The stakes were raised for Monday night’s meeting in San Jose,
as the Nationals faced elimination, while in the other dugout, the
Americans stood one win away from the district championship. The
back-and-forth affair that ensued surprised no one.
There isn’t anything much more thrilling for Little League enthusiasts around town than an all-Gilroy friendly tussle to decide a championship.
For the second time in three days, the Gilroy Little League 10-year-old American – managed by Mike Kachel – and National – skippered by Marshall Silva – All-Stars took the baseball diamond in District 59 tournament action.
The stakes were raised for Monday night’s meeting in San Jose, as the Nationals faced elimination, while in the other dugout, the Americans stood one win away from the district championship. The back-and-forth affair that ensued surprised no one.
Three lead changes later, the American squad outlasted the National 11-5 to claim the right to the District 59 crown and a berth into the state tournament.
After suffering their lone loss in bracket play three days earlier to the American side, the Nationals earned a trip to the championship round with a victory on Sunday. The American League went unscathed through the bracketed portion.
A three-run second inning, ignited by an Andrew Kachel two-out, two-RBI triple, set an early tone for the Americans. But the Nationals did the Americans two better in the top of the fourth, stringing together a five-run frame to grab a 5-3 lead. Key hits by Christian Rodriguez, Stevie Lemberger and Jacob Longworth made much of the five-spot possible.
Fittingly, the Americans tied matters in their half of the fourth and delivered a knockout blow the following inning, posting six runs for the 11-5 advantage. Brendan LeBlanc and Josh Keating had doubles in the big rally.
“What impressed me most about this team throughout the tournament was how they never got down when they were behind in games,” coach Kachel said. “They continued to battle and play six full innings of baseball.”
The American All-Stars begin the next phase of their summer Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Branham Hills Little League fields in San Jose.