With his team leading the Diamondbacks, 8-1, Coach David Stoothoff huddled with his Red Sox Little League players before they went out on the baseball field in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday, June 3, at Monarch Elementary School in Los Osos.
“We just need three more outs to win this championship,” he told his players (ages 8-11), after which they hustled out to their defensive positions.
The Red Sox got those three outs without another run scoring and celebrated their championship in the AAA Minors division of the first-year organization, Coast Little League, which coordinates competition among teams in Los Osos, Morro Bay, Cayucos and Cambria.
It was the first Cambria Little League championship since 2010, when the Cambria Reds won their title, ironically, on this very playing field. Stoothoff was an assistant coach working with Seth Sutherland and Kyle Ronemus that year.
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How did the Red Sox win this 2017 championship?
They played “without fear of failure,” Stoothoff explained. They were repeatedly reminded, “Don’t sweat strike one; you get another one. Don’t worry about walking someone; focus on the next pitch.”
Coaches assisting Stoothoff — Carmen Gonzales, Torsten Volz and Jerardo DeAlba — helped to instill “a positive mindset” all season, Stoothoff continued. “We worked on hitting, pitching and where to throw the ball.”
By repeating the fundamentals at practice and assuring the players they could succeed, the coaches instilled in the Red Sox the mindset to that helped them battle through the season, win their playoff opener, and to come through when the season was on the line.
On June 3, the Red Sox received “stellar pitching” from Dane Volz, Daniel Stoothoff, Jovan Merlos and Jack May. Andrea Aguilar and Alonzo Palma played terrific defense and the team benefitted from solid hitting performances by Koa Crampton, Cameron Lehreman, Volz and Giovanni Garcia.
Red Sox 16, Giants 13
The Red Sox got into the championship game by defeating the Giants 16-13 in their opening playoff game Tuesday, May 30, at Leffingwell Field. The Red Sox were behind 13-6, before roaring back to take the lead.
Stoothoff said the big blow for the Red Sox was “Koa Crampton’s two-out laser in the bottom of the fourth inning.” In previous games, the team was “intimidated” by the Giants’ tall pitcher, the coach recalled; but this time the Red Sox got to him in the fourth inning with a walk, an error, another hit, and then Crampton’s shot to left field.
Merlos contributed three hits and drove in eight runs; Daniel Stoothoff and Aguilar each had multiple hits; and Aguilar got the game ball because of her pivotal defensive efforts. She made a dazzling over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory, and performed brilliantly at first base.
In addition to his coaches, several parents were on hand for every game, and they were “very positive and very excited to watch their kids have some success,” Stoothoff concluded. “I plan on keeping this team together, and I predict much success for this group.”
Pirates 6, Reds 5
The Cambria Reds Intermediate Little League team was nipped 6-5 by the Pirates on Wednesday, May 31, at Monarch Grove Elementary School, ending their chance at the playoffs.
It was a hard loss to swallow for Coach Matt Saunders, because the Pirates won it on a walk, a wild pitch and a steal of home in the seventh inning.
“The Reds made so many great plays and the whole lineup contributed on offense,” Saunders said.
He also mentioned the four “brilliant innings” pitched by Ahnase Martin, which gave the Reds a 3-1 lead after four innings. However, the Pirates “just kept chipping away” and came out on top, much to the disappointment of a team that played very competitively all season.