Santa Monica West's baseball team for 9- and 10-year-olds showed Tuesday night how good it can be when playing well in all phases of the game.
The squad rode the arms of pitchers John Corrigan and Ryan Bunting and the bats of Chase Rowe and Corrigan to beat perennial power West Los Angeles, 11-3, and advance to the finals of the winner's bracket in the District 25 All-Star Tournament in Ladera Heights.
On Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Santa Monica West will meet Beverly Hills, which overcame a five-run deficit to stun host Ladera 12-11 on a walk-off walk in Tuesday's first semifinal.
In Tuesday night's Santa Monica West game, Corrigan pitched the first four innings, allowing three runs on three hits with seven strikeouts. Bunting pitched two innings of relief, allowing two hits with five strikeouts.
"West LA is a very good team, but so are we, and today we just did a better job of throwing strikes and fielding balls," Santa Monica West Manager Brian Corrigan said. "When we are playing well in all phases, we're tough to beat."
At the plate, Rowe went 3-for-5 with two runs and Corrigan went 2-for-2 with three walks, two runs scored and a two-RBI double during a nine-run fourth inning for Santa Monica West, which took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning off West LA starter Russell Burton.
Max Prather hit a two-run triple to highlight a three-run third inning, but that was all the offensive West LA could muster against Corrigan and Bunting.
"I think one key was getting the early lead," Corrigan said. "It allowed us to play more relaxed and put a little more pressure on them that it wasn't going to easy."
Santa Monica defeated Malibu 8-1 and crushed Culver City 17-6 in the first two rounds of the tournament.
Rounding out Santa Monica West's roster are James Maniscalo, Grant Smith, Luca Decristo, Sam Chester, Jared Levin, Aiden Rosen, James McCormick, Alan Schlessinger and Ethan Rodriguez.
In the 10-11 Division, both Santa Monica teams are still alive. John Solberg's East team plays West LA at 6 p.m. Thursday in the winner's bracket finals while Penn Jones' West squad looks to stay alive Friday at 6 p.m. against either Ladera or Culver City.
Santa Monica West defeated Culver Marina 9-3 and Ladera 6-5 before falling to West LA 13-0 last Friday to drop down to the loser's bracket.
In the 11-12 Division, both Santa Monica teams have already been eliminated. West fell to North Venice 5-2 last Thursday in a loser's bracket game and East lost its second game 16-0 to Culver City later that day.
In the Junior Division, Santa Monica East played Beverly Hills on Wednesday afternoon, with the winner continuing in the loser's bracket to play University at 3 p.m. Saturday in Culver City. Santa Monica West plays City of Angels at 9 a.m. Saturday, also an elimination game.
The Senior Division begins Thursday, but Santa Monica doesn't play until Saturday at 10 a.m. when it faces North Venice at La Cienega Park in Beverly Hills. Saturday's winner moves on to face Culver Marina, City of Angels or Beverly Hills at 3 p.m. Sunday.