After a remarkable 12-run rally in the seventh inning July 15 of a 16-6 win over Old Pro and then the blowout win in the first game Saturday, the question arose — can anyone slow down the Alhouse locomotive, does anyone have a chance against the momentum that team has at its disposal?
Turns out Ashton Chow and his Dutch Goose teammates had an answer. The Goose exploded for 11 runs in the second inning and Chow appeared to be in cruise control on the mound, holding Alhouse scoreless until there were two outs in the fifth inning. And when Chow recorded the third out in the inning it was all over, with Dutch Goose winning the Palo Alto Babe Ruth championship with a 13-1 victory.
So how did Dutch Goose bounce back from that drubbing in game one?
"That was reflective of our whole season," Dutch Goose head coach Vasken Giuragossian said. "We're a team that can do both extremes. A big blow-up, giving up eight or nine runs in an inning, and the next game shut down a team with our defense."
In the first game, five Dutch Goose pitchers combined to walk 12. Alhouse scored four in the second, three in the fourth and four more in the fifth. It was 12-3 heading to the bottom of the seventh as left-hander Joseph Hohl did an excellent job of inducing weak contact. He didn't strike out a batter in his six innings, but walked only one.
Dutch Goose managed three in the bottom of the seventh off an Alhouse reliever. It seemed like a mere footnote at the time, but turned out to be a precursor of what was to come in the second game.
"After the first game we just said, 'Let's have some fun, let's play loose,'" Guiragossian said. "Let's not overthink this. At the end of the day it's up to the kids. They were here because they love the game."
Chow faced the minimum six batters over the first two innings and in the bottom of the second Dutch Goose erupted for 11 runs. Wes Peterson got it started with an RBI double. A second run scored on a single by Shane Timmons, a third came home on a bases-loaded walk to Nate Donaker. Sean Li's sacrifice fly made it 4-0, and Nolan Cook's two-run double necessitated an Alhouse pitching change. Jake Papp put the capper on the inning with a two-run single.
And that was more than enough for Dutch Goose to emerge with the city championship in a year in which no all-star competition will take place.
"(We've) been very good in tough situations," said catcher and cleanup hitter Coco Vonderhaar, who made a couple of outstanding throws to cut down would-be base-stealers at second. "Every player on our team stepped up."
The Alpine 8-10 Little League all-star team rebounded from a tough loss the previous day with a strong game Monday, earning a 14-2 decision over Castro Valley in an elimination game of the Section 3 Tournament in Hillsborough.
Alpine gets another chance to take on Canyon Creek, which beat Alpine 9-8 on Sunday, with the tournament title on the line. Alpine needs to beat Canyon Creek twice to advance.
"We were in survival mode today," Alpine manager Ryan Sweeney said. "We used three pitchers in an effort to keep pitch counts low."
Alpine's offense also helped keep the pitch count down as the game lasted four innings with the mercy rule invoked.
Amit Garg, one of the three pitchers, collected two hits, including a hit that drove in three runs in the first inning. Anders Cahill, Brandon Sweeney, who hit a home run Sunday, Oli Coupe and Jake Scott each had multiple hits and scored a combined eight runs.
Coupe started the game for Alpine, gave way to Garg and Beau Cassel finished it.
Sunday's game was a classic, according to Ryan Sweeney.
"It was heartbreaking, but it was also a great reminder of why Little League baseball is so special," Sweeney said. "Neither team quit, both teams made great plays on defense, both had big hits and both teams made their share of mistakes. It was a classic Little League baseball game; it had all the elements."
Alpine and Canyon Creek were scheduled to play Tuesday evening after The Almanac's press deadline.
The Stanford Water Polo Club boys 18A team lost a chance to defend its title at the USAWP National Junior Olympics in a shootout Monday night at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine.
Vanguard Red A outscored Stanford A 6-1 over the final 12:25 of regulation to force the shootout and then outshot the 18As, 4-2.
Third-seeded Stanford did what it needed to qualify for the national quarterfinals, beating Tustin Patriot A 11-7 and SoCal Black A 10-8 earlier in the day.
Stanford (5-2) held an 8-3 advantage over Vanguard Red A with 5:25 remaining to play in the third period and entered the fourth up 9-7.
Vanguard Red A scored on a penalty shot to make it 9-8 with 1:16 left to play. Red A got another chance with 19 seconds left but Griffen Price, who has been brilliant throughout the tournament, made a great save.
The outlet pass, though, got away from Stanford and Vanguard took advantage, tying the score with 10 seconds left.
The shootout was tied at 2-2 when Vanguard scored to go up and Stanford missed off the crossbar. Vanguard secured it with another score.
Sixth-seeded Vanguard Black A handed defending national champion Stanford its only other loss in the tournament.
Gavin West, of Sacred Heart Prep, scored two of his three goals in the first period as Stanford scored the game's first four goals against Tustin and never trailed.
Greg Hilderbrand and Connor MacMitchell, both of Menlo School, and SHP's Bear Weigle and Will Swart each added a pair of goals.
Stanford A survived a physical match with SoCal Black A as Weigle and Swart each scored twice in the fourth period. Weigle put Stanford ahead to stay with 5:33 remaining to play.
The teams combined for nine goals over the first 26:25 and then combined for nine more the rest of the way. Hilderbrand and Weigle each had three goals.
In the 16 Championship Division, Stanford A split two games, beating Vanguard Red B 8-6 and then losing to Lamorinda A 12-10. Stanford A will play for 15th place Tuesday against an opponent to be determined at Estancia High at 2 p.m.
Stanford 16B, which started the tournament 2-1, lost twice 6-5 to San Jose WPF A and 16-4 to SoCal Gold A and will complete its round robin with an 8 a.m. game at Estancia against Chawp White A.
In the 14 Championship Division, Stanford A split two games, beating Newport Beach B 8-5 and then losing to Pride A 11-8.
The 14As were scheduled to play Mid Valley, which won an earlier game against Stanford in a shootout, for 11th, at 9 a.m. at Portola High on Tuesday. The 14As will improve upon their 15th place finish of two years ago.
In the 12 Championship Division, Stanford A split two games, losing to Lamorinda A 7-6 and then bounced back to beat Santa Cruz Waxem 14-9 and earn a spot in the ninth-place match against Trojan A at Mission Viejo on Tuesday after The Almanac's press deadline.
The 12As are also guaranteed a higher finish from two years ago.
The 12Bs lost to La Jolla A 12-6 and Newport Beach B 10-8 and were slated to play Trojan B at El Segundo Aquatic Center for 17th place Tuesday.
In the Classic Division, Stanford 18B dropped two matches Monday 17-11 to the San Francisco Warriors and 12-10 to Northern California B.
Stanford 18B meets Sacramento at Laguna Hills High Tuesday with fifth place at stake.
Stanford 14B split two games Monday, losing to Rancho Tsunami 20-12 and then coming back to beat Gold Coast in a shootout, 4-1, after the game was tied 7-7.
The 14B's meet Marin at El Segundo Aquatic Center Tuesday for a chance to finish ninth.
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