By MIKE YOUNG | SportStars
Defending your home turf in an international competitions is enough pressure for anyone “” ask any Olympian. The boys of Canyon Creek Little League could tell you something a little about it too.
The District 57 host team for the Intermediate Little League World Series taking place in Livermore for the second straight year, Canyon Creek shouldered plenty of expectations when it took to the field for the Day 1 nightcap against the Southeast Region All-Stars of Barboursville, West Virginia.
And what began well for the Danville-based team, ended abruptly in a 12-2 setback after five innings.
The game started out great for both sides, as the teams were neck-and-neck through the first half of the game. Canyon Creek managed to tie the game 2-2 heading into the fourth inning before Barboursville started on a roll that would not be stopped. By the end of the fourth, Barboursville lead 7-2.
“I know the kids were nervous,” Canyon Creek assistant Rick Brown said. “They started out playing solid ball, and we were in the game. We were running, we were manufacturing runs. So fourth inning, 2-2 ballgame, and I thought we were still in it.
“I was glad they were in it at that point, and thought it could have went any other way”
Canyon Creek starting pitcher Jordan Nevarez took the loss hard; as did his fellow teammates.
“Well we were really off today, they way we came on the field was just not good,” Nevarez said. “We weren’t focused, just going through the motions and all that. We weren’t batting well. At first it started out good, but it fell off, and they started scoring on us.”
Canyon Creek, shell shocked from the blowout inning, could not get things going again. Barboursville then promptly put up another five runs to enforce for a five-inning, Mercy Rule victory.
Canyon Creek coach Jason Kitcherer seemed to take the loss the hardest, but spoke highly of the kids on his roster and their efforts.
“Most of these kids haven’t been on a stage like this,” Kitcherer said. “A lot these teams here went through regionals where they’re used to having thousands of people in the stands. This was the first time for us on a stage like, so I’m proud of them for stepping up in those first few innings”
The tournament is far from over for Canyon Creek. They play again July 31 in an elimination game against the loser of the Southwest (Texas) vs. East (Maryland) game the night before.
Kitcherer had just one word to describe what he’s looking forward to see from his players in their second trip to the big stage: “Fire.”
SportStars Magazine: High School Sports Articles Online SportStars is your go-to source for the very best high school sports articles in California. Player and team profiles, game coverage, health and fitness tips and the largest Camps, Clinics & Combine resource for athletes. We're the story behind the stats.