MURRIETA – The end of summer vacation is going to be here soon enough and for many of the travel teams that play baseball or softball in the area, the end of summer means one thing, World Series.
A large amount of travel ball organizations hold their largest tournaments of the season around this time every year, and though it comes with a heavy price, hard work, and lots of practice time, it also creates memories for families that will last a lifetime.
The Murrieta-based travel baseball team Cal Select 10U successfully concluded their spring season by winning the 2013 Xtreme Diamond Sports World Series on July 22-27 in San Diego. The annual event features top teams across various ages (8U to 16U) from the western United States and Hawaii who battle for the coveted championship title.
Though ranked #13 (CTBA) and not expected to win the world series this year, they finished with a perfect 7-0 record and defeated the nationally ranked (#13, TBS) El Monte Dukes 13-2 in the title game.
The Cal Select began pool-play on Tuesday, July 23, against the San Diego Longhorns overcoming them by a score of 12-4 with stellar pitching, tenacious defense, and timely hitting. Wednesday’s pool game against the gifted Chino Hills Thunder club featured more of the same, with Cal Select pounding out 19 hits and scoring 16 runs in the victory. Thursday’s pool game brought a contest with Inland Empire Elite team, a squad well-acquainted with championship baseball.
A determined Cal Select defeated IE Elite by the score of 9-1 in only five innings. Cal Select’s second pool game on Thursday came against the San Francisco based club, Bay Area United. Again, the combination of Select’s hot hitting (which amassed 13 runs), dominant pitching, and error free defense held BA United to only one run.
By the end of the 15-team pool-play rounds, Cal Select earned the third seed with a 4-0 record behind the nationally ranked El Monte Dukes (4-0, #1 seed) and Hawaii’s Zone Baseball Club (4-0, #2 seed).
The first playoff rounds on Friday pitted Cal Select against the number 6 seed, San Diego’s Team Mizuno. Select defeated Mizuno 5-0 to advance to Saturday’s semi-final game against the undefeated Zone Baseball Club. Cal Select’s stellar play earned the club another victory over Zone by a score of 12-0. The semi-final win placed Cal Select (6-0) in a Saturday championship match-up with the well-coached and gifted El Monte Dukes (6-0).
The high-energy battle between the two determined squads featured spirited cheering from the stands and all the intensity 10-year-olds could muster. Cal Select took a 3-1 lead in the second inning and never looked back, collecting five more runs in the third inning, three more in the fourth inning, and two additional runs in the fifth inning to clinch the title by score of 13-2. The excitement and energy was tangible as the title game concluded with a celebrative Cal Select dog-pile near the pitchers mound.
Overall, Cal Select’s offensive eruption (including four homeruns and a grand slam in the championship game) lasted the entire tournament outscoring their opponents 80-23, and earning their eleventh trip this year to a championship contest.
Coaches Sef Soto and Joe Holden said, “The boys hit the ball really well and played nearly error-free baseball, they should be proud of how they played after they worked so hard on the fundamentals all season long.”
The tournament brought to a close a 77-game spring season with an overall record of 56-17-4, which included 11 champion/finalist finishes, Murrieta Valley Pony Unlimited Mustang Division and League title, and a cherished XDS World Series title.
Assistant Coach Joe Holden said, “Each player came with the same intensity and confidence they exhibited all year, and was the engine that drove their intense desire to overcome any obstacle.”
Cal Select 10U is now ranked #32 in the nation for 10-year-olds.
For more information on Cal Select, visit www.calselectbbc.com.
JP Raineri contributed to this story.