The Yucaipa Valley American Little League won the minors (Under 10) baseball title in dramatic fashion on Monday, July 12 on a single by Cameron Urias in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The 12-11 victory against Yucaipa Valley National Little League was a wild one. American rallied from a five-run deficit in the sixth inning to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
National scored one run in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Wyatt Hultgren to take the lead. But American loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the inning and then tied the game on a walk to Caleb Miracle. Urias then stroked a looping single to center field to win the game, prompting a wild, short-lived American celebration.
“I was nervous,” Urias said. “I knew I had to (swing at) the right pitch. He threw it down the middle and a little low and there was nobody where I hit it. I was happy.”
Once American figured out it had won the game, the celebration was on. Urias and a teammate managed a flying bear hug. One flailing American player wound up on his backside.
“It feels great,” American manager Andrew Younger said. “This one was a long time coming. This was a new team, and we didn’t have much time to get ready for this, but the kids came together.”
National manager Chase Wilkins was not crestfallen.
“These are good kids and they played well all season,” Wilkins said. “They showed a lot of heart and Yucaipa American did a great job, too.”
National needed to win the game to force another game the following evening. It looked at the outset as if it might, scoring five runs in the top of the first inning. Christian Wilkins and Jacob Wilson both had two-run singles. But American rebounded with three runs in the bottom of the inning and the fight was on. Urias had an RBI single and Dawson Blades a run-scoring groundout.
Trailing by five in the sixth (last) inning, American put five on the scoreboard to tie the game. Again, Urias (3 for 5, three RBI) had the clutch hit, smacking a two-out single to tie the game. John Moreno, Miracle and Oliver Richardson all had run-scoring hits in the inning.
By the eighth inning, each team was allowed to put a runner on second base to begin the frame. With that free runner on base, Wyatt Cash followed with an infield single and American had two runners aboard.
Moreno walked to load the bases and then Miracle also walked to tie the game. Urias followed with his third hit of the game to end it.
Moreno was heroic, taking the mound in relief with two out in the second inning and limiting National to just three runs the rest of the way. Hultgren also did a noble job on the mound for National through five innings.
Wilson had three hits for National and Wilkins and Jason Newman each had two. Miracle and Urias both had three hits for American.
The district title lifted Yucaipa Valley American into the sectional tournament in Lake Elsinore.