The Half Moon Bay 9- and 10-year-old Little League All-Star team bowed out of the District 52 tournament on Sunday, falling 5-3 to San Mateo American. The local team was just two games short of the winner-take-all championship game.
Half Moon Bay finished the double-elimination tournament, 3-2, with wins over Menlo-Atherton, Foster City and San Carlos, and losses to both San Mateo American and National. The two San Mateo teams will face off in the tournament’s championship.
On Sunday, Half Moon Bay pounded out 13 hits but could only muster three runs. The team was playing its third game in as many days, which wore on the players, according to manager Mike Crudeli.
“They were gassed,” Crudeli said, noting that many San Mateo players are members of travel teams and are used to playing a handful of games in one weekend. Still, Crudeli was proud of his team’s effort.
“We lost,” Crudeli said, “but we took something out of them.”
Half Moon Bay staved off elimination twice over the weekend, beating Foster City, 5-2, on Friday, and San Carlos, 4-2, on Saturday.
Brody Crudeli and Riley Jackson combined for six hits and five runs on Friday as Half Moon Bay jumped out to a five-run lead against Foster City.
Early RBIs from Jackson and Dylan Modena keyed a three-run first against San Carlos, and four pitchers combined to allow only seven hits.
Half Moon Bay topped Menlo-Atherton, 3-0, on June 23 behind a stellar pitching performance from Jackson, who struck out five, over four scoreless innings. Jackson finished the tournament with 10 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched.
Modena’s first-inning single provided all the scoring Half Moon Bay needed. The younger Crudeli added three hits and shut the door with a scoreless sixth inning to seal the win.
Mike Crudeli said the opening win was the most satisfying because Half Moon Bay had lost to M-A on a walk-off hit last year.
“That was the one that got the ball rolling because they looked past us,” he said.
Half Moon Bay ran into heavyweight San Mateo National on June 26, falling, 1-0, in extra innings.
Crudeli and Modena led Half Moon Bay in hitting for the tournament, with nine hits each.