BONITA, Calif. — The all-star team from the Bonita-based Sweetwater Valley Little League is scheduled to face its counterpart from the Paseo Verde Little League, the Nevada state champion, Monday in the West Regional tournament in San Bernardino.
Sweetwater Valley defeated Waipio Little League all-star team, 16-9, Sunday night in its regional opener. Paseo Verde will be playing its first game in the regional.
The 4:30 p.m. game in the six-team, modified double elimination tournament will be televised by the ESPN3 broadband network.
If Sweetwater Valley wins, it will advance to Thursday’s winner’s bracket final against the winner of Monday’s game between the all-star teams from the Snow Canyon Little League, the Utah state champion, and the Chandler National Little League, the Arizona state champion.
A Sweetwater Valley loss Monday would force it to play an elimination game Tuesday against the all-star team from the Cambrian Park Little League, the Northern California champion. Cambrian Park lost to Chandler, 1-0, on Sunday.
Sweetwater Valley hit six home runs in its victory over Waipio, including two each by Walker Lannom and Levi Mendez.
Mendez did not allow an earned run in four innings of relief to be credited with the victory as Sweetwater Valley moved to within three victories of a berth in the Little League World Series and improved to 13-0 in its four tournaments.
Sweetwater Valley took the lead for good by scoring five runs in the top of the second inning as Lannom hit a two-run homer and Isaac Artalejo doubled in three runs.
Sweetwater Valley increased its lead to 12-7 in the third on Mendez’s solo home run.
Both teams scored twice in the fourth. Braiz Ramirez and Nicholas Maldonado hit back-to-back home runs for Sweetwater Valley. The Hawaii state champions combined three singles and a Sweetwater Valley error for its two runs.
Sweetwater Valley scored twice in its half of the sixth and final inning on two singles and three Waipio errors.
Sweetwater Valley took a 6-0 lead in the first. Mendez, the second batter, homered, driving in Antonio Andrade, who reached on an error. Lannom homered one out later. Artalejo tripled in two runs and came home on an error.
Waipio scored seven runs in its half of the first.
Vincent Ogasawara singled in the first two runs. Sage-Manuel Koahou’s one-out bases-loaded single drove in the third. Joshua Reis was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing in Ogasawara.
A two-run double by Charles Winchester, the No. 9 hitter in Waipio’s lineup, tied the score, 6-6, and prompted Sweetwater Valley manager Ward Lannom to replace starting pitcher Nate Nankil with Mendez.
Mendez got the first batter he faced, Vance Oshiro, to ground out, but Joshua Aribal, who pinch ran for Reis, scored the go-ahead run.