Local boys win Babe Ruth World Series

Tri-Valley 13-year-old team takes national tournament title

The Tri-Valley all-stars finished their summer as the nation's best, winning the Babe Ruth 13-year-old World Series last weekend in Jamestown, N.Y.

The local squad, comprised of young teens from Pleasanton, Danville and San Ramon, wrapped up the week-long tournament with a 6-1 overall record and sealed the victory in convincing fashion, a 20-0 drubbing of Maine in the championship game Saturday.

The finale offered a measure of redemption for Tri-Valley, which lost their World Series opener to Maine earlier in the tourney.

Team manager Tony Battilega credited the boys' hard work and dedication during their nearly two-month summer baseball season.

"Although school has officially started and the 13-year-old boys (some now 14) didn't get much of a tan or catch many fish, Tri-Valley spent the summer learning many lessons about life, themselves, teamwork, humanity and what it takes to be a champion," he said in an email.

The tournament began with the 10 qualifying teams from across the country separated into two divisions for round-robin play. The top three finishers from each division advanced to a single-elimination bracket to determine the winner.

Representing the Pacific Southwest region, Tri-Valley started with a 6-5 loss in their first game Aug. 15. The local boys battled back from a two-run deficit to tie the game in the top of the sixth, only to surrender Maine's eventual winning run in the bottom half.

"We were sluggish and didn't play well in Game 1," Battilega said.

Tri-Valley stormed back in their final three games in pool play, outscoring opponents by a combined 25 runs.

That stretch consisted of an 11-1 win against Florida (a game called after Tri-Valley scored 10 runs in the fifth inning), a 6-1 win over Washington and a 15-5 win over Ithaca, N.Y., in which the local boys overcame an early 4-0 deficit on the strength of a six-run third inning and four runs each in the fourth and fifth.

Advancing out of the American Division as the No. 2 seed, Tri-Valley beat another New York team, The Bronx, 8-2 in the first round of single elimination.

In the semifinal on Friday, they used a three-run third inning to propel them to a 5-1 win against the National Division's top seed, North Dakota, and set up a rematch with Maine in the championship game.

Tri-Valley scored early and often in the title match, opening with nine runs in the first inning, two runs in the second, three in the fourth and six in the fifth. The offense had 20 hits and was helped by four Maine fielding errors.

The pitching and defense also starred for Tri-Valley in the finale, where the team yielded only two hits -- both infield singles and ended the game with a double play to secure the 20-0 win.

Danville's Beau Garratt was named the World Series' Most Outstanding Player, and San Ramon's Asher Golden earned Most Outstanding Hitter. Four Tri-Valley players received all-tournament honors, and center fielder Joey Battilega of Pleasanton earned a Gold Glove award.

Other team members were Peter Montini (Pleasanton), Cory Steinhauer (Pleasanton), Max Masajlo (Pleasanton), Trevor Jackson (Pleasanton), Michael O'Hara (Danville), coach David Grant (Danville), Tommy Gavello (Danville), Jack Grant (Danville), coach Mike O'Hara (Danville), coach Matt Steinhauer (Pleasanton), Josh Anderson (Pleasanton), Kyle Harrison (Danville), Jaden Sheppard (Pleasanton) and Evan Chevalier (Danville).

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