Seven teams traveled from all over the state and joined Hawthorne Little League to watch their 11-12 year olds play America’s National Pastime in America’s Patriotic Home. The weeklong event left a lasting impression by those that visited and took part in the festivities that began on July 1 with opening ceremonies and the first round of games.
“I didn’t hear a negative thing all week,” said Hawthorne Little League president Jason Cardenas who put on the tournament. “The feedback I received was amazing. From every team to every family that came, everyone was more than pleased with how Hawthorne and our league represented itself in this tournament.”
And the baseball was pretty good too.
High Desert Little League out of Fernley went on to defeat Silverada out of Dayton 6-5 in the championship game Tuesday afternoon in a matchup that didn’t lack drama. Silverada loaded the bases in the last inning with no outs, but couldn’t push the game tying or go ahead run across the plate, and High Desert went on to celebrate on the field.
Tucker Hall helped lead the way for High Desert with a three-run home run, while Jake Heimbruck and Devin Muhilly each added two hits and an RBI in the title game. Silverada pounded out 10 hits in the loss including three by Caleb Sumsion and two by Bryce Baker and Carson Keith, but in the end it wasn’t enough for the runner-up. High Desert will represent the district in the state tournament in Las Vegas later this month.
“They were both awesome teams and both deserving to represent in the championship game,” said Cardenas.
The tournament wasn’t as kind for the hometown Hawthorne Little League All Stars as they fell to eventual third place winner Winnemucca 10-0 in their opener, in a game that was postponed until the next morning after three innings due to thunderstorms in the area.
Hawthorne would end up being eliminated by Walker River on July 3 by a score of 7-4. The host team loaded the bases in the last inning trailing by three with two outs but didn’t score. Tyler Blankenship, Alex Palacios, Stacee Cates and Ryan Jarmillo all had hits and an RBI for Hawthorne and Nathaniel Montoya added another hit. Palacios pitched four innings, giving up four runs and striking out five.
“They put together and played a great game against Walker River,” Cardenas said. “Those kids have nothing to hang their head about.”
The only hiccup of the week came from Mother Nature. Thunderstorms forced the conclusion of the opening days’ third game to July 2, as well as the scheduled night game between Walker River and Ruby Mountain. Because of pitch counts and other Little League rules, the scheduled games that day were moved to July 3, pushing back the tournament one day.
That just gave the kids an extra day to have fun though, as players and coaches alike packed the El Capitan pool last Thursday afternoon during the unexpected day off. It also gave the teams eliminated Friday a chance to enjoy the spectacular fireworks display that night set off behind the field.
“The positive outpouring was amazing,” Cardenas said. “I heard comments from numerous people that said this was the best All Star tournament they had ever been to. When you put as much time and effort as we did into doing something like this, you just hope it works out the way that we envisioned…and it did.”
And for Cardenas, bringing the first ever district tournament to town and the first All Star tournament since state was held at Tiny Cardenas Memorial Field in 1994, it was even more special on a personal level.
“When my dad and uncle built this field in 1987, this was something they envisioned. It was just awesome to bring it back.”
*Tournament notes: A total of 14 games were played; 24 home runs were hit; 216 hits were recorded and 2,894 pitches were thrown.