Two teams of All Stars from Redondo Sunset baseball league did something never before done in the history of Redondo Beach youth baseball.
The Bronco-11 team became PONY Baseball national champions in their age group, beating a team from Navojoa, Mexico, 6-0, in Chesterfield, Virginia on July 29.
The Bronco-13 team became the first 13-U team to advance to the PONY World Series, coming up one game short of playing for the championship in their age bracket.
Both teams, who play at Alta Vista Park, are comprised of the best players from around the Redondo Sunset league.
The Bronco-11 team, only the fourth national champions from California in that age group, went 15-1 in the playoffs and won all four games in the World Series portion of the tournament.
Pitcher Tanner Davison started and pitched into the sixth inning. Robbie Zimmerman pitched the final four outs to complete the game and win the championship for Redondo Sunset.
“To me, knowing we're the first team doesn't matter,” Davison said. “It's an incredible feeling to know we did it."
He finished the game with six strikeouts and had two walks.
"I love pitching in big games and I focus best in those situations,” Davison said.
Manager of the team is Joel Weeks.
"During the championship, I knew we were going to face a good hitting team in Mexico,” said Weeks, who is from Torrance. “I went with my gut, started our best guy on the mound, Tanner Davison. I had a plan to follow with Robbie Zimmerman if we got Tanner to his maximum pitch count. I felt these two guys would give us our best chance to get the win."
The team opened with a win over the Phillipines, 12-2; then beat San Antonio, Texas, 6-0; beat the Phillipines again, 12-2, and finished with a win over Mexico.
Redondo scored 36 runs and gave up only four.
"Winning the World Series is amazing and unbelievable, I have always dreamed of this,” said Jamison Brack.
Redondo Sunset scored the winning run in the top of the third inning.
Brack doubled with one out and advanced to third on an error by the catcher. Keijiro Hattori singled to make it 1-0. It turned out to be the winning run.
"That run got something started and at that point we knew we could do this,” Brack said.
They added insurance runs with one in the second after Jake Kim lead off with a double. He scored on a single by Eric Tani to right to make it 2-0.
Two more runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh added runs to the lead.
"My favorite part of this team was having such great teammates and knowing they will support me no matter what happens,” said Lucas Alvear, who is from Redondo Beach.
Navojoa’s coach, Rafael Mendoza said, “It was a great tournament and a joy to learn about and interact with other cultures.”
The PONY Baseball Bronco-11 World Series is a world-class international youth baseball tournament involving the best 11-year-old PONY Baseball teams from around the world.
This year there were teams from Mexico, the Caribbean, Asia, as well as four U.S. teams and host Chesterfield.
Pitcher Davison’s dominance led to him winning the Easton ERA Award, given to the pitcher with the lowest ERA with a minimum of four innings pitched. In the tournament, Davison compiled a 0.00 ERA in a total of 6.2 innings.
Redondo Sunset had to do a lot of winning to earn the championship.
They started with the Pony Baseball District in Torrance. They advanced to the PONY Super Region in Whittier where they won.
The third step was winning the PONY West Zone in Walnut, California that included the best teams from California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona and Utah.
This year’s team includes 13 players and three coaches. Players are Geno Guerrero, Lucas Alvear. Eric Tani, Jamison Brack, Evan Weiser, Jake Kim, Travis Dulmage, Jack Hall, Harrison Howe, Jonovan Talavera, Tanner Davison, Robbie Zimmerman, Keijiro Hattori.
The manager is Joel Weeks. Assistant coaches are Joe Zimmerman and Ron Tani.
“We enjoyed interacting with all the international and domestic players, parents, and coaches and have a high level of respect for them all,” Weeks said.
"It was a great experience,” he added. “The families and players and the whole PONY organization did a great job at all the venues along the way."
The Redondo Sunset PONY Baseball Pony-13 team made it to the semifinals where they lost to Johnston, Pennsylvania 1-0 on July 22.
Matthew Verdugo started and pitched four innings for Redondo Sunset.
Johnston scored the only run of the game in the third. They had only three hits in the game.
Redondo Sunset had eight hits.
The Pony-13 team started the World Series with a loss to a team from Seoul, South Korea, 6-3.
They won the next three games over San Diego, 10-5; Seoul, South Korea, 4-2; and Johnstown, 9-4, before losing for the second time in the rematch with Johnstown.