VERNAL, UTAH - The Kingsburg 11-and-under All-Stars fell short of a Cal Ripken World Series berth after going 1-2 in pool play at the 11-70 Pacific Southwest Regional tournament at Vernal, Utah.
The tournament spanned six days on July 15-20. Kingsburg didn’t advance to bracket play, but the boys did outscored its opponents 17-12.
Most of those runs came in its first game against Mueller Park-Utah, which was a 11-4 victory. Kingsburg’s two losses were ended in a one run margin. The boys fell 4-5 in extra innings to tourney runner-up Oahu-Hawaii on the second day of the tournament, followed by a 3-2 loss to Los Altos-Long Beach on the third day of the event.
“Those one-run losses hurt a bit in regards to how close the game was,” Kingsburg head coach Jared Ekizian said. “I was very proud and excited to see how well the boys came together and fought during those games.”
In the game against Oahu, Kingsburg took a 4-2 lead after Nicholas Lindgren and Jansen Hirschkorn hit solo home runs in the sixth inning. The Hawaiian team tied the score in the bottom half of the frame and the tournament’s eventual runner up went on to score a walk-off run in the seventh inning.
The next day, Kingsburg played Los Altos in the first scheduled game of the day. That matchup was scheduled in the morning 10 hours after Kingsburg concluded its game against Oahu.
Ekizian said he was proud of the boys effort against Los Altos after the previous night’s tough loss.
“To come back the next morning within 10 hours or less and to be able to fight with a team and lose just by one run was promising to say the least in regards to the boys have accomplished this season and what we having moving forward in regards to the talent,” Ekizian said.
During the three games, Kingsburg’s pitching produce solid performances from Lindgren, Hirschkorn, Eric Garcia, and Gavin Ekizian, who allowed a combined four earned runs and struck out a total of 14 batters.
Jared Ekizian said the pitching was “tremendous” throughout the week.
Kingsburg qualified for the regional tournament after claiming the Central California Cal Ripken 11-70 State title in Lodi on July 5. In that tournament, the boys went 4-1 and outscored its opponents 25-6.
The all-stars finish the season at 17-5 overall with a team earned run average of 1.63 and a combined .322 batting average.
“This is a good group of boys that we don’t think as a coaching staff that has hit their peak yet,” Jared Ekizian said. “They still have a lot of growth and a lot of maturity to still move forward where we could actually be able to compete next year as well.”
In bracket play, Hawaii Kai defeated Oakland 8-7 to advance to the semifinals. Elk Grove also advanced to the semifinals after a 7-0 win over Los Altos. Both teams would go on to lose in their semifinal games. Yuma-Arizona defeated Elk Grove 2-0 while Oahu-Hawaii clinched a 6-5 victory over Hawaii Kai. Yuma and Oahu had a first round bye in bracket play.
In the championship game, Yuma advanced to the Cal Ripken World Series by defeating Oahu 6-5. The Cal Ripken 11-70 World Series will played at Treasure Coast, Florida on Aug. 3-10.