Superb pitching and timely hitting led the Selma intermediate 5070 All-Stars to a Section 7 championship on the night of June 30.
Selma qualified to be the host team in the seven-team Northern California intermediate 50-70 tournament, which begins in Selma on Saturday. After three games not involving the host that day, Selma, managed by Justin Bertrand and assisted by Enrique Luna and Dan Casarez, plays its first game Sunday at 11 a.m.
The other six tournament teams were not available at press time.
League officials said that this is Selma’s first Sectional title since 1991 and the first time ever that Selma has hosted a Northern California State Tournament.
Tournament games are scheduled at noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. On Sunday, games are set at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. The double elimination tournament continues Monday and Tuesday with games at 5 and 8 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. with the "if" game Friday at 7 p.m.
In two sectional games, Selma scored 30 runs on 27 hits with their pitchers recording 36 strikeouts in just 14 innings. The tournament hosts won the tournament opener 16-3 on July 30 and came back from a 7-1 deficit to win 14-7 the next night.
Was Bertrand worried when his team trailed 7-1 on Thursday night?
“Of course I was. I told them you’ve got to keep fighting and baseball is not over until it's over," Bertrand said. "Everyone is a fighter and everyone is a part of the team. Everybody backs each other up and everybody tries to get it done.”
"They did a good job of keeping us off-balance,” said Lemoore coach Miguel Macias. "We had a couple of good hits but we couldn’t put them together. It was a good experience.”
In the opener, Selma’s John Bertrand struck out 14 in four and two thirds innings, allowing one run on four hits.
In the first inning, Selma sent nine batters to the plate, scoring three runs and leaving the bases loaded. Mike Casarez had three singles in five at-bats while John Bertrand had a double and two singles.
On Thursday night, Matthew Luna came on in after Lemoore had scored five runs in the third inning and allowed one hit and struck out 13. In five at-bats, Luna had a solo home run, a double and single. The home run came two batters after Nico Torres hit a grand slam home run.
Selma Little League’s 12-year-old All Stars were eliminated from the District 10 tournament Thursday night after a 4-2 road loss to eventual finalist Sierra. Selma began the double elimination tournament with a 6-2 loss to eventual champion Reedley.
The Kingsburg Youth Baseball Association has announced rosters for three of its All Star teams, two of which began Central California State All Star play on Thursday.
The eight year old squad is managed by Ryan Clifton assisted by Josh Jackson, Joelle Reese and Nick Heinrichs.
Team members include Colton Clifton, Hudson Hayes, Graham Heinrichs, Korbin Jackson, Brady Parbst, Jace Paul, Beau Perez, Jace Ruiz, Jake Vieira, Kase Visser, Luke Winslow, and Conner Wood.
The 10-year-old team is managed by Aaron Miller, assisted by Jeff Schofield, John Johnston, and Brandon April.
Team members include Joel Flaming, Bryson Swiney, Easton Fondon, Lennox Schofield, Jayden Abril, Steven Pallegrine, Karm Purewal, Callaghan Phelan, Colton Erickson, Hunter Hays, Levi Johnston and Brennon Miller.
The 11-year-old team is managed by Greg Visser, with coachs Steve Sanchez and Ryan Sawatzky.
Team members include Tijs Visser, Ezekiel Clifton, JT Sanchez, Zane Dill, Roen Sweeney, Kellen Verners, Elijah Miller, Adam Villagomez, Auggie Leon, Wade Lunde, Vitaly Lane, and Mason Sawatzky.
Four different Cal Ripken Central California State tournaments began play on Friday, after the deadline for this story.