COSTA MESA – Many people call Carson Letterman by his nickname, "Late Night."
He certainly put on a show on Saturday, this one coming on the mound and ending just before noon. He had an all-star lineup helping him out, but he was in the spotlight.
Letterman pitched a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead the Costa Mesa National Little League Majors Division All-Stars to a 1-0 victory against Costa Mesa American in the first game of the best-of-three series to win the Mayor's Cup.
Letterman was on his game during 5 2/3 innings on the CMNLL field at TeWinkle Middle School.
He agreed that he put on a show.
"I did good," he said in a simple tone.
Then he winced a bit, thinking what might've been and said: "I got the one-hitter."
Omar Muñoz was just as spectacular for the Costa Mesa American All-Stars. After allowing three hits and one run in the first inning, he bounced back with four shutout innings. He finished with seven strikeouts in five innings.
Matty Palma and Letterman opened the bottom of the first inning with a base hit each for CMNLL. After Nick Mazur's sacrifice fly, Colby Arensdorf delivered a single to drive in Palma for what would be the game-winning run.
Munoz, who said he used a different rotation early on in the first, quickly adjusted and struck out four of the next five batters, including three straight in the second inning.
"I thought he pitched an amazing game," Costa Mesa American Manager Raphael Cruz said of Muñoz. "He made some adjustments to get the ball going where we wanted. Once we got the pitching coach and him on the same page he was on his way. The great pitcher he is he was able to do what was asked. And that was the foundation of what he did today."
Letterman walked three, but none of those runners advanced past first base. He struck out two in the sixth inning before reaching his pitch limit of 85. But he put CMNLL in position to win its sixth straight Mayor's Cup.
Mike Aherne came on in relief and induced a groundout to first base to end the game.
"I think he pitched awesome today," CMNLL Manager Matt Palma said of Letterman. "He was hitting his spots. We weren't getting the best calls behind the plate, but once he found his groove he was fine. He got 11 strikeouts in five and two-thirds, which is phenomenal.
The teams meet again Monday at 5 p.m. at the CMALL field at Costa Mesa High. If necessary, the teams will play again Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the CMNLL field at TeWinkle Middle School.
Costa Mesa American Little League All-Stars
00 Blake Junker