The East Alhambra Diablos beat the East Alhambra Pirates on June 19 to win the District 18 Tournament of Champions. This is the first time that a major division team from the East Alhambra Little League has won the one-game-elimination tournament to earn the title.
The Diablos notched 16 strikeouts against the Temple City Tigers in a 4-2 victory in the first round. In the second round, the Diablos banked on pitcher Manny Padilla's 13 strikeouts to beat the Pasadena Squirrels 1-0. The team went on the offensive in the semi-finals. Padilla, Damian Dorado, Ian Wong, Andrew Gutierrez, George Hernandez and Nicholas Maxfield scored crucial runs to bring the team to a 10-0 victory over the South El Monte Brewers. The Diablos faced their division rivals, the Pirates, in the finals. Dorado pitched a no-hitter, with Thomas Flores coming in the sixth inning as a reliever. The team won the game with a score of 5-3.
Head Coach Anthony Provencio recently talked with the Source about the Diablos' impressive run in the tournament:
What did you feel was the team's strength?
I feel our team's strength was a combination of things. First and foremost was our pitching. We had five excellent pitchers on our team to work with. The pitching mechanics were spot on. Damian Dorado, Manny Padilla, Ian Wong and Thomas Flores were exceptional. Our other strength was our fielding. We knew that our defense had to be as good as our offense.
And was there a weakness that you had early in the tournament, but were able to overcome?
The one weakness we had to overcome was our hitting. We reminded our batters to just pay attention to where the ball is pitched and to make contact like they always do.
As a coach, what did you want the team to focus on during practice?
I just wanted them to focus on the fundamentals of baseball. This is a learning experience. It is not always about winning. It is about developing strong players and developing their own individual skill and use it to their fullest capability. Have fun playing the game. No matter what the outcome, learn from your mistakes. Your team is your family, respect the game and your teammates. There is no " I " in team. We, as coaches, always wanted to make sure we gave the team words of encouragement for all of their efforts.
Who do you think was your toughest opponent in the tournament?
I think our toughest opponent was ourselves!
We knew that we were going to be playing teams we never played before. We did not know what to expect or the talent we were going to face. We had to stay focused and continue to play the game we played during our regular season. We had to play hard, play smart and play to win.
Top row, from left to right:
Thomas Flores, Damian Dorado, Josh Gonzalez, Ian Wong, George Hernandez and Andrew Gutierrez
Bottom row, left to right:
Chris Rangel, Jacob Provencio, Andrew Ramirez and Manny Padilla