 5-0. Michael Won walked with the bases loaded on a full-count pitch to give San Marino a 6-0 lead. Tino Mase and McDowell were each hit by pitches with the bases loaded to raise the lead to 8-0.

San Marino second baseman JP Shohfi, who made a circus catch in the second and finished with three hits and two runs scored, said San Marino's approach to being patient at the plate in the second inning wore down Encino.

“When we get on a roll, we can score a lot and it puts pressure on the other team's defense,” Shohfi said. “We are very selective in the things we can do, like stealing bases.

“It's huge to win [the Section 2 Tournament]. We have a lot of momentum right now.”

Encino, which captured the District 40 crown, scored four runs in the third against San Marino starting pitcher Won to trim the deficit to 8-4. Jerry Goosenberg registered a run-scoring triple to make it 8-1. Andrew Croutch singled to score Goosenberg to make it 8-2. A run-scoring double by Colin Brophy made it 8-3. Encino closed to within 8-4 on a run-scoring groundout by Jose Campos, Jr.

“We've seen some incredible teams so far, but I don't know if we've seen a team with a better offense than Encino's,” Paciorek said.

San Marino got a run-scoring double in the fifth from Shohfi to make it 9-4. Encino's Paul Mendoza drove in a run on a grounder to make it 9-5 in the sixth.

San Marino and Encino each scored twice in the seventh. Spitzer made it 10-5 with a run-scoring single and Mase was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 11-5.

A two-run home run by Phil Quatararo of Encino closed out the scoring.

Won, who went five innings and allowed four hits, said he could relax on the mound with a large lead.

“They have a very good offense,” Won said. “I could go out there and throw strikes, and my defense was great.

“I didn't have my best stuff, but my defense saved me a couple of times.”

Spitzer stood out at shortstop for San Marino. His best defensive effort came in the sixth, when he ranged to his left and tracked down a high chopper before nabbing Nick Koones at first.

Spitzer finished with thee hits for San Marino, which received two from Carson Glazen.

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