By Little League Mom Julie Craft
District 52 Little League kicked off its All-Star Tournament this weekend. The Belmont-Redwood Shores Little League (BRSLL) 11 year old all-star team was primed and ready to compete in their first game on Saturday despite facing a tough opponent, Palo Alto American, while being down 2 players.
The team was led by Manager Rudy Lopez and coaches Kevin Lee and Peter Anderson, the same players who went all the way last summer as the 9-10 BRSLL All-star team, winning runner-up in Northern California.
In the top of the first inning BRSLL was up to bat with Ryan Anderson walked, followed by Nicolas Lopez hitting a line drive for a single and advancing Anderson. Brad Shimabuku was also walked, quickly loading the bases. Luke Bugbee confidently stepped up to the plate and crushed a line drive right down the third base line all the way to the fence scoring a triple and three runs batted in (RBIs).
The team headed into the bottom of the 1st inning with a 3-0 lead. Ace pitcher Lopez took the mound with Dominic Susa catching.
The Palo Alto bats started off hot with the first 2 batters plunging the ball over the fence for homeruns, closing the gap for a 3-2 ballgame. The third batter hit a single followed by fourth batter hitting a ground rule double leaving two runners on base. The fifth batter hit a single which could have resulted in bases loaded, but BRSLL showcased their all-star talent in a history making flawlessly executed “double run-down” tagging out the runner heading to third and then a second run-down tag on the runner going to second, leaving only one lonely runner on first base. BRSLL swapped out Lopez on the mound for another ace pitcher, Sean Lee, who shut down the inning with just one pitch, ending the inning 3-2.
Top of the second inning was kicked off with Zach Wong smacking the ball into center field for a single followed by Anderson scoring a single and advancing Wong. Lopez was walked, loading the bases for a perfect set-up for power-hitter Susa to do his thing… burning the ball into left field almost over the fence driving in one RBI.
The momentum was gaining, as Lee approached the plate driving a perfect line drive into center field for a double and two RBIs. BRSLL headed into the bottom of the second inning with a 6-2 lead. Lee struck out the third batter, Lopez threw out the fourth batter and the sixth batter stepped up to the plate with two outs and bases loaded. Lee was laser focused on throwing heat and struck out the last batter, giving up no runs, and ending the inning 6-2.
Taylor Douglis kicked off the third inning with a smashing hit to left field for a single. Lighting runner, Josh Fong, was put in as pinch runner for Douglis, quickly stealing second and third. Anderson and Susa drove in RBI’s ending the top of the third, 8-2.
With Lee ruling the mound the inning was quickly over. First batter hit a fly ball almost to the fence in the gap in center field, but sprinter Bugbee came out of nowhere jumping like a ninja catching the ball for one out. The second batter grounded out at first and Lee struck out the third batter, ending the third inning with an 8-2 lead.
Top of the fourth, Palo Alto was starting to sweat as Bugbee wound up at the plate and sent the ball sky-rocketing over the fence for a home-run. Douglis powered a nice hit to center for a single, and pinch runner Daniel Friis was put in to help the team score.
BRSLL headed into the bottom of the fourth with a 9-2 lead. Lee was on fire on the mound, striking out two batters and throwing the fourth batter out at first. The fifth inning was 3 up – 3 down for both teams holding the score 9-2 heading into the final inning.
Bugbee kept the momentum going by hitting a single and stealing second. Douglis hit a single advancing Luke followed by Fong being walked to load the bases. Wong smacked the ball into center for a single and RBI. Anderson walked for another RBI and Lopez crushed the ball into left field for another RBI with the score now 12-2.
Susa targeted the gap in center field driving a single and another RBI. Superhero Shimabuku stepped up to the plate and set the ball sailing over the left field fence for a home run and three RBIs. BRSLL headed into the bottom the sixth inning with a 16-2 lead. Shimabuku was up for the challenge to relieve Lee at the mound. The first batter hit a fly ball to center caught by Bugbee. The second batter hit to second baseman Wong who threw him out at first, and Brad eager to shut down the game struck out the third batter.
BRSLL won 16-2.