After a week-long tournament featuring the top teams from Noon Optimist, Lions Hondo, Eastside and Valley Little Leagues, the city championships were decided Thursday at the Noon Optimist fields, where the host league cleaned up.
In fact, all six finalists across the three divisions were Noon Op squads. In the two Majors divisions, A and B, the four squads featured many of the players from last years Noon Op All-Stars 9- and 10-year-old team that shared the state championship last year with a team out of Carlsbad.
In the Pee Wee ranks, the No. 3-seeded Noon Op Marlins won a tight 3-2 ballgame against the No. 4 Noon Op Yankees. The Marlins took down two Rockies squads — the Eastside team and fellow Noon Op team — on their way to the title game. The Yankees downed the Angels and Eastside Cubs before falling to the Marlins Thursday.
In Majors A, the Noon Op Braves dominated the Noon Op Rangers 8-1 as pitcher Maddux Edmonson shut down the top-seeded team in the tourney, surely making his father, Goddard head baseball coach and 2017 state champion Alan Edmonson proud. The Braves took down the Valley Dodgers 16-1, the Lions Hondo Rangers 13-3 and beat the Noon Op Rangers 7-6 in the semifinals. The Rangers punched their ticket back into the championship with a 20-13 slugfest win over the Eastside Red Sox.
The Majors B final provided the most drama, as the Noon Op Cardinals walked off in the bottom of the extra seventh inning on a Mitchell Schooley hit to hand the Noon Op Mets their first tournament loss and force a decisive Game 2.
After a close loss to the Mets in the semifinals, and the one-run first game of the championship, the Cardinals left no doubt in the nightcap, pounding the Mets 16-6, including a 7-run final inning.
For the casual fan, walking between the fields and observing the action, there were plenty of fun moments and great plays, such as Braves catcher Trey Barton’s falling catch right up against the backstop for the first out of the third inning, or Major Byrd’s big two-run double to give the Cards the lead early on, or pretty much any time a Pee Wee player was near the ball.