Hurting inside

Travis Hill pitches for the Yankees at the Santa Cruz Little

Santa Cruz
– The Yankees would have liked to have earned a spot in the
championship game of the Little League Boys’ Minors (AAA)
Tournament of Champions. Instead, the team from Gilroy went home
with third place after an 8-2 loss to the San Juan/Aromas Angels on
Thursday.
The upshot? Free hot dogs and soda from the concession stand at
the Santa Cruz Little League field.
Santa Cruz – The Yankees would have liked to have earned a spot in the championship game of the Little League Boys’ Minors (AAA) Tournament of Champions. Instead, the team from Gilroy went home with third place after an 8-2 loss to the San Juan/Aromas Angels on Thursday.

The upshot? Free hot dogs and soda from the concession stand at the Santa Cruz Little League field.

And that wasn’t a bad consolation prize considering Yankees manager Todd Jones hadn’t expected his squad to make it as far as they did, to the final four of the TOC Tournament.

“No, I didn’t think we’d get this far,” Todd Jones said of his Headstart Nursery-sponsored squad, which finished with an overall record of 17-7. “We won a lot of close games here.”

The tough pitching of the Angels ultimately doomed the Yankees, the last Gilroy team standing at the tournament.

The Yankees kept it close for the first few innings. In the early going, catcher Jonathan Lester blasted a line drive that scored starting pitcher Kevin Jones for a run. Down 2-1 in the top of the third inning, Lester struck again, roping a deep triple to left field that scored Michael Dimas.

“Jonathan hit really well,” Jones said.

Lester’s shot evened the score at 2-2 – but not for long.

In the bottom of the third, the Angels belted some big hits to the outfield, including catcher Kory Moran’s three-run inside-the-park homer, which gave San Juan/Aromas a 5-2 lead.

The Yankees couldn’t get much offense going against Angels ace Adam Stephens, who pitched a complete game for the win. He allowed two Yankee hits in the latter innings, a single by Kevin Costa and a double by Lester, who went 3-for-3 on the night.

The Angels scored one more in the fourth inning and two in the fifth to put away the win. They go on to play San Lorenzo Valley in the championship game tonight at 6pm.

On defense, Kevin Jones, who was relieved by Travis Hill on the mound and moved to first base, and shortstop Alex Felix Garcia provided some web gems for the Yankees.

Though the Yankees’ postseason is over, seven Bronx Bombers – Costa, Lester, Hill, Felix, Kevin Jones, Jacob Campos and Jake Manning – were named to the American League Minors All-Star teams. The All-Star tournament begins June 27.

Todd Jones was proud of his team’s season.

“Everyone played a lot all season,” he said. “That’s one thing I’m proud of. It was very fair and a total team effort. We had no great players, we just played as a team.”

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