Newport Beach and Aliso Viejo played for the third time in the past six days, with each All-Star team winning one game. But Aliso Viejo’s 1-2 punch of Lucas Buratti and Sam Carducci proved too much for Newport Beach to overcome.
The two players combined for four hits and three runs at the plate, and allowed only three hits in six innings of pitching to lead Aliso Viejo to a 5-3 victory Tuesday in the championship game of the 2012 District 55 All-Star Tournament for 9 and 10 year olds at Woodfield Park in Aliso Viejo.
Newport Beach sailed through the winner’s bracket, outscoring its first three opponents, 32-4, including a 6-0 victory over Aliso Viejo. But after the loss, Aliso Viejo won its next four games to reach the championship game, including a 14-4 victory over Newport Beach on Monday, to force a second game in the double-elimination tournament.
“We have a lot of strong competitors. We’re a tough team, a gutsy team, and these kids fight to the end and they never quit,” Aliso Viejo coach Paul Buratti said. “They worked hard and it paid off.”
In the final game, Aliso Viejo grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a Buratti lead-off double, followed by a Carducci single, and both players scored on separate wild pitches by Newport Beach pitcher Jack Hopkins.
“It’s big anytime you get a lead," Paul Buratti said "Your pitcher feels a little more comfortable and gets in a little better groove.”
Buratti made that lead stand up until the third when Newport Beach roared back with three runs on an RBI single by Cade Overfelt, and RBI sacrifice flies by Ryan Borquez and Troy Smith.
However, Aliso Viejo tied the game, 3-3, in the bottom of the third when the shortstop threw the ball away attempting to turn a double play, allowing Aidan Booth to score.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Carducci relieved the starter Buratti, who allowed just three hits and struck out three, and Newport failed to score.
But in the bottom of the fifth, Buratti again led off with a single, took second on an error and third on a single by Carducci. After Buratti was forced out at the plate, Carducci scored when Conner Bane hit a slow roller to second base and beat the throw home.
Aliso Viejo added an insurance run on an RBI sacrifice fly by Tyler Mazzagatte, scoring Aidan Booth.
“They can get motivated," Paul Buratti said of his players. "When they are ready to go they are ready to go. We knew when we if we can get our leadoff on, when Lucas got that hit to start us off, we knew at that point it was going to be ours."
That left it up to Carducci, who struck out the side in the sixth and retired all six batters he faced. Hopkins also pitched well for Newport Beach, allowing just six hits and two earned runs in going the distance.
“I told my kids after the game that I wouldn’t trade them for any player on that (Aliso Viejo) team, and I meant it,” said Newport coach Brent Overfelt. “We played great.”