SUISUN CITY — The Napa American 8-9-10 All-Stars took the lead late in the game in a 15-11 victory over St. Helena in the first round of the Little League District 53 Tournament at Irving H. Lambrecht Sports Complex on Saturday morning.
Napa American collected 14 hits and St. Helena had eight in the high-scoring affair.
The game was tied 11-11 with Napa American batting in the bottom of the fifth when Leo Koford (1 for 4) singled on a 0-2 count, driving two runs.
Connor Zuehlsdorff started on the mound for Napa American, lasting 1 2/3 innings and allowing four hits and five runs while striking out four.
St. Helena starter Latif Basile surrendered five runs on four hits in the first, striking out one and walking one. Julian Earls, Braxton Ashley and James Politoski each contributed in relief.
For Napa American, Rory Schmitz drew three walks and scored a run, Zuehlsdorff went 2 for 3 with two walks and two runs scored, David Fernandez was 2 for 3 with a walk and three runs scored, Zee Raphael went 1 for 1 with three walks and two runs scored, Mikey McCormick reached base four times and scored twice, Hunter Weis was 1 for 3 with a walk and run scored, Leo Koford was 1 for 4, Riley Chambers went 1 for 4 with two runs scored, Justin Gay walked once and scored twice, and Alexander Winske singled.
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“We had a fun and exciting game with lots of hits,” said Napa American manager Eric Koford. “Our starting pitcher, Connor Zuehlsdorff, came out strong for us, we had our really good closer that hung in there, Riley Chambers, and the rest of the team all contributed at the plate with lots of hits. At no point in time did they give up. They continued to fight, every pitch, every inning, and I’m just really proud of them. They’re having fun with summer baseball.”
For St. Helena, Andrew “AJ” Smith walked four times and scored three runs, Hughie Davies racked up five walks and scored three runs, Julian Earls was 2 for 4 with a walk and run scored, Claus Russell went 2 for 5, Basile was 1 for 3 with a pair of walks, George Filippini walked once, Braxton Ashley drew two walks and scored a run, Skylar Frate had two walks and a run scored, and James Politoski went 1 for 2 with two walks and scored twice.
“It was exciting. The kids played a great game,” said St. Helena manager Mark Ray. “We utilized four or five pitchers. We made a couple of small errors fielding and a couple of little mental errors, and Napa American was able to capitalize on them.
“Overall I’m extremely proud of them, though. They did a great job. It was within just a couple of plays of the game being tied up and I think we gave them as much as we could. We’re going to try to go back out tomorrow at 3 p.m. and see if we can’t get the next one.
Napa American took on the Napa National-Fairfield Pacific winner at 12 p.m. Sunday, and St. Helena faced the Napa National-Fairfield Pacific loser at 3 p.m. Sunday.