South Pasadena’s 8-9-10 All Star Tigers Little League Baseball team has won the 2018 District 18 Championship at Alhambra’s Granada Park. The team went 5-0 in district play, beating all of their favorite local rivals. The team was made up of young players from three divisions of South Pasadena Little League baseball: Majors, Nationals and American. The team’s motto was to play hungry for runs as it was always “LUNCHTIME.”
The Tigers started their run on June 25th, with Marengo’s own Phil Malatesta “bringing the heat” throwing a shut-out four inning gem allowing zero runs and “mowing down” El Monte Eastern with 7 strike-outs, by a score of 15-0. South Pasadena’s big inning was driven by hits from Braydon Nakagawa and Massimo Durando, singles by Arroyo Vista prodigy Sammy Wingard and Phil Malatesta, a big home run by Marengo Elementary 4th grader, Trey Freking, and an RBI from SPLL legacy Chris Cortinez, Jnr. Phil and Trey both had three hits to lead South Pasadena.
There were runs aplenty on Saturday, June 30th, as South Pasadena defeated rival Temple City National 19-8 in a mercy! After 2018 Temple City National All-Stars scored three runs in the top of the fourth, South Pasadena answered with three of their own. South Pasadena then answered when Phil singled on a 2-0 count, scoring one run. South Pasadena took the lead for good with five runs in the second inning. In the second Aidan “Jeter Jr.” Munoz drew a walk, scoring one run, Quinn “Big Sushi” Imaski had a triple, scoring one run, with Sammy Wingard scoring one run. South Pasadena scored five runs in the fifth inning. The offensive onslaught by was led by Trey Freking and Aaron Kawasaki, who each had RBIs in the inning with Aaron belting a home run.. Phil Malatesta was on the hill for South Pasadena. He surrendered just four runs on four hits over three innings, striking out one. South Pasadena scattered 16 hits in the game. SPLL prodigy, Hanson Chan, Massimo Durando, Phil Malatesta, Trey Freking, and Aaron Kawasaki each managed multiple hits for South Pasadena. Phil, Massimo, and Hanson each collected three hits to lead the team. Upcoming All Star Veteran, Willem Lutz, has some clutch catches in left field to seal the game.
In the Championship Game, with SPLL Commissioner, Alberto Ocon in attendance with many others, South Pasadena beat Temple City American for a second time, 6-3 on Tuesday, July 10th. Charlie Karr’s play in left field, in the first game versus Temple City American helped propel the Tigers to a 6-4 win then. But on this final night, it was South Pasadena hurler, Massimo Durando pitching a “complete game” on the hill. He went six innings, allowing just three runs on seven hits, striking out five and had 18 first pitch strikes with a 1.33 WHIP. Phil Malatesta went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead South Pasadena in hits.
The team then headed out to West Covina in the Sectionals but was outed in a close game against Azusa with Sylvester Quiroz making an incredible defensive play out of right field for an out, and rookie, Mason Kerpan, getting his first start and scoring the only run for the team.
Over the course of the All Star tournament the team had 64 hits with 39 RBIs and 58 runs with a team batting average of .386. Pitching-wise the team recorded 37 strike outs on 18 walks, with a team WHIP of 2.0.
The team was coached by Sean Malatesta, David Durando and Fred Freking.