Cardinals rally to defeat Pirates

Michael Oberhart/Special to the Town Crier
The Cardinals are the AAA Minors champions. Pictured, from left: Coaches Wilfred Lam, Ishaan and Tushar Chandra, head coach Bill Halpin, Logan Chatwin, Amar Chandra, Alex Halpin, Theo Barbou-des-Places, Tre Viguerie, Michael Manche, William Fligor, Warren Lam, Chase Kokernak, Christopher Klinker, Philip Oberhart, Ben Samek and coaches David Fligor and Ted Kokernak.

The spring campaign of Los Altos & Los Altos Hills Little League AAA Minors concluded with a pair of games between the winners bracket finalist Pirates and the survivors bracket finalist Cardinals.

Ultimately, the Cardinals needed two games to win a feisty battle for the division championship against the Pirates, with both games featuring staff aces pitching to formidable hitting lineups. The Cardinals prevailed 10-8 and 10-2 last week.

Long fly balls, shots to both gaps and hot ground balls through the infield were generated by both offenses. Few balls hit the ground that weren’t meant to, with one defensive highlight after another, and notable pitching and performances on both sides.

In the June 5 game, the Pirates jumped to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Pirates hitters punished balls to the outfield gaps in an intimidating offensive burst.

After a pitching change, the Cardinals settled down, allowing three more runs the rest of the way. Cardinals’ left-hander Theo Barbou-des-Places threw 59 pitches over five and 2/3 innings to earn the win.

Offensively, the Cards rallied with patience at the plate and smart base running.

A day later, the Cardinals’ right-handed starter battered the night before made a return to the mound. In a reversal from his previous stint, Chase Kokernak threw six strong innings and 74 pitches, working with catcher Tre Viguerie to keep the dangerous Pirates hitters off-balance for the most part. Cards shortstop Amar Chandra accounted for six Pirates outs on ground balls.

The back half of the Cardinals’ lineup delivered at the plate, helping to build a lead over the middle innings.

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