"I thought we played slightly under par and probably could've played better," said Driscoll. "And it probably should've been closer than it was. But everything seemed to go a little flat. La Cañada has a real good team, so they deserve credit."
If there was any aspect of the game La Cañada was better at than El Centro, it was making the most of opportunities. La Cañada only finished with two more hits than El Centro (10-8), but capitalized on three past balls and three throwing errors.
The biggest inning for La Cañada was the third, when it scored five runs on only two hits, but three walks and a hit batter allowed the first six batters to reach safely.
La Cañada scored all its runs in the first five innings and had an 11-2 advantage after four.
"I think our team started to come around and finally got adjusted to everything down here," said La Cañada coach Tim Trumbo. "We finally started hitting the ball and now our offense is starting to roll."
El Centro didn't get on the board until the third inning when Steven Armendariz scored on a base hit by Brock Russell. Juan Ramirez tacked on another run in the frame, scoring on a La Cañada error.
El Centro cut into the deficit in the fifth as Dustin Driscoll scored on a La Cañada throwing error.
La Cañada had a 12-3 lead heading into the seventh but El Centro added two more.
Ramirez kicked off the seventh with a walk and two batters later moved to second on a Russell single. With two outs and runners on first and second, Julian Arballo ripped a shot down the third base line, scoring Ramirez and Russell. Ralph Mendivel followed with another El Centro hit, but the rally ended with a Robert Rodriguez line out.
"I think we could've played better than we did. We just had too many errors. I just think that (La Cañada) played their hearts out. I guess they just wanted it more," said Ramirez.
Added Arballo: "I think we had a pretty good team and we've played better than this. How we did in this tournament didn't reflect how good we could've done. To me it was just fun to play on the all-stars. I had fun even though we lost and got beat both games."
In the earlier game, West Torrance shut out Simi Valley 16-0, winning the game via the 10-run rule in the sixth inning.
In Monday's games, La Cañada will play West Torrance at 6 p.m. at Stark Field in El Centro. The Northend all-stars, made up of players from Brawley and Calipatria, will play La Crescenta following the first game.
14-year-old Babe Ruth
SIMI VALLEY — The El Centro all-stars defeated Temecula 5-3 in the 2001 Babe Ruth Southern California 14-year-old state tournament here Saturday. El Centro will play Torrance at 4 today.