It’s been a historic summer for the San Marino National Little League (SMNLL) 10U All-Star baseball team. The squad, comprised of 13 boys who live or attend school in San Marino, is currently competing in the Southern California State Little League Tournament.
“It’s been 25 years since the San Marino 9/10s All-Star baseball team has advanced to the Little League Southern California State Tournament,” said Brent Bilvado, SMNLL president. “The league is immensely proud of the coaches, families and, especially, the players!”
Advancing this deep in postseason play was no easy road. The young ballplayers have been practicing every day since June 1.
That hard work has paid off. Led by Manager Andy Carpiac and coaches Toby Hsieh and Mark Repstad, the team won their division and sectional tournaments by going undefeated, outscoring their opponents by a combined tally of 85-30.
“It’s rare for a small town to be able to compete against much larger cities, especially in this age group,” said Carpiac. “But this is a special group of kids who work hard and support each other. They have more heart than any team I’ve been a part of. They never give up and always find a way to win.”
The team hopes that winning attitude will continue through the State tournament, which is currently taking place in Imperial Beach in San Diego County. It was certainly present on Saturday when San Marino defeated a much larger Aliso Viejo team by a final score of 8-6 to advance in the winners’ bracket.
Trailing most of the game, San Marino kept fighting and never gave up. Thanks to a first inning home run by Joshua Newton, stellar pitching by Aaron Avila and Henry Carpiac (combined for four innings and allowing only one run), critical hits by Austin Kar and Kyler Gong, and key defensive plays by Henry Repstad and Jack MacFarlane, the team remained competitive and took to the plate at the bottom of the sixth inning down 6-5.
Then, with two men on, Aaron Avila belted a three-run walk-off home run to win the game.
“It was an amazing end to an intense game,” said Carpiac. “There seems to be no limit to what these kids can do.”
San Marino faced Palos Verdes yesterday in Imperial Beach; the result will be included in next week’s Tribune.