In a game where momentum swung back and forth, the West Los Angeles Little League 11-12 All-Stars beat host Culver City 9-5 in the second round of the District 25 Tournament on Wednesday at Bill Botts Field.
West LA scored six runs in the first inning but Culver City responded with five of its own in the second inning before Alex Mills came to the plate with one out in the bottom of the third inning and launched a three-run home run to right-center field that provided the final margin.
West LA will play Ladera in the finals of the winner's bracket on Wednesday, July 6, at 5 p.m. on the same field. It will be a rematch of last year, when Ladera won the first game, West LA advanced through the loser's bracket and beat Ladera in the first game to set up a decisive third game, which Ladera won in extra innings.
"It always seems like it's us and Ladera," said West LA Manager Dave Georgeff, who also managed the Blue Jays to the West LA League title and the finals of the Distict 25 Tournament of Champions, where they lost to the Ladera Braves. "If it's anything like last year, it should be another exciting game."
On Wednesday, Mills led off the bottom of the first inning with a single and Matt Thomas followed with a two-run homer to give West LA a quick 2-0 lead. With one out, Daniel Schreier then hit a three-run homer to center, increasing the lead to 5-0. West LA added a run when Jake Georgeff reached on an error, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Luke Goldstein's single.
Mills also started the game on the mound and pitched the first four innings, allowing two hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Matt Thomas pitched the last two innings. He retired Culver City in order in the sixth, striking out the last two batters to end the game.
In the Junior Division, West LA routed University 22-1 in its first game and will play Culver Marina on July 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the Culver City Little League fields.