Even with a strong 6-1 record in the district playoffs, the All-Stars faced their fair share of adversity. Against a strong Napa team, Antioch battled back from a 9-1 deficit in the fifth inning to win the game 15-12.
"We just had some persistence that day. They had a pretty good pitcher on the mound, and we finally got him out of the game," said manager Darren Machado. "Once we got him out of the game, we were able to see a lot of pitches and just hit our pitches."
The All-Stars boasted a high-octane offense on their way to taking the title. With a roster consisting of the top Babe Ruth Leaguers from Antioch, Machado estimated that they scored 85 runs throughout the seven games.
At the forefront of that powerful offense was pitcher/shortstop Joe Bustillos, who led the All-Stars with an average of two hits per game. First baseman Eric Morton had just seven hits, but he made them count. Machado said that Morton came through with a bevy of clutch hits and runners batted in.
Machado also praised the efforts of outfielders Connor Nasty and Jason Bodin.
Sean Smith led the pitching staff with a complete seven-inning game in the championship-clinching 3-1 win over Napa.
But after the All-Stars had won the division, they faced stiffer competition in the state playoffs. Though the team showed lots of heart and determination in the games, it was eliminated after losing the first two, 5-3 to Eureka and 8-3 to Oakland.
"We really hit well in the district tournament," Machado said. "But in the state tournament, we couldn't hit, couldn't knock in runs."
Although the season ended on a disappointing note, Machado feels that the players can hold their heads high.
"It's all about getting them ready for the competition they'll see in high school ball," said Machado, who is also the freshman team coach at Deer Valley High School. "I feel that they did well."