May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Irvine Bronco all-stars rally and top Torrance, earning berth in super regionals

Irvine Pony’s Bronco 12-and-under all-stars are headed to the super regionals. (Photo courtesy Irvine Pony Baseball).

Irvine Pony Baseball’s Bronco 12-and-under team earned a trip to the super regionals in Jurupa Valley with two victories this weekend in the regional tournament at Hicks Canyon Park in Irvine.

After losing the opener to South Bay 13-2, Irvine defeated Cypress 15-0 and Santa Ana 14-5 to get in position to advance.

On Sunday morning, Irvine defeated Torrance 5-4 to earn the No. 3 seed. Irvine lost its second game Sunday to Placentia 5-1 but had already qualified to move on. Placentia earned the number two berth. The Placentia squad qualified with a 10-8 victory over Santa Ana on Saturday.

The Irvine team is coached by Brad Gramlich. John Metcalf and Shea Stone are the assistant coaches.;

“We will be taking on the number one seed from the SoCal Southeast Region on Friday night,” Stone said.

In the victory over Santa Ana, the two teams battled for nine innings (two extra innings).

“Santa Ana is one of our favorite and most commonly faced rivals,” Stone said.

“While we ended up winning 14-5, the game was anything but lopsided. The score was tied 3-3 going into the top of the sixth and we scored a run to go up 4-3.  Santa Ana scored to make the game 4-4 in the bottom half of the seventh.

“In the bottom of the eighth inning, Santa Ana loaded the bases with two outs.  Santa Ana’s number two hitter hit a shot in the hole between shortstop and third base. Our shortstop Anton Le, slid on his knees to make a backhand play in the hole and threw him out at first.”

The play seemed to fire up the Irvine team which scored 10 runs in the top of the ninth. Santa Ana scored a run in the bottom of the ninth.  

Le pitched five innings giving up three runs.  Eli Jaurigue pitched four innings to close out the game, giving up two runs.

Offensively, Blake Gramlich was 5 for 6 with an RBI, JJ Metcalf was 3 for 5 with 2 two RBI and Jaurigue went 4 for 6 with three RBI and two doubles off of the fence.

“This morning, we needed to beat Torrance in order to advance to next weekend’s Super Regionals,”
Stone said. “We did so in similarly exciting fashion.  We were down 2-0 much of the game but scored three in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead 3-2.

“But in the top of the seventh, Torrance struck back and put up two runs to take a 4-3 lead.  Our team has a never quit attitude, though, and retaliated with two runs of our own. Eli Jaurigue started things off with a single. Then, Blake Gramlich hit a gapper to right-center to score Eli with the game-tying hit.

“Anton Le got on with a base hit next. Runners then advanced to first and third. Torrance then walked the bases loaded.  Preston Devore then got hit by a pitch which brought in the game-winning run.

“Nate Han pitched a gem and pitched into the seventh inning, carrying the Irvine squad.  Preston Devore ended up closing out the seventh getting the last two outs.”

Le went was 3 for 4, Gramlich was 3 for 3 with an RBI and Jaurigue was 3 for 4 with two RBI. Another member of the team, Waylan Stone (son of Shea Stone) was out of town but is expected back in the lineup next weekend.

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