Lamorinda Baseball Club

Lamorinda Trojans Finish 2nd At Perfect Game World Series

EMERSON, Ga. – After a marathon for a semifinal game and a tornado delay in the championship game, the No. 10-seeded Elite Squad emerged as champions in the 13u Perfect Game World Series at LakePoint, beating the Lamorinda Trojans 14-6 in six innings.

The team jumped on Trojans starter Blake Burke early, thanks to a 3-2, 2-out double by Manuel Souffrain to give his team a 3-0 lead. Antonio Cabrera of the Trojans would respond in the bottom half of the inning after hitting an RBI double to the gap, picking up sixth double and his 16th RBI of the tournament. Although Lamorinda would respond, they could not shutout the Elite Squad’s bats in the top of the second inning. Three walks would start the inning off, and two passed balls led to runs crossing the plate for Elite Squad. After Justin Colon hit an RBI groundout, Giovanny Cueto stepped to the plate, and crushed a solo-home-run, his fifth extra-base hit of the tournament. The team would tack on a total of eight runs in the top of the second to take a commanding 11-1 lead.

The Trojans would not go down without a fight, though, and with their backs against the wall in the bottom of the fifth, down 12-3, the team would score three runs to avoid the run rule and make it a 12-6 game. Burke was a key contributor in that inning for the Trojans, blasting a two-run home run to right field to instill some energy into his team. Six would be all the team would get, though, as it was not enough to catch up to the hot offense of the Elite Squad, who would score two more in the top of the sixth inning to run rule the Trojans.

“I’ve been around these kids for a long time, and I have never seen a group of kids, 13 years old, hit the ball the way they can hit the ball, or pitch the ball the way they pitched,” said Elite Squad head coach Omar Borges. “We hit what, seven or eight home runs in the tournament. I don’t think any other team did it, so I believe that our bats carried us throughout the whole tournament.”

Borges certainly hit the nail on the head with that statement, with his team scoring 73 runs over eight games. Although they were held in check in two of their first four games, having lost to D-Bat Elite 3-7 and Keystone War Eagles 1-6, they scored no fewer than eight runs in their last four games, including a 10-1 victory against the Banditos Scout Team. The team was led by Cueto and Aiden Mocks. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Cueto finished the tournament with a .440 average (11-for-25) with a double, three triples, a home run, eight RBIs and four stolen bases. Macks, who hit behind Cueto for much of the tournament, finished the tournament by going 15-for-23 (.652) with two doubles, a triple, three home runs and eight RBIs. His performance warranted him the MV-Player award for the tournament, and Borges said that he had never seen a 13-year-old with as much power as Macks possesses.

“It means everything, because this is the best teams in the whole thing, and I’m one of the ones that won it,” Macks said on winning the award. “I was feeling like nobody could strike me out. [I tried] Just staying back on the ball, not laying forward, just staying back and hit the ball.”

Cole Ketchum received the ball on the mound for the Elite Squad and turned in six innings, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits. Although the line score does not reflect a stellar performance, Ketchum was brilliant through the game’s first four, before a tornado delay interrupted play for about 30-45 minutes. He would come back to finish off the game, securing the win for the Elite Squad.

“Well, we knew exactly what kind of tournament this was, and we knew it was going to come down to the end, so we made sure that we used our rotation accordingly,” Borges said. “We lost a couple of games in our pool games, but we were trying to make sure that we had enough pitching to carry us through the whole tournament.”

The team faced a dilemma in the semifinal game, which ran four hours and six minutes. With extra innings looming in a win-or-go home situation, Borges would bring in the ace of their staff, Logan Forsythe, in the fifth inning of that game to keep the game close. Forsythe would throw 5 2/3 innings, making him unavailable for the championship game.

“That was a tough one because it put our ace that I was planning on holding [Forsythe] for the championship game, and we had to use him. So, we relied on him, we knew they weren’t going to score runs against him and basically knew it was going to be a grind right until the end,” Borges said.

After the marathon game, the Elite Squad could have given in to the exhaustion, having been at the park before 9:00 a.m., but they were able to rally together to win the championship. Macks attributed the team’s energy in the championship game to the talking and cheering in the dugout, which he said helped lift their spirits and give them support. Borges was very proud of his team for fighting and staying strong through the delays and the long games, and gave credit to his kids, praising their play throughout the weekend.

“As a team and as an organization, I’ve been dealing with almost 75 percent of these kids since they were probably 5 and 6 years old, and as an organization this is a big win for us, this is something that I don’t think has been done before at 13u, so we’re very proud of the kids, and we’re proud that we can represent the name well. Now the kids, I’ve got to give it to them. It wouldn’t happen without them. It’s all about the kids,” Borges said.

Kai Francis would win the MV-Pitcher award for the tournament. Francis went eight innings, giving up just five hits and one earned run, striking out six. He was stellar against the No. 1-seeded D-BAT Elite in the quarterfinals, throwing a complete game, giving up four hits and just one earned run to advance the Lamorinda Trojans to the semifinals.