The Calaveras American majors are the Little League District 15 All-Star champions of 2003.
The all-star team, comprised of players 11 and 12 years old, won the second game of a dou-bleheader Friday evening to claim the title, after losing the first game, 1-0 in an extra-inning pitchers’ duel, to Lin-den’s all-stars. This is the first time a team from the Angels Camp-Copperopolis area has won the district championship and gone on to the sectional tournament.
Unbeaten in the 11-team double-elimination tournament until Friday afternoon, CalAmerican played the tie-breaker to a 5-3 victory over Linden.
The CalAmerican all-stars earlier in the tournament had defeated Linden 6-4. The team also had beaten Woods Creek (Sonora and Columbia) 15-3 and Ebbetts Pass (Arnold, Avery and Murphys) 12-2.
The team now advances to the Section 6 All-Star Tournament at Eproson Field in Twain Harte. Its first game is Thursday at 8 p.m.
In the final game, CalAmerican pitcher Clay Ham walked four batters and gave up a run-scoring triple to Linden’s Aaron Judge in the first inning. Then, he settled down. He walked one, threw a wild pitch and allowed Linden to score two more runs over the next two innings. After the third inning, Ham shut Linden down, letting them score no more.
In the bottom of the third, with two outs and Linden leading 3-0, Justin Dillashaw got on base with a single. A ground ball into the hole at short stop by Andrew Richey moved Dillashaw to second and then, Ham hit into left center field for a ground-rule double, putting Dillashaw across the plate.
In the fourth inning, Grant Herrick and Cody Lane each got on with singles. David Walsh walked, loading bases. With one out, Dillashaw hit a double, scoring Herrick and Lane to tie the game at 3 all.
Ham opened the fifth frame with a hit to the hole between third base and the short stop. Travis Goldberg laid down a bunt and beat the ball to first base for a hit. The two runners advanced to second and third on a strikeout. Ham scored on a passed ball and Goldberg made it home on another passed ball. CalAmerican controlled the lead, 5-3.
Linden threatened to come back in the top of the sixth. Peter Ratkovich led off with a single to left. Greg Cooke then hit a comebacker to Ham, who be-gan a textbook double play, retiring both runners. With one out remaining, Nick Lucchesi hit a single to left field and the next batter walked. After a short talk with coach Heath Lane, Ham struck out Mickey Toon to end the game.
During the game, Ham struck out 11 batters, gave up four hits and walked five. Linden pitcher James Laggorio gave up five runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out six.
Over the entire tournament, Goldberg was the winning pitcher for two games and had a total of 17 strikeouts. At the plate, he hit a grand slam home-run, scored six runs and had six RBI.
Ham also won two games, and struck out a total of 26 batters. He hit a homerun, scored six runs and had seven RBI.
Dillashaw had five hits, and scored five runs and three RBI. Richey got six hits and scored four runs. Travis Airola got four hits.
Pitchers dominate first game
In Friday’s first game, pitching by CalAmerican’s Goldberg and Linden’s Lucchesi held both teams scoreless until the bottom of the overtime seventh inning. With two outs and a runner on first, Linden’s fourth man up sent a triple into center field to score the first, and final, run of game.
Cody Lane, the losing pitcher, struck out one and walked one, allowing one run on one hit.
Goldberg struck out six, walked three and scattered six hits in six innings.
The winning pitcher, Lucchesi, struck out 15, walked one and gave up seven hits over seven innings on the mound.