Encinitas beats ENLL for Distrtict 31 Majors crown
It was a bit of déjà vu for local baseball fans at the Little League All-stars District 31 Majors tournament on July 4, as Encinitas defeated Encinitas National for the championship.
For some of the Encinitas players, it was their fourth consecutive year winning the District 31 crown, and the second year in a row they faced off against ENLL in an all-Encinitas championship game.
This year’s result was a 13-0 victory for ELL that featured a great all-around performance.
“It’s pretty cool. Win or lose, these kids will see each other in school and always have these memories,” said Encinitas manager Gary Pederson. “They are our big rivals and last year they beat us in an earlier game so we had to beat them twice to win the championship.”
One victory was enough this summer as the terrific trio of Garrett Warner, Carson Quinn (two innings) and Bryce Gilmore (11 pitches, nine strikes in the final frame) held Encinitas National to just two hits. It was an impressive feat as ENLL features big boppers Brennen Davis and Mike Prince and had put up scores of 22 and 19 runs in earlier tournament games at Mountain View Park in Escondido.
But on July 4, it was ELL providing the fireworks. After taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, the eventual winners scored four runs in the second inning, highlighted by Pete Knorr’s mammoth home run. Following a scoreless third inning, Encinitas came through with seven runs in the fourth to send the game into mercy-rule territory.
Bode Horton, Gilmore, Knorr and Warner each had two hits for ELL, while Teagan Pederson and Braden Mazone each walked twice. Knorr’s homer was his second of the tourney, joining Pederson and Mazone to lead the team in that category.
Pederson also contributed big time with his arm, tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings in two of his club’s toughest D31 games — a 4-3 win over Del Mar on June 21 and the 4-2 victory over Poway American to send Encinitas to the title tilt.
ELL finished 5-0 to emerge from the 14-team tournament with the D31 crown and earn a spot in the Section 6 tourney, which begins July 16 in Vista.
On Friday, the Encinitas players and coaches were scheduled to appear on the Fox 5 Morning Show.
The final score of the championship game overshadowed an excellent D31 run by Encinitas National, which pounded Carmel Mountain Ranch, 22-11, in a wild tournament opener. A 10-9 loss to Poway American made ENLL’s road tougher, but it bounced back with victories over 4S Ranch (6-5 on June 25), Solana Beach (7-1, on June 27), Escondido American (19-3 on June 29) and Del Mar National (7-6, on July 1).
That set up a rematch with Poway American, and ENLL won that game, 4-3, on July 3 to set up the all-Encinitas final.
In addition to Davis and Prince, ENLL got strong performances from Jake Batista, Brody Bevacqua, Christopher Castor, Cole Dondanville, Hayden Drumm, Chase Gianni, Thomas Greupner, Justin Grossman, Noah Lazuka, Crew Schenk and James Tucker.