First-inning run stands up for So. California

Manhattan Beach wins Junior League regional title

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



A tournament that featured plenty of runs was won with only one.

Manhattan Beach, Calif., scored a first-inning run, and that was enough to send the Southern California champions to the Junior League Baseball World Series for ages 13-14.

Manhattan Beach beat Central East Maui Little League 1-0 in Wednesday’s championship game of the Junior League Baseball Western Regional tournament at Propstra Stadium in Vancouver.

A pair of two-out walks led to the one run for the Southern California champions. Zach Chan singled to center to score Jackson Michalski from second base.

Manhattan Beach heads to Taylor, Mich., for the Junior League World Series. The World Series features five regional champions from the United States and five international teams. Manhattan Beach plays the first pool-play game at the World Series, which begins on Sunday.

The regional tournament featured 12 teams from 10 Western States. Host team Columbia Little League went 2-2 in pool play but did not advance to the elimination phase.

Maui and Manhattan Beach showed why they were playing in Wednesday’s regional championship.

Starting pitchers Tommy Bothwell of Manhattan Beach and Linden Kanamu of Maui both were in command from start to finish. The only run came after Hawaii’s Kanamu pitched carefully to the third and fourth Manhattan Ceach hitters — Michalski and Will Proctor — with two outs in the bottom of the first.

Bothwell pitched into the seventh for Manhattan Beach, scattering five hits. He didn’t have a strikeout, but he let his defense do its job by walking only two.

Michalski took over with one aboard and no outs in the last-chance seventh for Maui and earned the save.

The first hitter Michalski faced, Makana Sakamoto, lined the ball up the middle. But Manhattan Beach second baseman Robert White made a running catch, then tagged the runner for a key double play.

That was the second special defensive play that kept Maui from scoring.

A diving catch in short left field by Manhattan Beach shortstop Proctor kept Maui off the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning. The play stranded Colby Tan at third base after Tan led off the inning with a single.

In the fifth, Maui’s Travis Delima led off with a single but Hawaii again stranded the runner on third base.

Kanamu and his Hawaii defense were just as good in quieting an opponent that had scored 65 runs in winning its first five tournament games.

Kanamu scattered four hits and stranded nine Manhattan Beach runners over six innings. He had one strikeout and walked three.

Third-place game — Jay Whorton tripled and had four RBI, and DJ Lantis was 2 for 3 with two RBI as Upper Valley of Naches, Wash., beat Murrayhill of Beaverton, Ore., 11-9 in Wednesday’s consolation game.