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As the summer heats up, so does the competition on the local youth fields in South Orange County, as Little League baseball opens its All-Star tournaments. Children with dreams of a trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series have several rounds and weeks of play potentially ahead of them, which began this past weekend with the District 68 All-Star Tournament.
Both San Clemente 12-and-under teams were still alive in the District 68 Little League after the holiday weekend. San Clemente American won its opening game in a shutout, 11-0, over San Juan Capistrano on Saturday, July 1, and is set up in the winner’s bracket semifinal against host North Mission Viejo on Thursday, July 6, at 5 p.m. at Marty Russo Youth Athletic Park. The winner advances to the winner’s bracket final against Ladera Ranch National or Viejo on Saturday, July 8, at 10 a.m.
San Clemente National dropped its opener to Ladera Ranch National, 10-4, last Saturday, but it bounced back with a 7-5 win over San Juan Capistrano on Sunday, July 2, to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament. San Clemente National played in the loser’s bracket quarterfinals against Ladera Ranch American on Wednesday, July 5, but fell in a high-scoring affair, 13-12.
In the 11-and-under division hosted by SCLL at Vista Hermosa Park, both the San Clemente American and National teams lost their first game and played in the loser’s bracket on Wednesday. SC American beat Santa Margarita National, 4-0, and SC National lost to San Juan Capistrano, 6-2. SC American will play the loser of Ladera Ranch National and Santa Margarita American in the loser bracket semifinals on Friday, July 7.
In the 10-and-under division at Wagon Wheel Sports Park in Coto de Caza, San Clemente National will play in the winner’s bracket semifinal against North Mission Viejo on Thursday, July 6, at 4:15 p.m. San Clemente American lost its opener to SC National on Saturday and fell in the loser’s bracket.
In the 9-and-under division at Marty Russo Youth Athletic Park, San Clemente American stayed alive into the loser’s bracket semifinals on Sunday, July 2, but fell to Trabuco Canyon, 14-1. SC American beat SC National in the first game of the loser’s bracket, 18-1, on June 26.
As mentioned, the road to Williamsport is long and difficult. After the District Tournament, winners will move on to the Section 10 tournament and then to the Southern California tournament. The lower-age brackets end there, with the Southern California 12U winner advancing to the Western Region tournament for a chance of qualifying for the Little League World Series in August.