By Will Bellamy
VACAVILLE — In an effort to put their disappointment into perspective, coach Jessie Catacutan and his Davis American 11-12 All-Stars took a moment after Tuesday night’s season-ending 4-2 loss to Winters to look back on all they’ve accomplished together.
Yes, they had come up short in their quest to claim a third consecutive Little League District 64 title. But as Catacutan told his team in the dugout, winning championships in two different age groups, with the same core croup of players, is an incredible accomplishment.
“I’m proud of the boys. They played hard,” Catacutan said from Centennial Park in Vacaville. “We were hoping to make it three in a row, but it didn’t happen for us.
“We won the last two years, 9-10 (and) 10-11, so we were trying to see if we could make it 11-12. Most of the guys play travel ball together, so we’ve been together (for a long time).”
While their season is now over, the Americans can find solace in the fact that they fought to the last out and had a solid chance to win Tuesday’s game, which would have put them in the tournament finals. In fact, DALL led through the first 4 1/2 innings, primarily due to the brilliance of starting pitcher Ethan Ramos.
The Davis hurler struck out seven batters and held Winters scoreless, protecting a 1-0 advantage into the fifth inning. The one run came courtesy of Josh Catacutan, who, in the top of the first, hit a double into center field and then scored on a single by Jack Walsh.
However, Winters refused to be held at bay permanently. In the bottom of the fifth, it scored four runs in the span of three at-bats to wrest the lead away from Davis American.
The locals attempted to respond in the sixth and, though they were unable to turn things around completely, they made a solid last stand. Walsh — who also took over for Ramos on the mound — hit his second double of the game in the final frame, then scored when Iain Smith smashed a ball deep into left field for a triple that came within a few feet of being a home run.
But DALL never came any closer as it recorded its third out on the very next at-bat.
After the game, as is tradition, the Davis players were honored on the field for their efforts during the tournament.