The Antioch Babe Ruth All-Stars defeated the Tri Valley All Stars 5-4 in extra innings last Thursday to win the Northern California State Babe Ruth Championship.
Ricky Delgado, the winning pitcher in the thrilling championship game, contributed to the cause with a clutch two-RBI base hit. Marcos Martinez was not only the starting pitcher for the Antioch squad; he also drove in the winning run in the top of the eighth inning.
The All-Stars went 5-1 in the tournament, and their outstanding play was highlighted by a pair of no-hitters.
Ace hurler Patrick McKnight opened the tournament with a no-hitter and near perfect game against Elk Grove. He faced only one batter over the minimum, striking out six over the course of the six-inning complete game (the game was called after the sixth due to the 10-run rule) to lead the All-Stars to the 10-0 win.
Patrick's no-hitter was just a really great performance that set the tone for the whole tournament, said manager Dan Peters. He had great control and was really throwing a great fastball.
Delgado got the start in the next game and threw four innings of no-hit ball before being relieved by Jeff Garrison, who completed the combined no-hitter with a perfect fifth inning, and Antioch downed McKinleyville 13-1 in five innings (due once again to the 10-run rule) to advance in the winners bracket.
Although the team lost to Tri Valley in its third game of the tournament, it more than avenged that loss on the tournament's final day, knocking off Tri Valley, most importantly in the extra-inning championship game.
It was just a great experience for the kids, said Peters. They were jumping up and down and ecstatic. The kids and the parents and the coaches we were all just on cloud nine. We really had a contribution from every kid on the roster at some point or another to help us win. That was really part of the fun of watching it happen. They have confidence and they believe in each other.
Thomas Riley helped lead the Antioch squad at the dish, banging out 11 hits and driving in eight runs. Jacob Peters notched nine hits and stole five bases, while Joshua Manci collected eight hits of his own and Martinez added an impressive 5-for-10 performance. Ronnie Brohman established himself as the team's leading power hitter, belting four doubles.
The 14-year-old Antioch all-star team will open play in the Southwest States Regional tournament against Chandler Arizona on Friday, Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. at the Baylands Athletic Center in Palo Alto. If the team can continue its amazing run and take home the Regional crown, it will advance to the Babe Ruth World Series in Quincy, Mass.
We're all excited about the prospect of going to the World Series the parents, the coaches, everybody but still working on fielding the ball and throwing and hitting strikes, said Peters. Every tournament, after every game, I'm getting 10 to 12 calls from local people who are involved with baseball in the area. The community is definitely already behind us as a team.