Palo Alto Babe Ruth 14s light up the Belmont sky with an offensive all-star display

Cleasby throws a seven-hitter over five innings in 16-1 win over Mountain View

By Jen Cosgriff

Palo Alto Online Sports

Palo Alto must have still been celebrating the Fourth of July. After all, it opened the District 6 Babe Ruth 14-year-old all-star tournament with an offensive show worthy of any fireworks display.

Palo Alto lit up the scoreboard in beating Mountain View, 16-1, in the opening round of the tournament at the Belmont Sports Complex on Monday night.

Michael Strong and Alex Aquiar helped turn the game into a spectacular display, each driving in a pair of runs during a six-run rally in the third inning that all but snuffed out Mountain View's fuse.

Starting pitcher Jack Cleasby, who did not allow an earned run in his five innings of mound work, got things rolling in the offensive burst of a rally, breaking a 1-1 tie with an RBI single.

Cleasby's single sparked a rapid fire blaze of runs that included Strong's two-run single and Aquiar's two-run triple. Aquiar eventually scored on an error.

It wasn't just the starters having all the fun either. Players coming off the bench also played a major role in the victory. Kyle Stewart and Rohit Romkumar each drove in a pair of runs to highlight the evening.

Palo Alto combined for 12 hits and seven walks in the win, also taking advantage of every opportunity to record 10 stolen bases.

"In terms of steals, we do work on that," Palo Alto manager Ron Fried said. "We want to be really aggressive offensively. We have really good team speed, and we want to use that to our advantage. Early in the game, we weren't hitting the ball as well . . .and once you get guys on base, you can run and make things happen. That really kind of helped get things going for us."

Cleasby allowed seven hits, striking out four, to get credit for the win. Perhaps most impressively, however, was the fact that he didn't walk a batter.

"He did a really nice job on the mound," Fried said. "He's one of two or three guys we know are quality starting pitchers. We have a lot of depth, in terms of our guys on the mound. He actually was the opening day pitcher in last year's all-star game, as a 13-year old, so he has experience playing and pitching in all-star games, which is another benefit of us having him out there."

Mountain Views run was unearned, as Niko Cepeda singled home Dwight Washington after Washington reached on an error.

Despite the big win, Fried wants to keep his team focused on the rest of the tournament.

"It was great for them to come out and relax and have a whole bunch of guys hitting and getting a chance to play," he said. "But eventually they just have to put it out of their minds and figure that we've really got to start focusing again."

Palo Alto takes on host Bel-Mateo Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Belmont. The championship game is Thursday, also at 7, with a challenge game (if necessary) set for Friday at 7 p.m.

Babe Ruth 13s

Palo Alto's all-stars got off to a good start in the District 6 Tournament at McKelvey Park in Mountain View, but things didn't end quite as well.

Palo Alto opened with an 11-10 victory over Bel-Mateo in eight innings, but dropped a 13-2 decision to Mountain View on Saturday. That dropped Palo Alto into a consolation Sunday against Bel-Mateo.

According to Palo Alto coach David Jefferson, his team held a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh before the all-stars were slapped with a forfeit, due to a pitching violation.

"We made a mistake and with two extra pitches thrown the day before," Jefferson said. "Mountain View coach Kris Mims saw that and ran over to tell the Bel-Mateo coach. I guess Mims really didn't want to play us in the finals."

The forfeit knocked Palo Alto out of the tourney and elevated Bel-Mateo into Monday's championship game against Mountain View, which posted an 8-4 victory to qualify for the regional tourney in Antioch.

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Like this comment
Posted by moreball
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Ugly 13 yr. old tournament for Mountain View and Bel-Mateo on all fronts. Let the kids determine who wins. Very poor examples of sportsmanship and model behavior by both MV and BM managers.
There was even more under-handed deeds than reported above by these two.

Hope the District or the National officials look into this one.

Like this comment
Posted by Grab Some Pine Meat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Pitch count is a simple rule to follow. Oh, that's right, we are talking about Palo Alto kids who don't have to follow the rules.

Let the kids determine who wins by following the rules of the game.

Like this comment
Posted by cc
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 6, 2010 at 7:07 pm

grab some pine meat,

you sure are hard on PA. it wasn't the kids fault. let them play. but it sounds like mt. view knew it( the extra pitches) and rather than alert the PA coaches, he let them make the mistake, then run and tell on them. Shame on Mt. View coach.....what kind of example does that tell the kids?....

hope mt. view get what is coming to of course.

Like this comment
Posted by Play Fair
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2010 at 9:21 am

The only people I feel bad for are the players. The game was taken away from the kids. It really doesn't matter how the violation was figured out. Let's not believe everything you hear. It is the coaches responsibility to coach the game no one else. You have to know the rules especially in tournament play. The coaches are responsible for this error and ultimatley are responsible for the forfeit. Let's not critisize an entire league for a mistake by a coaching staff.

Like this comment
Posted by Fair Play
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2010 at 9:55 am

Mistake bt the Palo Alto coaching staff.

Like this comment
Posted by Follow The Rules
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2010 at 10:20 pm

We tend to believe that the coaching staffs at the all star level are the best in the league.
Palo Alto's coaching staff certainly are very good and experienced on all aspects of Babe Ruth rules/play. There are rules for a reason. Do not deviate and or put the blame of this anywhere else except where it truly falls. We all know that regardless of pitches thrown per inning one pitch constitutes or equals one (1)inning pitched. The Manager sent the pitcher out to pitch more than rules allowed. The team paid the penalty for the coaches mistake.

Like this comment
Posted by Scapegoat Jefferson
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 12, 2010 at 11:08 am

The Palo Alto coach has a lot of nerve to blame another coach. The PA coaches should have known the pitch count for their pitcher. Period! The loss is on your head, no one else. I feel bad for the players and I am sure the parents aren't too happy with you either. Scapegoating is not the answer. Learn how to be a coach instead of being paranoid. Your personal issues with Coach Mims is obvious. Maybe it's jealousy. Your comment about him running to the Bel-Mateo coach, give me a break. The Bel-Mateo coach is very capable of figuring out YOUR mistake. She does not need anyone to point that out to her. She keeps count of pitches of any team that she plays against. That is what makes her a good coach and for that she deserves the win. Give her the credit that she deserves. You, coach Jefferson, are a poor example of a coach. Take your loss like a man. For the future, learn and understand the rules of the game. Don't take a win away from the kids because of your lack of understanding.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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