LIVERMORE — Weston Ranch Little League’s 13-14-year-old all-stars went from nearly tying the game to being blown completely out of it.
California Little League Section 3 Junior Division Tournament host Granada broke it open with seven runs in the third and took advantage of 11 walks and six bean balls to survive another day with an 18-3, five-inning victory Monday at Max Baer Park.
Granada tangles with either Mission San Jose or Half Moon Bay in the consolation-bracket semifinal tonight at 5:30.
“We just ran short (of pitching),” Weston Ranch manager Paul Ostertag said. “Walks and bean balls, that’s how they scored. In the end they started stringing them together, but in the first half of the game I don’t think they had more than four hits.”
Granada ended up 11 hits but walked in seven runs and was hit by a pitch to score another.
Weston Ranch starter James Simerly mixed in his changeup and slow-breaking curveball well at the start, striking out four in two innings. Sean Westphal broke the scoreless tie in the second with a double to the center-field fence.
Weston Ranch had a chance to change the tide after Nick Garcia led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Kyle Ostertag hammered the team’s first knock to deep center, but Garcia was thrown out at the plate by outfielder Anthony Olmo.
“I don’t know if that (run) would have made a difference at the time, but it would have been a boost for our guys mentally,” coach Ostertag said.
Granada batted around its order in each of the next three innings and was well ahead 18-1 going into Weston Ranch’s final at-bats.
Tyler Scharnow led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and was driven in by Simerly, who reached on an error. Simerly plated the final run on Garcia’s sacrifice fly to center field.
Garcia, who walked in his other two at-bats, scored Weston Ranch’s first run in the fourth on Kenny Williams’ base on balls.
“They had heart. They didn’t give up today,” Ostertag said. “We battled, and that’s all you want them to do.”
Hard-throwing righty Justin Whitman struck out five while scattering five hits and walking five batters for Granada. He helped his cause at the plate by rapping three hits and scoring two runs while driving in as many.
Westphal walked once and was hit twice and finished 2 for 2 with two runs and three RBIs to lead Granada. Leadoff hitter Taylor Downey also reached in all five at-bats, scoring three times, driving in two and also going 2 for 2.
Despite the sour ending to the season, Weston Ranch didn’t walk away from the league’s first-ever Section 3 appearance in its 13-year history.
Weston Ranch was in danger of being eliminated Sunday when it faced heavily-favored Union City but pulled off a 7-3 upset to advance.
To contact Jonamar Jacinto, e-mail email@example.com, or call (209) 249-3538.