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Costa Mesa American All-Stars end drought

Youth Scene

Little League Majors Division baseball squad wins first Mayor's Cup since 2006.

July 20, 2013|By Barry Faulkner
(Steven Georges )

COSTA MESA — It was a win so coveted, it turned parents into paparazzi, too-cool teenage older brothers into sentimental supporters, and silenced crosstown bragging rights that had blared, uninterrupted, for more than a half-decade.

But Saturday's 4-2 baseball victory that gave the Costa Mesa American Little League Majors Division All-Stars their first best-of-three Mayor's Cup series title in seven years, wasn't enough to disconcert 12-year-old winning pitcher Matthew Ingram.

"I knew he was a good choice [to start the game], because he really doesn't get nervous," said Mark Ingram, Matthew's father and a coach filling in for the Costa Mesa American's vacationing manager, Clark Chapman, at Costa Mesa High. "Ever since he was 8, he has wanted the ball in pressure situations."

The younger Ingram not only diffused the pressure of the series' deciding game, he rose above it by striking out nine in the six-inning, complete-game effort that was backed by errorless defense.

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Ingram also singled, walked and scored a run to help the winners, for whom six players had hits and nine reached base in a 12-player lineup that was without standout Cameron Chapman (also on vacation).

The Costa Mesa National All-Stars, who won the opening game of the series, 3-0, on Tuesday, managed just three hits against Ingram, but took advantage of some opportunistic defense and some questionable base running by its rival, to maintain suspense until the final out.

Costa Mesa American had its first five batters reach base in the second inning, but produced just one run to break a scoreless tie. One Costa Mesa American runner was nailed off third base in a rundown created during an attempted double-steal. Another runner was gunned down at the plate attempting to tag on a one-out fly ball to right fielder Grant L'Heureux, who caught the ball and threw on the fly to catcher Trevor Pacheco, who applied the tag for the inning-ending double play.

The hosts also had a runner picked off second base, when he ventured too far on a wild pitch to the backstop and had to turn back when the runner at third chose not to risk a sprint toward home plate.

"How many runs did we leave out there? Mark Ingram asked rhetorically about his team's mishaps on the bases. "But I take the blame for those. I'm usually the first-base coach. And hats off to national for the great defense that they played."

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