HANFORD — With a 10-4 victory over Lodi, the Hanford 13U All-Stars became the sixth local team to punch their ticket to the Cal Ripken Pacific Southwest Regional tournament on Tuesday. The win also gave them the Central California State championship.
“It was a very satisfying feeling,” 13U coach Florencio Perez said. “It’s been a hot summer so far and the boys out there put in practice put in the hours. There’s a few kids from Lemoore on our team as well, so for the boys to come together, not really knowing each other … and do something like that was very special.”
Perez said the team’s communication and chemistry have been a key cog to their success this season.
“They talk they hang out outside of the field,” Perez said. “They’re good friends, so I feel like that bond that they have is very important because when things don’t go right, they stay strong and they back each other up.”
The Hanford 13U All-Stars went a perfect 4-0 in the state tournament in Bakersfield and, as a result, had some outstanding players make the All-Tournament team. Gavin Kyker, Isaac Perez, Andrew Mora, Dom Najar were all named to the All-Tournament team. Israel Ramos took top honors by being named the MVP of the tournament.
The All-Stars will now move on to the Pacific Southwest Regional in Price, Utah. The tournament begins July 22 and concludes on July 27.
“I’m just looking forward to playing teams from different areas, kind of seeing different styles of play and just approaching this tournament with the mindset that even though we’re traveling we still got to be mature and take care of business,” Perez said.
Perez also said it’s going to be important for the team to balance the travel part with the fun stuff, while playing baseball and enjoying the game. But with the regional tournament in their sights, Perez is confident the team can continue their high level of success.
“When things are clicking, I think this team has the potential to win this next tournament and potentially go to the World Series,” Perez said. “Things got to play out right and any time a team wins a championship things work out in their favor. All we can really do is play our best and if we do that I’m positive that these kids can come out on top of this tournament as well.”