Arcadia American Little League (AALL) opened its 58th season last Saturday, Feb. 20, at venerable Windsor Field with players ranging from T-ball to Majors in full uniform and ready to play ball in 2016. Mayor Gary Kovacic, a longtime supporter and sponsor of AALL, threw out the ceremonial first ball on a glorious, warm morning and the large crowd on hand saluted AALL’s unprecedented “double” majors championships of last year with District 17 Pennant raising for both the 2015 Tournament of Champion winner AALL Angels and City Tournament Champion Twins.
After the 2016 AALL sponsors were saluted and all players took a traditional opening day lap around the bases, it was time for baseball with the Majors Angels hosting the Dodgers.
And that is when Opening Day became Mikey Easter Day.
Not only did the 12-year-old perennial All-Star repeat his opening day feat of last year by again going three-for-three at the plate, but he was, believe it or not, even more impressive on the mound. Easter pitched a no-hitter, allowing only three balls to be put in play while striking out 16 batters and walking only two in leading the Dodgers to a 3-0 victory. It was a remarkably well-played played first game that featured only five total walks, no errors, and was completed in less than 90 minutes. Easter tripled just inside the left-field line for the first hit of the season with one down in the top of the first, and scored the first run of the year on Devon Eskridge’s single minutes later. While Eskridge knocked in another run later with a second hit to key a two-run rally off the Angels’ Brandon Nguyen in the third inning – the first run was all that Easter needed as he pitched a complete game with great efficiency.
Majors newcomer Morgan Lu helped preserve Easter’s no-hitter with a nice catch of a line drive off the bat of Jimmy Wilcox in the fifth inning. Nguyen pitched well in a losing cause for the Angels, and Matt McIntire looked sharp in relief.
The Dodgers and Angels start interleague play this weekend against the Santa Anita Blue Jays and Cardinals, respectively. Good luck to all AALL teams and enjoy a great season!