Four Delta Dawg squads made strong showings against teams from Northern California and Nevada. The 12U team reached its 13th championship title game, the 11U squad, a two-time USSSA champion, earned a fifth second-place trophy, and the 10U unit, also a past USSSA champion, earned a semifinal berth and a top-three finish. The 13U team also played well in Manteca, going 2-1 with wins over the Nevada-based Carson Valley Cougars and the Gold Rush of Folsom.
"It's always a pleasure for me and the umpiring crew to see the Dawg blue and gold on Sundays," said tournament director Rudy Rodriguez. "All the Dawgs and the organization serve as great models of what a competitive travel baseball team is all about."
The 12U Dawgs, a four-time USSSA champion, collected their ninth runner-up award after falling to the Livermore-based Tri-Valley Legends in the championship game. The Legends evened their record against the Dawgs and short-circuited the team's power surge, derailing its run at a fifth championship title.
A solid performance in pool play and the playoffs catapulted the Dawgs into the finals, defeating The Carnage from Manteca in pool play and the Oakdale Colts in the playoffs. The Dawgs rallied for two runs with two outs in the bottom of the last inning to narrowly escape with an opening game win, 5-4. The Colts turned the tables and snatched victory from the Dawgs in their pool play match-up with a two-run homer in the last inning, handing the Dawgs a heartbreaking 4-3 loss.
The undeterred Dawgs paid the Colts back in a tense, extra-inning playoff game, claiming an 8-5 victory by scoring three runs with two outs in the eighth inning. Ryan Smith, named the team's most valuable player for the weekend, delivered the winning blow for the Dawgs, a two-out, two-RBI double.
Smith batted .400 over the weekend to lead the Delta Dawg offense. Justin David also pitched solidly against the Colts, allowing only one earned run in five innings of relief to keep the Colts stabled and send the Dawgs onward to the championship game.
"It would have been sweeter winning our fifth title, but we can't complain about getting into another championship game and accepting our ninth first-runners-up finish," said coach Sean Halter. "All of these games were character building, and it just makes us want to work harder the next time to get over the hump."
The 11U Dawgs met the Solano Storm of Fairfield in the finals after routing the Nevada-based Wingfield Red Sox, 15-0, in three innings. However, the Dawgs could not overcome the strong Storm club, which earned its first win in three games against the Dawgs this season to claim the championship.
"The boys continued to play well and have fun," said Dawgs coach John Zamora. "And, like the 12U squad, we hope to build on this going forward. The Dawgs will always contend each and every week."
- Contributed by John David