The Little League season for Cambria’s teams — the Giants, Cardinals and Reds — has ended, and notwithstanding that none of the teams enjoyed winning records, all three coaches expressed the thought that learning teamwork, baseball skills and rules, and social skills, highlighted the season.
Cambria Cardinals coach Bob Kasper — whose team went 7-10, the best record of the three teams — said he got great production from his infield. Although players are asked to move around and play several positions, Kasper’s starting infield was composed of the following players: “slick fielding Henry Wright” played first base; “heads-up Emiliano Peña” played second; Alan Nunez was “terrific” at shortstop, and Aidan Kasper “locked down” third base. Starting catcher Morgan Walker Whitebear set the stage for a great season by throwing out the first two runners who tried to steal second base.
Pitchers of distinction for the Cardinals included hard-throwers Jonathan Cleave and Anhase Martin, and Aidan Kasper was the “most consistent” on the mound. His strongest outfielders were Cyrus Tathum (“always hustling”), Bryson Martinez (“most improved”), and Andy Garcia (“quick learner”). His most versatile player was Ryan Kasper, who played eight of the nine baseball positions but wants to play all nine next season.
Gary Stephenson, the Cambria Reds’ coach, said though his squad didn’t win many games, they were “the most supportive group of Reds I’ve ever coached. Our team worked hard and overcame inexperience.”
The coach cited Braiden Beauchaine as a “perfect example of what hard work will do. He came in late but worked hard to get better and became a player I could count on to put the bat on the ball.”
Another player noted by Stephenson was one of the few girls playing Little League this year, Riley Volz, younger sister of Coast Union’s Chase Volz: “I would point to Riley and say to the team, ‘Let’s all hustle like Riley.’ ”
The Reds’ youngest player, Michael Sison, “played at a high level,” and David Amodei made “remarkable plays in center field, by far the best center fielder I’ve seen on the Reds.”
Nate Markham and Zack Stephenson (both good hitters and pitchers) will be leaders next year, the coach predicted, and the Reds will sorely miss Emmany Plasencia and Magnus Marthaler, talented players and “awesome people” both of whom “aged out” of Little League.
Matt Saunders, coach of the youngest Little League team in Cambria, the Giants, gives game balls to outstanding players even when the team struggles. Losing 14-5 to the Morro Bay Pirates on June 2, Saunders awarded game balls to Alex DeAlba (for stealing home) and Ben Merlos (“he played absolute great defense”).
Saunders is proud that many “first-time players seemed to have fallen in love with the game. … It was a fantastic season of learning and growing by a talented young group of kids.”
Cambria has a lot to be “excited about” in the future because there is a lot of talent in Little League, and his players “all really came together as a team, and are excited to have new friends join them next season,” Saunders explained.
He is also proud that his son, Robert Saunders, got to pitch this past weekend at the Tournament of Stars all-star game in Nipomo (for players ages 8 to 11 from Cambria, Cayucos, and Morro Bay).