On June 29, 2015, a group of 13-year-olds from a couple of towns south of San Francisco came together with the ultimate goal of winning a Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series title.
Just less than two months later, it is a mission accomplished for these youth athletes from the Tri-Valley, California Babe Ruth League.
Behind a 20-hit attack and three pitchers who combined on a two-hitter, the Pacific Southwest regional champions overwhelmed Tri-County, Maine en route to a 20-0 five-inning victory at Diethrick Park in Jamestown, New York.
Tri-Valley bookended the win with a nine-run first inning - the only time in the weeklong tournament it scored in the opening frame - with an RBI double by Tommy Gavello, a two-run double by Asher Golden, an RBI single by Cory Steinhauer, an RBI single by Trevor Jackson, a two-run error, and a two-run single by Beau Garratt.
A single by Jaden Sheppard, and a single by Michael O'Hara during the second inning helped the Pacific Southwest champs put two more runs on the board early.
California added three more runs in the fourth, which included a two-run single by Max Masajilo, and five in the sixth, which included a two-run double by Garratt.
Tri-Valley's defense was just as good, not making an error and ending the game when shortstop Jack Grant speared a lone drive and doubled off a Maine runner who had wandered too far off first base.
No. 3 hitter Beau Garratt capped his tournament with a 2-for-4 day, including a double and four RBI's, as the first baseman/pitcher earned the Most Outstanding Player Award. "This means everything to me. I've always wanted this, especially winning Most Outstanding Player," Garratt said. "It's really a big journey with everybody, all of my teammates, everybody. It's been a lot of fun."
Maine was hurt by four errors and several other hard-hit balls on which plays could have been made. Three pitchers also combined to walk five batters.
"We just ran out of gas. We put our heart and soul into it. We probably weren't deep enough with our pitching to make it through," said Tri-County, Maine manager Tom Morton. "I cannot express all my joy of coaching these guys. They've been great from the very beginning. We set some pretty high goals and really seemed to rise to the challenge."
Asher Golden locked up the tournament batting title with a 3-for-3 day in the championship game, including a double and three RBIs. Cory Steinhauer had three hits, while Masjilo, Garratt, Josh Anderson and Jaden Sheppard had two hits apiece in the win. Sheppard, a Ron Tellefsen Player of the Game, threw the first three innings, allowing one hit while striking out two before Evan Chevalier and Golden each threw an inning of relief. Rodney Bean, a Ron Tellefsen Player of the Game, and Jonny Pruett had hits for Tri-County, Maine.