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West Torrance claims Southern California Babe Ruth title

July 26, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

It is said that player's or team's character is defined by how the player reacts when faced with adversity.

The players who turn negatives into positives often end up on top.

Such was the case for the West Torrance 13-year-old Babe Ruth all-star team. Coming off a loss in its first game of the 2001 Southern California Babe Ruth tournament, it used that loss as a wake-up call in winning the tournament championship over La Crescenta at Stark Field in El Centro on Wednesday.

West Torrance needed two wins Wednesday to get the job done, and downed La Crescenta 11-0 in the first game, ending it in the fifth inning via the 10-run rule. That forced the final contest in which West Torrance picked up a 3-2 victory.

Pitching dominated the second game. The teams only combined for 10 hits (seven by West Torrance) and didn't score more than one run in any inning.

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Clutch hits in key situations that made the difference for West Torrance.

Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth with one out, a hit by Jesse Dominguez started a rally for his team. Dominguez advanced on a Ryan Wheeler hit and scored the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice. That run turned out to be the championship clincher.

"In the first game (of the night) against them we went in not knowing what to expect. We were primarily focused on forcing a second game," said West Torrance manager Dan Torres. "That first game was a blowout, but things were a lot closer in the second. La Crescenta really showed a lot of character in that game and they showed that they were still there."

Torres said it was his squad's 5-4 defeat to La Crescenta earlier in the tourney that may have made the difference.

"In the long run, in hindsight, that opening loss helped us. We entered this tournament with a lot of confidence. Then we lost our first game and I think that was a wake-up call for us," said Torres. "Coming into tonight that loss was on our minds. We knew that they would be our toughest competition, but we felt we could get it done."

Torres' squad got it done, but in contrasting fashion.

In the first game, West Torrance's offense delivered, scoring 11 runs, including a seven-run fifth.

Leading West Torrance was Jesse Dominguez, who picked up the win on the mound, giving up only one hit. He finished 1-for-2 with a two-run double and a run at the plate.

"Both were pretty good games," said Dominguez of the evening. "On offense, we capitalized on their mistakes and we just made some plays on defense. Now we're just ready to move on."

West Torrance will play Aug. 2 in Visalia against the winner of the Northern California tournament.

Said La Crescenta manager Gilbert Camacho: "Torrance is a great team and they deserve all the credit. Coming into the tournament I expected us to go two and out. I never expected us to be in the championship.

"But our kids were hungry, they fought hard and made it the championship. I think we may have overachieved and were really like a Cinderella team. Even though we lost in the championship, I'm very happy with how our team did. I'd rather take second place than last place."

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