Lee’s Concrete ousted in semifinals
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune Lee’s Concrete’s Abel Martinez throws a pitch during Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Sunnyside champion Brewers in the opening game of the Tournament of Champions.
After the most successful season in Lee’s Concrete history, Selma’s Mets ended their season with a 12-2 victory in the semifinals in the District 10 Tournament of Champions.
Lee’s Concrete defeated the Brewers, champions of the Sunnyside-Lone Star Little League, 5-2, on Saturday to face the Mets on Sunday.
The win Saturday was Lee’s Concrete’s 25th straight win of the year, the best in Lee’s Concrete’s Madera American Little League history.
Unfortunately, Lee’s ran into a Selma powerhouse on Sunday.
“Nothing went right for us,” manager Guni Grewal said. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong for us today. Mistakes these kids didn’t make throughout the year came upon them today. Maybe that’s how it’s going to end. That’s baseball. You don’t want those games, but you have to play them.”
Dallas Rodriguez gave the Lee’s Concrete fanbase something to cheer about with his first career home run in the second inning.
“The kids did well,” Grewal said. “We had a great record. You can’t knock it. It’s not the way we wanted to go down.”
Grewal worked his pitching out to give the ball to his ace, Noah Castro. Unfortunately, a series of events rattled Castro and he was chased after just 1/3 of an inning.
The first batter of the game singled up the middle. The next batter hit a foul ball off catcher Jorge Gutierrez’s facemask. It jarred him so much, he had to switch positions with second baseman Jeremiah Montes.
The batter then hit a sinking liner to right field for a single. The ball went under the Lee’s right fielder’s glove and went to the right field fence for an error. The lead-off batter raced all the way to score the first run of the game and the batter ended up at third.
Castro got a groundout, but another run scored. The Mets’ clean-up batter hit a 1-2 pitch off the centerfield scoreboard for a 3-0 lead.
Now, Castro was rattled. He gave up a triple and a single before walking the No. 7 batter on four pitches. Frankie Espejo came in relief and got a grounder back to him for an out, but another run scored. Another error allowed a run to score and a double drove in two runs for a 7-0 lead before Lee’s Concrete could get to the plate.
The Mets added two more runs in the second on a walk, triple and single for a 9-0 lead.
With two outs in the second, Rodriguez, the No. 7 batter, got a hold of a 1-1 pitch and sent it over the left field fence for a solo home run, his first of his Little League career.
The Mets added three more runs on two singles and a walk. Two groundouts and a fielder’s choice scored the three runs for a 12-1 lead.
Lee’s kept trying to fight back. Alex Cortez reached on an error in the third. After a strikeout, Frankie Espejo doubled to right. However, a groundout resulted in a double play to end the inning.
Lee’s added another run in the fourth. Castro led off the inning with a single to left. He went to second on a wild pitch and to third on an error. Jeremiah Montes grounded out and Castro came in to score for the 12-2 final.
On the other side of the bracket, the champions of the River Park Little League and Madera National Little League champions, Kiwanis, each earned a first round bye and faced off in the semifinals.
In a close battle, the River Park champions pulled out a 4-3 victory to eliminate Kiwanis and set up a TOC championship game between River Park and Selma.
Against the Brewers, Lee’s Concrete scored two runs in the first and a run in the fourth for a 3-2 lead.
Lee’s added two more insurance runs in the sixth inning to secure a 5-2 victory.