By Luke Johnson
Antioch Babe Ruth’s 15-year-old All-Star A-Team became NorCal-District 3 Tournament Champions after defeating the Northern Solano’s All-Stars, 9-4, on Monday, July 1, in a late night contest at Antioch Babe Ruth Fields.
Antioch fell short the first game of the tournament, in a double-elimination format, to its bitter rival Vallejo in a fierce battle that consisted of four lead changes. This forced Antioch into a situation where the team had to four straight games in the next two days in order to capture the district title.
“I think it was a good shock for them knowing they are not untouchable or unstoppable,” Antioch Assistant Coach Garret Tamborski said. “It definitely brought them back to earth, and I think it actually helped us out in the long run.”
Antioch’s pitching prevailed in those fours games with Nasser Issa pitching a complete game shut out in the team’s second meeting with Vallejo. Issa spent 11 total innings on the mound in the tournament only allowing two earned runs, while his teammate Salvador Lopez went 13 innings with four earned runs.
“It was a great team effort, [with] great defense,” Issa said. “I’m one of those players that like to get everybody up, ready to play, ready score and ready to win.”
In game two Antioch’s A-Team faced Antioch’s B-Team. With Lopez on the mound, the A-Team only need six innings before defeating the B-Team in a 10-run mercy rule. Later that day Antioch took on Vallejo in a grudge match where Issa threw his shut out, only allowing three hits in seven innings.
“Since day one I knew we were deep in pitching,” Antioch Manager A.J. McNally said. “I put them in the positions they had to play, and they are the ones that made the plays.”
Antioch eased past Northern Solano in game four, 9-5, to ensure an all-or-nothing game 5. But due to field arrangements, the game was delayed an hour and a half.
Vallejo and Northern Solano’s 13-year-old All-Stars had an ongoing game on Burke Field with the sun setting. That caused them to switch to Regoli Field due to it is the only Antioch Babe Ruth park with lights.
Once the deciding game finally began between the 15-year-olds All-Stars, Antioch again easily succeeded Northern Solano finishing them off, 9-4, to clinch the NorCal-District 3 trophy in a bout that went until 11:24 in the evening.
“This means everything,” Tamborski said. “After losing the first game, coming back, [and] winning four straight. [I’m] just so proud of the kids and all the work they put in.”