Peoria Little League team's championship hopes end in California

·3 min read

SAN BERNARDINO, CA — The Sidewinder Little League team didn’t win the Little League West Regional Baseball Tournament. They won’t be going to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The Honolulu Little League earned the title and the trip, defeating Peoria-based Sidewinder Friday night by a 9-2 score.

“We’re proud of our boys,” said manager Troy Silva. “This is a big deal. We beat Southern California and Northern California.

“This is an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. They were competitive against a team who could win the whole thing.”

After losing to Northern California in the opening game of the double-elimination tournament on Saturday, Arizona had a come-from-behind 7-6 victory against Southern California representative Glendora American.

“In the first game we were kind of flat because we hadn’t played a game in a while,” Silva said.

Sidewinder earned their way to the final with a victory over Northern California representative Tri-Cities on Wednesday night. A highlight of that contest was inducing Brandon Williams, who had hit two home runs and was walked intentionally four times, to hit into a double play.

The only drawback with that victory is it left Sidewinder’s Troy Tewers ineligible to pitch on Friday because he had thrown too many pitches and had only one day of rest.

Silva, who pitched for six years in Cleveland minor league system, understands the need for pitch counts more than most people. He was drafted in the 15th round out of Lewis and Clark State in Idaho, but had two arm injuries and never got above High-A baseball. He was drafted as a pitcher although he was an infielder in college.

Silva has a private academy teaching baseball. This is the only year he coached Little League because his youngest son, J. J. Silva, is playing. J.J. Silva played third base and hit a homer to left in the third inning.

“I understand the need for good technique,” he said. “I’m 100 percent in favor of pitch count limits.”

Starting pitcher Erik Lopez allowed a leadoff home run to Hawaii's Kekoa Payanal. He walked two other batters in the inning, but escaped the situation by striking out the final two batters

In their next turn at bat, Honolulu Little League cashed in their opportunities. With one out, catcher Kaeo Nouchi doubled down the right-field line. Cohen Sakamoto, Payanal, and Luke Hiromoto walked. Jaron Lancaster’s double to left brought in two runs to give Honolulu a 5-0 lead. Lancaster scored on Kama Angell’s double, and pinch-hitter Esaiah Wong brought home the final run with a single to left.

“Erik (Lopez) is normally in the zone and doesn’t walk a lot of batters,” Silva said. Jaxon Clubb, who relieved Lopez in the second, allowed only two runs in the final three innings.

Honolulu Little League, the West Region representative, will play Bonney Lake, WA, which won the Northwest Regional earlier Friday on the same field. That game will start at 4 p.m. Arizona time and will be televised on ESPN.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Peoria Little League team's championship hopes end in California