Lamorinda Baseball Club
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Monarchs Win NYBC National Championship

Monarchs Rule the Youth Baseball Kingdom!

(Click here to watch a video of this game)

The twelve-year-old baseball version of the 1980 Miracle on Ice took place in Memphis this past weekend.The AAU National Champion Lamorinda Monarchs from Northern California defeated the two-time National Champion Tomateros de California 2-1 in the finals of the third National Youth Baseball Championships (NYBC).  The NYBC brings the national champions of eight organizations together for a unified National Champion.

Unlike Little League, the eight organizations of the NYBC play by Major League Baseball rules.  The NYBC is played on a much larger field than Little League and with rules that allow steals, balks, and dropped third strikes, for example.  The teams of the NYBC are generally considered to be significantly better than the Little League teams.

The Southern California Tomateros (USSSA champions) entered the game with an 89-1 record and had already beaten the Monarchs four times this season, including a 12-2 thrashing one day earlier in a pool play game.  Over the past two years, the Tomateros were 10-0 against the Monarchs.

In this game, however, Monarchs starting pitcher Nico Hoerner made sure it was his team celebrating at the end while the Tomateros watched on in disbelief.

In the top of the first inning, Hoerner blasted a home run over the camera tower behind the centerfield wall to drive in Isaiah Berry who had earlier doubled to center field.  That gave the Monarchs an early 2-0 lead and would prove to be all the runs the Monarchs would need.

The Tomateros answered with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first inning.  Zachary “Husky” Roberts drove in Willie Aguilar with a single to left field, but Hoerner was able to strand Roberts at third base by getting David Clausen to hit a weak grounder to first.

MonarchsNYBC2After the first inning, the pitching became the story.  Hoerner settled in and dominated the powerful Tomatero lineup.  He allowed four hits and walked one while striking out six in his six-inning, complete game performance.

The Tomateros mounted one last rally in the bottom of the sixth inning when they brought the heart of their order and three-straight All-Americans to the plate.  Aguilar led off with a double off the center field wall.  Hoerner then stuck out Roberts for the first out of the inning.  This brought the three-time All-American and 2009 Player of the Year Isaak Gutierrez to the plate.Gutierrez, whose nickname is “Ice” because of his history of game winning hits, drove a curveball to deep right field that brought the Tomatero fans to their feet.  But this night was going to belong to the Monarchs, and a gentle wind kept the fly ball in the park, and it nestled into right fielder Grant Hill’s glove.  Hoerner then struck out Clausen for the final out, and the Monarchs’ celebration began.

“The Tomateros are an amazing team,” said Monarchs Manager Guy Tucker.  “Nico did a great job of changing the way he pitched to them each time through the order.  He established his off-speed pitches early and that allowed him to go after them with his tremendous fastball late in the game.”

Gutierrez was just as dominant on the mound for the Tomateros.  After his shaky first inning, Gutierrez only allowed two base-runners the rest of the game and neither advanced to scoring position.
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Hoerner was named tournament MVP.  In ten innings pitched, he had two wins, nine strikeouts, an ERA of 1.80 and a WHIP of 0.80.  Offensively, Hoerner hit 0.600 and scored nine runs.  He had two home runs and drove in four.

Earlier in the day, the Monarchs advanced to the finals by beating the Banditos (NABF Champions) from Texas, 7-4.  Austin Garcia was the winning pitcher, going five innings and allowing 5 hits while striking out seven.  Isaiah Berry came on for the sixth inning for the save by striking out the side.
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Dylan Yasutake doubled in the fourth inning to drive in the tying run, and Berry followed with a double off the left field wall to drive in Yasutake and take the lead.

Andrew Urrutia and Nick Ultsch led the offensive attack.  Urrutia had two doubles and a triple.  Ultsch had two hits, a stolen base and an RBI.

In pool play, the Monarchs opened with two impressive wins over highly ranked teams to assure themselves a spot in the semi-finals.  In the first game, Hoerner was the winning pitcher in a 10-1 win over Team Rawlings (Super Series Champions) from Texas.

In the second game, Jason Fackrell drove in the tying run and then Kevin Sandri drove in Fackrell as the Monarchs came from behind to defeat Leon Medical Center (Pony Champions) from Miami 10-6.  Noah Burnham was the winning pitcher, allowing no earned runs in two and one-third innings.

“Winning those first two pool play games was an important key to the tournament for us,” explained Tucker.  “That made the pool game with the Tomateros meaningless.”

The NYBC is the brain child of Chicago White Sox minority owner Eddie Einhorn, who was in attendance along with Hall of Famer Rod Carew.  The event was broadcast live by MLB Network and covered on MLB.com.

“It has been an incredible ride, and it was an impossible dream,” said coach Tucker.  “At the beginning of the season, we set the goal of making it to Memphis, and we developed a plan that we hoped would give us a chance to beat the mighty Tomateros.  The players worked hard and stayed focused, and somehow they accomplished the impossible.”

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WATCH THE FINAL OUT OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

WATCH NICO’S HR IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

WATCH THE ENTIRE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

WATCH THE SEMI-FINAL GAME AGAINST THE BANDITOS


Monarchs Win NYBC Over Tomateros

Monarchs outduel Tomateros in all-California finale

And one player did it all.

Nicholas Hoerner shined in the finale, leading his Lamorinda Monarchs past Paramount’s Tomateros de California, 2-1, in the U-12 Championship game at Mark Neel Field.

On the mound, Hoerner struck out six while giving up only four hits and one run in six innings for the win. At the plate, he went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Isaiah Berry also went 1-for-3 with a run scored a run for Lamorinda while Austin Garcia added a hit for the Monarchs.

Across the diamond, it was Isaak Gutierrez who starred for the Tomateros, giving up both runs on three hits in six innings. He struck out eight, walked three and also notched a base hit. Zachary Roberts had two hits in three at-bats and third baseman William Aguilar had a hit in the losing effort for Paramount, who finished the season with a record of 89-1.

The Tomateros had won all 10 previous meetings between the two teams in the past two years, including Saturday’s 12-2 victory in the final day of pool play.