EL SEGUNDO HERALD August 1, 2019 Page 5
El Segundo Comes Close to World Series Berth
By Gregg McMullin
El Segundo’s rich baseball heritage is traced
back to its Babe Ruth League all-star teams.
Five teams have won a World Series title and
three others competed for that crown. Not since
2013 has an El Segundo Babe Ruth all-star
team advanced to the World Series or for the
matter the Pacific Southwest tournament -- the
qualifying tournament that sends the winner
to the World Series. That changed this year
when the 13s won the state tournament and
advanced to the Pacific Southwest tournament
in Price, Utah.
The El Segundo team traveled like rock stars
to Utah and received a warm greeting from
the tournament officials and the community of
Price. They were there along with teams from
Northern California (Tri-Valley), Central California
(Hanford), Hawaii (Kai Red Sox), Nevada
(South Tahoe), Utah North (Eastside), South Utah
(Beaver) and the host squad from Carbon, Utah.
The teams stayed at tournament hotels, with
five of them at the same Ramada Inn. It made
for great sportsmanship and competitiveness
while making friends. On the first day there
were friendly skills competitions between the
teams, including a home run-hitting contest,
Round the Horn and running the bases. Holden
Coulter and Nik Kvitek led their team in the
home run contest while the team placed second
in the Round the Horn competition. The team
attended a banquet introducing and honoring
all the teams competing and met former MLB
players from the area.
The team traveled together in an RV to
tournament functions, games and sightseeing
excursions. The players had plenty of support
in the form of family and friends who made
the 700-mile trek to root them on. The games
were streamed live and shown locally as well
as viewed back home. To determine who was
the home and visitor, a player from each team
met at home plate and played rock, paper or
scissors. El Segundo ended up as visitors in
each of the five games it played.
El Segundo opened up with Eastside and
thoroughly defeated that team in a 21-2
trouncing. A five-run second inning was just
the beginning. El Segundo took advantage of
two walks, an error and three hits to take a
5-0 lead. In the third inning, the team batted
around and scored seven more runs highlighted
by Lucas Bonham’s two-run single. In the ninerun
fourth inning, Max Martinez had a two-run
double and a single. He scored both times.
Bonham led the team going 3-4 with five
RBIs and two runs scored. Coulter had a perfect
day by going 1-1 with three walks and three
runs scored. James Baldino and Dylan Alcala
combined to limit Eastside to two runs on six
hits, with six strikeouts and no walks.
In the second game, El Segundo easily got
by Hanford 11-3. Dylan Immel pitched a complete
game, giving up three runs (one earned)
while striking out three. After the game, the
team celebrated Immel’s effort by surprising
him with a surprise birthday party organized
by team parents.
El Segundo took a 1-0 lead in the first inning
when Martinez scored on a fielder’s choice.
In the second inning, Adan Barbosa singled
and later scored on a wild pitch to make it
2-0. In the third inning, the lead grew to 7-0
on the strength of back-to-back RBI doubles
by Cruz Ochoa and Kvitek. Leading 7-3 in
the sixth inning, El Segundo put the game
away with a four-run inning thanks in part to
consecutive RBI singles by Ochoa and Alcala
to make it 11-3.
The win sent El Segundo to the winner’s
bracket final against the Kai Red Sox from
Hawaii. The Hawaiian team is made up of
mostly players from the Little League World
Series championship roster of 2018.
The two teams traded first inning runs and
then the game went scoreless until the top of
the fourth. With two outs, Dominick Kopecky’s
ground ball was misplayed and allowed Evan
Sherrill to score. Martinez’s RBI single extended
the inning to make it 3-1. In the bottom of the
fifth, Hawaii scored two unearned runs to tie
the game at 3-3.
In the sixth inning El Segundo took the
lead, but it came with a cost. With the bases
loaded, Martinez grounded into a fielder’s
choice to score Barbosa. On the play, Martinez
collided with the first baseman, landed
awkwardly and injured his left wrist. Immel’s
RBI single scored Baldino, who had walked
earlier in the inning. Then Zack Porat scored
on an error to make it 6-3.
Martinez, who had taken over on the mound
in the second inning, was forced out of the
game because of the injury. Hawaii countered
with two runs in its half of the sixth inning to
make it 6-5. The inning ended with Bonham
throwing out a runner on a steal attempt.
El Segundo went quietly in the seventh inning
setting up the exciting finish. Alcala, pitching in
relief, wasted no time in setting up the dramatics.
He hit the first batter, putting the tying run on
first base. A successful sacrifice bunt put the tying
run on second base with one out. Alcala walked
the next batter on a nine-pitch at-bat to put the
winning run on base. Then he got the next hitter
to hit a deep fly ball to centerfield that Ochoa ran
down for the second out but with the tying run
on third base. Alcala then ended Hawaii’s
comeback attempt with a strikeout. The win sent
El Segundo into the championship game. It marked
the first time in two summers that this Hawaii
team, which had played together and won the
Little League World Series, had lost a game.
Dylan Alcala pitched in relief against Hawaii and shut them down
in El Segundo’s 6-5 win. Max Martinez doubles against Hawaii and later scored.
El Segundo traveled in style during the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament. All photos by Michael Alcala.
El Segundo was one win away from advancing
to the World Series and awaited the
loser bracket final winner. Hawaii would play
an error-filled game to defeat the host team
Carbon, Utah 21-12.
With the games streamin live, the team had a
community following the championship games
with a large crowd viewing it at The Tavern.
In the first elimination championship game,
El Segundo’s offense went silent and managed
just one hit while the pitching gave up
a combined 14 walks in a 10-0 loss. In the
championship game, El Segundo’s offense was
again limited in an 11-1 defeat. El Segundo’s
only run came in the first inning when Bonham
walked and scored on a passed ball. Hawaii
went on to score seven unearned runs and
advance to the World Series.
It was a remarkable run for El Segundo that
was close to being the ninth El Segundo Babe
Ruth League all-star team to advance to the
World Series. The team hit well and was led
by Bonham (.480, 9 RBIs), Martinez (.462, 6
RBIs), Ochoa (.429, 6 RBIs), Immel and Dylan
Alcala (.357). On the mound Immel led the
Dylan Immel was one of the top defensive players in the Pacific
Southwest Regional Tournament
team with a 4-1 record, a 2.33 ERA with 13
strikeouts. Martinez ended with a 2-0 record
and 1.75 ERA as well as 19 strikeouts.
Lars Nootbaar was a 14-year-old who played
for El Segundo’s 13-15 team that reached
the 2012 Babe Ruth World Series. He led
the World Series in hitting and helped his
team place third. He’s now playing for the
Springfield Cardinals, the AA affiliate of the St
Louis Cardinals. He’s hitting .300 through 16
games since being promoted from Advanced A.
Nootbaar is Springfield’s top-hitting outfielder
and has helped his team to a first place tie
in the Texas League’s North Division for the
second half of the season. •