With cheers from both sides, the Porterville and Visalia 9-10-year-odl all-stars took once again to the Burton Ballfields for the final championship game of the 2022 Little League tournament. After a hard fought four innings, the Visalia all-stars won the District 34 title 18-5.
The night was warm and both the Porterville and Visalia all-stars teams were ready to play for the District 34 Little League Tournament baseball championship. The two round elimination series had progressed to an even 1-1 for Porterville and Visalia ushering in the third and final game to determine the winner. Despite good play from Porterville, Visalia made big strides in the first and third inning.
The Porterville all-stars had a special surprise from someone as they started the game. Porterville Little League player Kenny Weber had been in Valley Children's recovering from Burkitts Leukemia. This is a rare form of blood cancer and is also an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Kenny, with his dad in hand, waved at his friends and coaches wishing them all good luck and a fun game ahead. Kenny is also currently in need of some financial assistance from the community due to the expenses of his recovery. Out of the $40,000 the family wishes to raise, $6,568 has been raised as of Monday morning.
Porterville's Luis Mosqueda was the starting pitcher for the 9-10 year-old all-stars. He made a good play in the first inning, tagging out a Visalia runner before he could cross home plate. With a slow start, the Porterville all-stars had a tough time shutting down Visalia. Overall Visalia scored seven runs during the top of the first, a big deficit wasn't Porterville isn't unaccustomed to coming back from.
Starting Porterville's at bat was Javier Sanchez who drove the ball straight past Visalia's second baseman to reach first. Mosqueda and Robert Bales reached base to load the base. Cruz Ojeda hit a pitch out into the outfield to score Porterville's first run.
Andrew Sanchez stepped up to bat and was able to send a pitch into the outfield with a high flying hard hit to bring home Mosqueda. Bales also scored as Porterville scored four runs in the inning.
Porterville's final run was scored by Mosqueda. He hit a line drive into right field, reaching third. Mosqueda scored on Julian Guzman's fly ball to left field.
“We're always learning and the best teacher is playing,” Porterville assistant coach Danile Shroyer said. “I'm very proud of them, they've been such a great team. We're gonna have quite a few of our team come back next year. They never gave up and always tried their best on the diamond.”
Shroyer said the team could go on to compete in travel baseball this summer.
“We might play some travel games depending on how we're all feeling and what everyone's schedules are,” he said. “Anything can happen and I just want to say I'm proud of their effort. “I wanted to thank the parents for all their help and all their passion to keep this game fun and inviting to everyone.”