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Strong San Bernardino start for Lakeside all-stars

Hart three-hits Nevada state champions
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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After yielding a long ball to the second batter he faced, Lakeside Little League’s Mitch Hart settled in and showed the all-stars from Legacy Little League what Northern California found out last week. Using some outstanding defense at his back, and notching seven strikeouts along the way, the right-hander tossed a complete game three-hitter to lead the Northern California Major division champions to a 7-1 win in their pool-play opener at the Western Region tournament in San Bernardino. “Mitch didn’t have his ‘A’ game today,” said Lakeside manager Bill Rockefeller. “The pitch the kid hit out was a curveball, and Mitch didn’t have his good curve today. We stopped throwing it and went with gas and then came back with the knuckleball later on.” Things looked good early for the youngsters from Henderson, Nev. Friday night at Al Houghton Stadium, as southpaw Dylan Pletsch owned the first frame. He fanned two in a three-up, three-down top of the first, and then blasted a solo shot to the opposite field to give his team a 1-0 advantage after one stanza. Hart allowed single hits in the second and third innings, but gave up no knocks down the stretch. After an error allowed a runner to reach for Legacy in the fourth, he was erased when Nick Frank turned a double play to end the inning. Hart set down the final six hitters who dared enter the batter’s box. After struggling to get the sticks untracked in the first two innings, the 12-year-olds from Granite Bay and Loomis finally found their groove with a five-run third. “They have a very good pitcher,” Rockefeller said. “We were off the first time through, but the second time through the order we got to him.” After a walk and a strikeout to begin the third, Frank ripped a double, and then Lakeside evened the score on a Billy Rockefeller infield single. A two-out walk to Connor Briare proved Pletsch’s undoing, as Grant Powers followed with a loud smash to right-centerfield. His two-bagger chased home a pair of runs, and after a passed ball and an error combined to give Lakeside two more, the five-run frame was in the books. Leaving the bases loaded in the top half of the fifth looked like it might cost Lakeside, but with Hart dealing, the lead was secure. Hits by Brett Munkdale and Briare and a sacrifice fly from Hart added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth, and Lakeside sits 1-0 in pool play. Zach Hall and Frank each had two hits for Lakeside, as each banged a single and a double Friday night. Arizona champion, Arrowhead Little League, from Glendale, is up next Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Arrowhead was a 7-4 winner over Hawaii Friday afternoon. Lakeside, Arrowhead and Southern California’s Park View Little League from Chula Vista all won Friday openers. “The Arizona team looks a lot like Nevada,” Rockefeller said. “They used three different pitchers Friday, but I think they saved someone for us.” The Southern California club ripped Utah 27-1 in Friday afternoon action to send a strong message to the rest of the field. Utah joined Hawaii and Nevada as opening-day losers, as four of the six teams will survive four pool-play games to reach next Friday’s semifinal round.