Earl Weaver, the late, great Hall of Fame manager of the Baltimore Orioles, looked nothing like Barry Bacon. And the two could not be more different when it comes to temperament; Weaver known not only for his success but also volcanic tantrums, when even the most trying baseball moments fail to raise Bacon’s ire.
But as baseball strategists, Weaver, and Bacon, the head coach of the Admirals Elite 12u baseball team comprised of District 17 Little League all-stars, have at least one thing in common–a deep appreciation for great pitching and power hitting.
The Admirals, just like those old great Orioles teams, had both qualities in abundance this weekend as they steamrolled four straight opponents en route to their third baseball tournament championship in only three months of competition. This time, they took the Extreme Diamond Holiday Bash by winning twice Saturday in Fountain Valley and then twice again Sunday in Hawaiian Gardens in perhaps their best overall team performances to date in a fall that has been punctuated by success.
Sunday’s championship game against the OC Premier was over almost as soon as it started as the Admirals scored 11 times in the top of the first inning on the way to a 15-2 victory. Earlier in the day, against the Surf Sua for the second time in as many days, the Admirals received their best overall pitching performance to date as Big Eddie Jin of Arcadia American Little League threw a complete-game, two-hit shut out to eliminate the Surf. The Admiral bats were general kept in check by the Surf’s Kevin Fuchen, but of the six hits that he allowed, two were home runs and that was more than enough to back Jin’s dominant mound performance.
First, Arcadia American’s Julian Eskridge hit his third home run in two days-this one a missile-like line drive to left that departed Fedde Field about 41/2 feet off the ground. Later in the game, Pasadena American’s Jack Clougherty hit his first homer of the season, a booming shot to left-center, to cap the Admirals’ offense.
On Sunday, two East Altadena players-Colin Noble and Sam Gutierrez-had perfect 4-for-4 days.
The day before, Kellen Gewecke of Arcadia American put on a virtual hitting clinic, going 5 for 6 in two games (he was a team-leading 7 for 8 in the tournament) helping set the table for the Admirals’ power hitters out of the leadoff spot that he fills so well. In the tournament opener, the Admirals blew an early 3-0 lead but came back to defeat the Surf Soa, 7-5, with Gewecke getting three hits in three trips and scoring twice, Jin hitting a huge bases-clearing double and Gutierrez knocking in two runs. Eskridge turned in a strong starting performance on the mound, Justin Hindi got the win in relief and Clougherty earned another save with two hitless innings to close out the game. The second game saw Admirals pitching allow only three hits, while they pounded out 10 of their own on the way to an easy 13-1 win over the Surf Houston team.
Eskridge hit not one, but two, mammoth home runs, driving in three runs in all, while Jin had two more RBIs as the Admirals breezed into Sunday’s semifinal.
The Admirals return to tournament play this weekend.