Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 18, 2010

Back-to-back victories a winner for Old Pro

Menlo Park City Championship will be decided Friday When Mike's Cafe and Partners meet in yet another showdown

by Colin Becht

Jonathan Davis briefly flirted with a historic performance. Instead, he had to settle for a championship performance.

Davis and No. 2 Old Pro picked up right where they left off after a 19-2 rout of No. 4 Bike Connection last Saturday to defeat Bike Connection again Sunday, 13-3, for the Palo Alto Little League City Tournament championship at Middlefield Ballpark.

Old Pro manager Kevin Cool said he stressed to his team before Sunday's game to not get over-confident after its easy victory Saturday.

"We basically said in our team meeting all we did was force a Sunday game. The size of the margin meant nothing," said Cool. "We have tremendous respect for Bike Connection, so I had no illusions about Sunday just based on Saturday's game."

Behind an incredible outing both on the mound and at the plate from Davis and more clutch hitting from Justin Hull, Old Pro cruised to its 10-run victory to clinch the city championship.

Davis was perfect through the first 2 2/3 innings before surrendering his first hit. He finished with a two-hitter, allowing no earned runs, and would have finished with a complete game had he not hit the 85-pitch maximum with two outs in the sixth inning. He walked just one batter while striking out four.

"It's how you hope your 12-year-old star comes through, and he certainly did come through," said Cool. "We thought we might need more pitching behind him, and he was so efficient that he got right to the last out."

Davis was equally valuable at the plate, getting Old Pro off to a fantastic start with a three-run home run in the first inning. He finished the day 1-for-2 with three RBI and three runs scored.

"The three-run homer that he hit was absolutely huge because, in Little League baseball especially, in a game like this, getting the lead gives your team confidence and sets a tone that really makes it easier," said Cool.

Despite falling to Bike Connection 8-6 in the City Tournament on Tuesday, Old Pro rebounded to knock off Bike Connection twice over the weekend by a combined score of 32-5. The teams met a total of five times over the course of the season with Old Pro taking the series 3-2.

"You always have an advantage when you've seen a pitcher earlier in the season," said Cool. "When you're seeing them now for fourth and fifth game, obviously we know what their pitchers' tendencies are."

Davis was not alone in the offensive production as Justin Hull provided two valuable insurance runs in the fourth with his second home run in two days, scoring Eli Sorensen.

After Andrew Schloss (whose family delayed a trip to New York in favor of the final game) and Tommy Smale each drove in runs for Bike Connection in the home half of the fourth, Old Pro responded with four runs to put the game out of reach. Hull again came up with the clutch hit, driving in two more runs with a two-out double. Hull finished just a triple short of hitting for the cycle, going 3-for-4 at the plate with four RBI and two runs scored.

Jai Correa joined in on the offensive barrage in the sixth, hitting his second homer in as many days, a two-run blast that put Old Pro up 11-3. Correa tied Hull with a team-high three hits on the day.

The championship was a fitting farewell for Cool, who announced during the postgame awards ceremony that he would not be coaching next season.

Old Pro forced the extra game with its remarkable 19-2 bashing on Saturday. Old Pro scored 11 times in the first inning and added five more in the second, leading to the imposition of the mercy rule after four innings.

Correa led the offensive onslaught with three RBI, while Owen Plambeck, Davis and Ole Erickson each drove in two runs.

Correa capped off the prolific first inning, in which Old Pro sent 14 batters to the plate, with a two-run blast over the center field fence. In the inning, Old Pro was active on the base paths, scoring four times on wild pitches. Plambeck came up with a clutch two-out, two-RBI double that helped break open the inning. Old Pro loaded the bases three times in the inning.

Bike Connection got both of its two runs in the bottom of the first when Schloss connected for a two-run homer after Calvin Wang doubled with two outs.

With an already sizeable 11-2 lead, Old Pro added five runs in the second led by RBI singles by Davis and Henry Hughes. Hull added a solo home run in third as Old Pro continued to tack on runs.

In other Little League action:

It will be a rematch when Mike's Cafe takes on Partners in the Menlo Park City Championship game on Friday at Burgess Park at 6 p.m.

Mike's Cafe (18-5) advanced with an 8-3 victory over Draegers in the Menlo-Atherton Little League finals last weekend while Partners (20-1) moved on with a 3-2 win over Morey's in the Alpine/West Menlo title contest.

Mike's broke open a 3-1 game with five runs in the fifth. Winning pitcher Jackson Salabert had a two-run single during the big inning. He struck out nine and didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning.

Partners earned a title berth when catcher Andrew Cox tagged out a sliding Kevin Tinsley at home to end the game. Cox gave his team a lead in the first inning with a solo home run, his third of the season. Jared Lucian and Matthew Johnston had doubles in the inning for another run. Winning pitcher Kodiak Conrad singled in what proved to be the winning run in the fifth. On the mound, he struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings.

Both Conrad and Salabert will be available to start in Friday's championship game, which is shaping up to be a real pitchers' dual.

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