Bryce Barker pitched 3 1/3 solid innings as the American League’s Angels had their hitting shoes on in a 14-5 victory over the Diamondbacks in the Davis Little League AAA City Championship game Saturday night.
“We just played for fun during the regular season,” said Halos skipper Steve Inouye. “I got all my kids to pitch at least three innings. It really wasn’t until the last game of the regular season that we locked in on our starting pitchers.”
Just in time, coach.
The Angels went through the postseason with a 4-0 record while showcasing a strong defense and getting just enough pitching to prevail.
In the title tilt, the D-Backs broke on top, 2-0, in the first.
Matt Lloyd opened with an infield hit, got to third on a couple of pitches to the backstop before scoring thanks to Dillon Rockwell’s shot to left. Eventually, Rockwell would come home on Simon Downes-Toney’s chip shot to center.
Carson Szeder made it 2-1 when the Angel walked and came home after a steal, a passed ball and a wild pitch.
The floodgates opened for the Angels in their part of the third when consecutive singles by Kurt Fischer, Jason Inouye and Ethan Trinidad set up Barker’s two-run double.
That was followed by Szeder’s infield hit (scoring Trinidad) before a two-run error capped the outburst at the AAA-mandated maximum of five runs.
In the bottom of the frame, Cole Knutson got the Diamondbacks close at 6-3, when his grounder scored Lloyd, who had doubled to lead off the third.
But it was the last look the National League champs would get.
In the top of the fourth, three straight walks — to Andre Shweky, Josiah Roa and Fischer — were augmented by Inouye’s RBI bouncer up the middle.
At that point, Trinidad took the bite out of the Rattlers when his triple plated three runs. He’d cross the plate on Szeder’s single and the Angels had their second consecutive five-run rally.
With the contest time limit fast approaching, there was one last hurrah for the Diamondbacks: Downes-Toney hammered a home run to dead center field. It was the 10-year-old’s first round-tripper.
So how did that feel?
“It felt amazing,” the slugger told The Enterprise. “My dad thought it was awesome, too.
“I’ve been wanting to hit a home run all year, but I’ve just been swinging for the fence and striking out, so this time my dad (Michael Toney) said, ‘Just don’t swing for the fence — and I hit a home run!’
“I’m not sure if I’ll keep (the power hitting going), but it certainly felt good.”
Three walks and a Roa RBI hit got the Angels their final three runs in the fifth as time ran out on the Diamondbacks.
Trinidad went 2-for-3 with his three-run triple. He also scored twice. Inouye had two hits and scored twice and Szeder was 2-for-2 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Downes-Toney and D-Backs lead-off hitter and starting pitcher Lloyd were both 2-for-2, with Lloyd scoring twice.
“This was a total team effort,” said coach Inouye. “Most of our practices were just playing catch. Catch the ball, throw the ball. Our team plays great team defense.”
To wit, Halo second baseman Fischer, who scored twice on offense, made a brilliant diving catch in the first inning.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-320-4456.