Of the seven teams that began playing in the Little League II Junior All-Star Tournament in Stockton over the weekend, Half Moon Bay would have been among the least likely to be in the championship bracket semifinals.
The tournament takes place in Stockton during a typical 100-degree weekend. While the Half Moon Bay team could consider 80 an extreme heatwave, players from the other six teams, located mostly in the Northern Central Valley and East Bay, thrive in warm weather.
The locals survived the heat, however, winning Saturday and Sunday to play in Tuesday’s championship bracket final game against Rocklin. Results of the game were not available at press time.
The winner of Tuesday’s game plays in Thursday’s championship game while the loser plays at 5:30 tonight, needing to win tonight, Thursday and Friday to take the tournament.
Half Moon Bay’s bats were about as hot as the weather, getting 10 hits in Saturday’s 14-7 over Lincoln Glen, and 12 hits in Sunday’s 12-11 win over Benicia.
The best thing about Sunday’s win was that Half Moon Bay didn’t have to play Monday. The consolation semifinals took place Monday. Half Moon Bay needed the down time.
“They are tired,” coach James Salinero said.
It was so hot that an umpire became dehydrated and had to leave the game.
The rest will do Half Moon Bay good, since it needs some time to catch its breath. Half Moon Bay won the Section 3 title a few days earlier. Starting in the loser’s bracket, Half Moon Bay won four straight games, including a 13-12 decision over Mission-San Jose on July 18 to advance to the tournament in Stockton.
Half Moon Bay took the lead for good with a nine-run rally in the fourth inning. Mission-San Jose pulled to within a run in the seventh. But pitcher Phillip Anderson, who pitched out of a jam in the sixth, got out of another in the seventh, by inducing a routine fly to center.
Half Moon Bay rallied from a 6-1 deficit Saturday, erupting for seven runs in the bottom of the second and never looked back.
Jake Salinero’s double in the sixth scored Wyatt Stack with what proved to be the winning run in Sunday’s win. That gave Half Moon Bay a 12-6 lead at the time.
Benicia scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Benicia put two runners on in the seventh. Alex Hacker ended the game, when Anderson hit a routine pop at second.