More than one local Little Leaguer had the game of his young life on Tuesday as Davis American won the District 64 10-11 All-Star tournament title with an 11-6 win over Vacaville Central.
And it was the bona fide MVP Ethan Ramos who, in his modesty, pointed that out. Ramos nearly pitched complete game, allowing just a couple of hits, and somewhere between blasted a two-run homer.
“The whole team’s bats came alive (Tuesday). Everyone hit well,” Ramos said, still smiling from ear to ear after the contest. “I don’t think we had more than a few strikeouts, and we had one or two errors at the most.”
The DALL standout was correct in his assessment, as the squad that had committed six errors in just the first inning of a Monday loss to the same formidable VCLL club (an 18-7 blowout) had only two in Tuesday’s rematch at Camarena Park in Woodland.
“We definitely made enough mistakes for a few games (on Monday), but we were different players (Tuesday),” said Davis mentor Jessie Catacutan, whose Enterprise interview was interrupted by a celebratory dumping of cool water over his head.
Some good revelry is in no way unwarranted for DALL, especially considering the roller-coaster ride that was the team’s tournament run.
The locals, who also won last year’s 9-10 tourney, had been up: mercy-ruling Dixon (17-0) and Davis National (14-1); and then down: barely getting past Vacaville Central, 6-5, on Friday and losing big Monday.
But most of Tuesday’s matchup was the Americans ascending. DALL was first on the scoreboard in the opening inning; a run scored when Ramos got a hit and came home on an error.
The bottom of the first was a three-up, three-down breeze as Davis’ Nate Barclift (third base), Mikey Finerty (shortstop) and Matoshi Bulkeley (first base) each executed solid defensive plays.
The game progressed relatively quietly from there — until the top of the third inning when Ramos rocketed a ball over the center-field fence.
Konner McClellin, however, did the same for Vacaville an inning later, and his home run cut the local lead to a tenuous 4-2.
But it became more of an uphill battle for VCLL after the top of the fifth, when its errors put Ramos and Iain Smith on base for Jack Walsh.
The Davis slugger followed by sending a shot to left field, driving both runners in and ending up on second base. Walsh scored when Cade Sanders’ hit was aided by another error. Vacaville was unsuccessful trying to tag him out at second.
Now down 8-2, VCLL had one last glimmer as leadoff hitter Chase Dombrowski managed to get his way around the diamond after a hit, but his run was the extent of the mini-comeback.
And after DALL cleared through its lineup once more in the top of the sixth and got another three runs out of it (Finerty, Ramos and Buckley touched home plate), the local advantage was an insurmountable 11-3.
Davis closed out on the mound with Sanders after Ramos had thrown his regulation maximum number of pitches, 85. Sanders struggled to find his groove, then righted the ship, ending the game with a memorable strikeout.
The victory earns DALL a spot in the upcoming Section 1 tournament, for which schedule information is yet to be announced.
— Reach Brett Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett