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Manhattan Beach Little League/Girls Softball Week in Review: Exciting Playoffs Competition Yields Surprises

May 11, 2015 08:28PM ● Published by DigMB Staff

Andrew Beserra closes out the game for the Tigers in Majors Division playoffs.

Gallery: Manhattan Beach Little League Playoffs: Juniors, Majors, International Divisions Get in on the Action from May 9th On [4 Images] Click any image to expand.

Playoffs are in full swing for Juniors, Majors and International division players in Manhattan Beach Little League Baseball with Coast playoffs beginning this Sunday, May 17.

In Juniors playoffs, the Muckdogs and the Mudcats will battle it out on Thursday, May 14 at 6 p.m. at Marine Field at Marine Avenue Park. In an interesting note, the Muckdogs were seeded 7th out of 8 teams with the Mudcats the No. 1 seed.

Four teams (No. 2 seed Emeralds, No. 4 seed Nationals, No. 3 seed Sand Gnats and No. 5 seed Bulls) in the loser's bracket will compete on Tuesday, May 12 to see who continues in playoff competition.

In Majors Division playoffs, the No. 1 seed Rams team is still in the running to be champions, after defeating the Fightin' Irish. The Rams go up against the No. 5 seed Tigers on Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. at Marine Field at Marine Avenue Park. The No. 2 seed Sun Devils take on the No. 6 seed Huskies same time, same day.

In International competition, the No. 4 seed Eagles have advanced to take on the No. 1 seed and undefeated Barons Saturday, May 16 at 11:30 a.m. at Marine East Field at Marine Avenue Park. The No. 2 seed Grays go up against the No. 3 seed Cubans at 2 p.m., same park.

Now, for a look at the past week's play as competition in the playoffs heats up.


The High School Prep group's playoffs began on Tuesday, May 5th. Eight teams began the hunt for championship glory, with the No. 1 seeded Mudcats (with only one loss all season) living up to their regular season hype, winning their fist two playoffs games by the 10-run mercy rule, against the No. 8 seed Astros and No. 4 seed Nationals.  

The Mudcats are led by hard-throwing Merrick Baldo, lefty pitcher Ryder Theodore, and shortstop/pitcher Chase Meidroth. Moreover, it's a solid team up and down the line-up, with zero weaknesses. The team's manager is former 7-year professional and NCAA Division One Champion (from Texas) Robby Hudson. Indeed, the Mudcats look like a very tough out, and definitely the team to beat.

Perhaps primed to upset the top-seeded Mudcats is the surprise story from the first week of playoffs. The 3-win and No. 7 seeded Muckdogs upset the No. 2 and No. 3 seeded Emeralds (6-2) and Sand Gnats (10-5), respectively. The unexpected wins reflect a team peaking at the right time, behind hard-hitting catcher Matt DeVico and a corps of pitching that includes Sam Bogen, Dylan Eades, Theo Forshey, Dylan Marschall, and Evan Voss. Veteran MBLL manager and former pro Hugh Quattlebaum was heard saying, "We respect everyone, but fear no one."

The Mudcats and Muckdogs clash Thursday night, May 14th, with a berth in the Championship Game on the line; 6 p.m. at Big Marine Park.


Tigers vs. Waves in Playoff Opener

The Tigers and Waves met in a thrilling first round match up. Kyle Karros held the Tigers' offense scoreless for 3 innings with the Waves leading 3-0.  

In the 4th, Ian Draves drove in two runs with a double to the fence.

Down 3-2, the Tigers broke it open in the top of the 6th, scoring 8 runs. Noah Daniels started it off with a single up the middle, followed by Andrew Beserra's triple, a single by Ian Draves, Jack Walter's double, and singles by Derrick Lietzow and Mark Sowers. Lou Guerrero, Ian Draves, and Andrew Bessera held the Waves to four runs for a 10-4 win for the Tigers.

Huskies vs. Beavers

On Saturday, May 2 Cole Brunner carried the Huskies to a 7-5 victory over the Beavers on with a strong game at the plate and on the bump, reaching base three times for the Huskies. Cole singled in the third inning and doubled in the fifth.

The game was back-and-forth heading into the sixth inning, with five lead changes.

The Huskies finally managed to grab the lead after a strong sixth inning. A wild pitch scored Jack Kwon to give the Huskies the lead for good.

In the sixth inning, Cole held the Beavers hitless, allowed no earned runs, walked one, and struck out four to lock down the win.

Huskies vs. Bulldogs

An early lead gave the Huskies a 10-2 victory over the Bulldogs in the first round of playoffs on Saturday, May 9. The Huskies, the No. 6 seed, jumped out to an early lead on the Bulldogs, the No. 3 seed, capturing the 10-2 victory.

With seven runs in the first three innings, the Huskies left no doubt about the eventual outcome.

An RBI single by Griffin Moore and a two-run error during the second inning fueled the Huskies’ offense early.

Jack Kwon got on base three times in the game for the Huskies. He scored two runs and had two RBIs, and singled in the second inning.

Cole Brunner, Christian Penczar, and Cameron Thrower each had two hits also.

The Bulldogs couldn't get anything going as long as Landon Penney was on the bump. The Bulldogs managed just one hit off of the Huskies' pitcher, who allowed no earned runs, walked one, and struck out five during his 2-1/3 innings of work.

The Huskies increased its lead with four runs in the third. An error scored Christian Penczar and David Chase to start the scoring in the inning. That was followed up by Benjamin Franz's double, scoring Cameron Thrower.

The Huskies tacked on another two runs in the fifth. 

The Huskies also received solid pitching from David Chase and Cole Brunner to close out the game and secure the win. The Huskies play again on Saturday, May 16 against the Sun Devils.


Barons vs, Monarchs 

The Barons and Monarchs passed the lead back and forth seven times last Saturday at Marine-East, but in the end, the Barons pulled out a 5-4 win in six innings over the Monarchs to stay undefeated in regular season play and the playoffs. 

The Barons took the lead in the fifth inning and held on for the victory. A wild pitch scored Keith Daniels to give the Barons the lead for good. 

Daniels also paced the Barons at the plate, going 2-for-3 and scoring two runs. He tripled in the third inning and singled in the fifth. 

The top of the first saw the 9th-seeded Monarchs take an early lead, 1-0, over the top-seeded Barons.

The Barons quickly matched the Monarchs with a run in the bottom of the first. The Barons scored on an error, stolen base, and a passed ball.

The Barons brought home two runs in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Kyle Rivera, and added two more in the fifth. A single by Daniels brought in one run, and a wild pitch scored what turned out to be the decisive 5th run for the Barons.

Ryan Vena shut down the Monarchs while he was on the mound. The Monarchs managed just one hit off of Vena, who allowed no earned runs, walked none, and struck out seven during his three innings of work. 

Daniels got the win, allowing two runs over 1-1/3 innings, striking out two, walking none, and giving up two hits. 

Eagles vs. Buckeyes

A first-round playoff game between two closely matched teams, the Eagles and Buckeyes, lived up to its billing Saturday, May 9, at Live Oak Park. The 29-hit contest featured seven lead changes on the way to a nail-biting 12-11 finish for the victorious Eagles. 

The Eagles were undermanned due to injuries and scheduling conflicts, starting out with 9 players but going much of the way with only 8. That meant just two outfielders, opening up the offense for the Buckeyes, and an automatic out for the Eagles each time the 9th batter's spot came up. 

Still, the Eagles present smashed 15 hits, including a 4-for-4 day by primary catcher Kyle May, three doubles by the team and triples by Connor Thue and Finn Warren. A first-inning, bases-loaded screamer to deep left field by Luke Fratello threatened to blow the game open early, but an outstanding defensive play by the Buckeyes made it out No. 3 instead.

 A key play in the 4th saw the Buckeyes' leadoff batter roll a long grounder down the first base line into deep right field. Short an outfielder, the Eagles weren't well-positioned to cover the play, and second baseman Clay Gerrans bolted to the fence to grab the ball and get it in while the batter rounded the bases. Gerrans hit cutoff man Aiden Medrano, who fired home to Kyle May for the putout. That left the score 9-8 Eagles. 

Up 12-11 in the top of the 6th, Eagles pitcher Robby Bennett and his defense came up big. A pop fly made for the first out. An infield single by speedy Lachlan Norrie followed, but the next Buckeyes batter hit a grounder up the middle to shortstop Finn Warren, who stepped on second and threw to first for a game-ending double play. Warren's Eagles teammates mobbed him on the field, chanting his nickname, "Superman!" as they celebrated their first-round victory. 

Next up for the Eagles: the undefeated Barons.

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