Santa Monica Little Leagues closed out the 2010 playoffs on June 5 in fine fashion as the Santa Monica East Little League Yankees beat the SM West LL Mets 8-5 to win the majors division city title, and the SM East LL Giants topped the SM West LL Cubs 4-1 to take home the AAA city crown.
The Yankees, who finished the season 14-6 overall, jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first sparked by Dane Morrow’s lead-off double. Morrow, the Yankees starting pitcher, gave up an early run to the Mets off hits by Henry Schlessinger and Robbie Kerr, but then settled down for a strong outing.
The Mets, who posted an excellent 16-3 record this season, were hurt by errors in key situations that enabled the Yankees to extend the lead to 8-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. The Mets fought back that frame to score three runs and narrow the margin to 8-5, with two out and two aboard when Morrow was removed after reaching the little league maximum pitch count. The Yankees then turned to closer Ryan Slinger who closed out the fifth and retired three of the Mets final four batters to earn the save and preserve the win the Yankees and Morrow.
The Giants defeated the Cubs 4-1 in the AAA City Championship game played Saturday morning at Memorial Park. The Giants parlayed three hits and a walk off Cub starter Jared Goldman, for four runs in the bottom of the first inning. The big hit in the inning for the Giants was a two-run double by Michael Bateman-Shirley who had two hits in the game.
That was all the run support Giants ace Jack Kelly needed as he took charge, pitching five scoreless innings while allowing only three Cubs to reach base. Kelly struck out 11 Cubs, including seven in a row at one point and didn’t allow a runner to reach third base in his best outing of the season. Giants closer Leo Rubin pitched the sixth inning to seal the victory. After a rocky first inning, Goldman settled down for the Cubs and gave up only one more hit before reaching his pitch count limit.
The defense was very strong on both sides in a very well-played game dominated by the two starting pitchers. It was the Giants 12th consecutive win this season as they played very solid baseball through the second half of the season and the playoffs.
Kofi Award Winners
Each year, SMLL presents the Kofi Award for the 12-year-old in both the East and West leagues who demonstrates the highest measure of sportsmanship and leadership. This award is given in memory former SMLLer Gordon Kofi McPherson. This year was marked by a group of very deserving candidates. The league posthumously awarded Erik Robinson of the A’s the Kofi Award, which was accepted by his mother, Judy Rogg. The Red Sox Ryan Bradley and Jacob Wasserman of the White Sox won the Kofi Awards in the East and West leagues respectively. Nominees of other teams were Nick Allegrette (Dodgers), Harrison Banner (Cubs), Matthew Brand (Indians), Michael Botfeld (Yankees), Jack Ginsberg (Giants), Matthew Holt (Angels), Greg Melick (Cardinals), Jose Nuno (Reds), and Sebastian Schier (Mets).
The city championship game in the Juniors division (ages 13-14) will be played on Saturday, June 12 at 1 p.m. at Clover Park. The Cubs, managed by Loren Drake, face the Padres, helmed by David Eby and Todd Gelfand…. SMLL will play host the California District 25 All Star Tournament in the 9- and 10-year-old division and 10/11 division, which begins June 26 at Memorial Park. The 11/12-year-old division D-25 All Stars tourney will be held at the West LA LL fields.... The District 25 Tournament of Champions tournament begins June 12 at Culver Marina LL fields. The A’s and Mets are the SMLL majors reps, and the Giants and Cubs are the AAA reps…. Robbie Kerr finished the season atop of the Rosti HR leaderboard with eight dingers.
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