Cameron Vaughan made sure he went out the way he came into the Palo Alto Babe Ruth League with a city championship. Vaughan tossed a one-hitter as the No. 1 seed Oaks doused No. 3 Ada's Cafe, 10-1, at the Baylands Athletic Center on Tuesday night. Ada's Cafe (10-8) needed to win to force a deciding game.
It was the second city championship for Oaks manager Rick Farr in the past three years, his seventh as a manager in the league, overall.
"Defense was the key," said Farr, whose club finished 12-5. "We made one error in three games. The pitcher threw strikes. I was most impressed by our throws on the infield to first base. They were right to the first baseman. Those were not routine plays."
Vaughan, perfect through four innings, pitched to just two batters over the minimum. George Welch reached first on an error to break up the perfect game. Welch stole second, then was wild-pitched to third before being driven in on a ground out by Jack Dellenbach, the run unearned.
Kyle Hartmanis doubled to left field with two out to break up Vaughan's no-hit bid. Vaughan retired the final seven hitters to end the game, finishing the contest with his second strikeout.
"Everything was working," said Vaughan, who will be a junior at Woodside High. "I kept the ball low, threw a lot of strikes and didn't walk anybody. The curveball was good. I could hit every corner with my fastball."
Vaughan did his part at the plate, as well, with two singles and four RBI. After scoring an unearned run in the second inning, The Oaks put up a three-spot in the third. The Oaks tacked on five more runs in the fourth to put the game away.
Leadoff hitter Paul Thie had two hits, scoring twice. Hyunwoo Roh had a run-scoring single in the fourth inning as The Oaks sent 10 batters to the plate. Adrian Contreras had a pinch-hit, line drive single to right field for the final run of the inning.
The Oaks threatened to 10-run Ada's a couple of times, but couldn't quite do it. Ben Cleasby laced a double down the left field line to begin the fifth inning. Cleasby scored on an infield ground out by Alex Melvin, making the score 10-1.
Things started fine for Ada's when shortstop Zander Darby recorded three straight ground outs in the bottom of the first.
And had Ada's held on to a 3-2 lead in Saturday's 4-3 loss to The Oaks, things may have been different altogether. The Oaks rallied in the bottom of the seventh for the win, the game ending on a successful squeeze play. It was the fourth one-run loss to The Oaks for Ada's this season.
Ada's Cafe manager Ron Fried, still searching for his first city championship, was missing three starters on Tuesday for various reasons. Fried, however, gave credit where credit was due.
"Give all the credit in the world to the Oaks," Fried said. "They got into the winners bracket, which is what you need to do in this tournament. Their pitcher threw strikes. We swung early in the count and helped him out with a lot of ground balls."
Fried noted his team has played 10 games in 14 days and that it "has caught up with us."
"It was a matter of which game the fatigue would catch up with us," Fried said. "Unfortunately, it was this game. I'm proud of the run we had just to get here."
Thie made the defensive play of the game, robbing Aidan Everett of extra bases with a tremendous catch in left-center field. Thie, a league-age 14-year-old, will be the main cog for The Oaks next year.
Ada's Cafe could be one of the teams to beat with several key players returning.