By Steve Virgen
8:58 PM PDT, June 7, 2014
While the excitement built during a dramatic final inning, Griffin Snider's thoughts could be summed up in four words during the Newport Beach Little League 50-70 Division championship game.
"Don't mess it up," is what Snider said he thought when his Everbank team needed one more out to capture the crown.
NBLL calls its regular-season finale of title games, "Super Saturday." A new name can be created for Everbank's pitcher: Super Snider.
With two out, and two runners on, Snider recorded a strikeout to cap Everbank's 10-9 victory over Platinum in an eventful championship game at Bonita Canyon Sports Park in Newport Beach.
"I felt like I was on top of the world," Snider said of how he felt after the strikeout that caught the batter looking.
While Snider's performance proved heroic, there was a different name that caused a buzz in the packed stands at the ballpark: Joseph Wiersma.
The 12-year-old is 6 feet 1 1/2, 160 pounds. As a pitcher he delivered eight strikeouts in three innings. He also pounded his sixth home run of the season, a three-run shot over right-center field in the second inning when Everbank scored six runs.
Wiersma also competes in football, golf and basketball, but he said baseball is his favorite.
"I just like how it can be relaxing," said the soft-spoken Wiersma.
There wasn't much to be relaxed about during the championship game.
Everbank opened the game with three runs as Jennings Torgelson (single), Micah Look (hit by pitch) and Wiersma scored thanks to Wiersma's big single to right that caused two errors. Richard Eusey also doubled in the inning.
But Platinum answered with six runs in the bottom of the opening frame. Ryan Chambliss, who went two for two with two walks and had three stolen bases and two runs scored, Luke Joyce, Brennan Carroll, Will Anderson, Dylan Murray and Ryan Olson each scored. Olson went three for three with a walk, two runs batted in and two stolen bases.
Everbank's six-run second inning put it on top, 9-6. Look singled and later scored in the fifth to cap Everbank's scoring.
Everbank's victory could be credited to old-fashioned teamwork. But Platinum also played a small part in the championship win.
Olson's father, Gregg, a former pro pitcher, worked with Wiersma to help him improve his pitching. Gregg Olson is a coach for Platinum, but he wanted to help Wiersma, as recently as Thursday.
"That's what Little League is all about," Everbank Manager David Look said during a postgame trophy ceremony.
Newport Beach Little League weathered a storm for much different reasons during the beginning of the season when the league was suspended for more than a week because of a rule violation.
But that was in the past on Saturday. The league was in high spirits, as each of its championship games, AA, AAA and 50-70, were decided by one run.
Platinum trailed, 10-7, heading into its final at-bat. Carroll, who reached on an error, and Anderson, who walked, both scored. Carroll came across on Ryan Olson's big single with the bases loaded.
But Snider struck out two to bring home the win that caused the Everbank players to celebrate near their dugout.
For Platinum: Joyce contributed on the mound. Carroll scored two runs and drew a walk. Anderson scored twice and had two RBIs. Murray had two hits, an RBI and a stolen base. Wes Carr drew a walk. Haithim Bell doubled and drove in two runs. Nicasio Zuccato drew a walk.
For Everbank: Torgelson pitched well and had two hits, an RBI and two runs scored. Micah Look scored three runs and went two for two and was hit by a pitch. Jake Caldwell drew a walk. Connor McDonald singled and scored, as did Jacob Hallman and Jackson Bradford.