Tri-Valley Little League athletes rack up all-star wins

Jake Whalen (18) stands on first and attempts to tag out a batter from Banning.

YUCCA VALLEY — The all-star players from Tri-Valley Little League are winning games across the Inland Empire.

The minor division softball all-stars are undefeated and will play for the District 58 championship  this week in Banning. The girls have defeated Twentynine Palms twice and Banning and Desert Hot Springs once.

Manager Melissa Nelson said second baseman Aryssa Patterson has been a stand-out player for Tri-Valley. “She’s been shining brightly,” Nelson said.

Keyla Nelson is the starting pitcher for the girls and her sister Aubrey Nelson is catching.

The minor division baseball all-stars defeated Banning 10-8 in their first game Saturday morning.

“They looked awesome,” coach Gary Bradshaw said. “They were working extremely hard.”

Tri-Valley’s defense was solid against Banning, according to the coach, who said the win was a team effort for all 12 boys.

“They are not going to let any other team outwork them,” he said. “They have the most fun and work the hardest and that usually results in wins for us.”

Playing in Twentynine Palms, the boys will face Yucaipa Valley National Little League and two teams from Yucaipa American Little League through this week. The teams will be seeded based on those results and the double-elimination tournament starts Sunday.

The majors division baseball all-stars are in pool play in Desert Hot Springs. They lost to the home team in their first outing.

“It was a really hard-fought game,” coach John Shannon said.

“First baseman Victor Santos got us out of a tough inning with a double play with shortstop Aiden Shannon, then he closed out the game on the mound.”

The boys have two more matches before teams are seeded and the double-elimination tournament begins. They start by facing Banning at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Tri-Valley has two rookie division baseball teams competing in pool play in Desert Hot Springs: Yucca Grey and Yucca Red.

Yucca Grey clawed back from a 13-3 loss to Banning Green Saturday to beat Banning White 11-2 Sunday.

“Eli Castro has been hitting really good and made a pop-fly grab in center field to stop a rally,” coach Andrew Bethune said.

They’ll face Banning Green again Thursday before the double-elimination tournament begins this weekend.

Yucca Red won games against Banning and Twentynine Palms this weekend.

They started pool play against Banning Gray Saturday morning. “That was a defensive struggle,” coach Richard Bradshaw said.

The score was knotted at 1-1 until the final, sixth inning, when Yucca Red scored twice for a walk-off win.

Bradshaw said Banning Gray made Yucca earn the win. “That was the best defense I’ve ever seen at that age group,” he said.

Sunday’s match against Twentynine Palms was a slugfest, Bradshaw said.

“They jumped up on us 4-0, then we came back and then both teams kept smashing each other.”

Twentynine Palms had the lead 8-7 in the final inning and got Yucca Red’s first two batters out when Brayton Wise stepped into the box and got a hit.

A win for Yucca was maybe possible but not likely, but no one told Landen Bradshaw that. Landen hit a home run, driving in Brayton to give Yucca Red the 9-8 victory.

“It was so intense,” the coach said.

“The weekend wins were a total team effort, Bradshaw said. “Everyone pitched in. These kids battle.”

On Tuesday Yucca Red played their final match before being seeded against Banning Pass and lost with a final score of 9-5. 

“It was a tough game,” Bradshaw said. “It was our first loss.”

Bradshaw said that while they took the loss, Landen Bradshaw made a double play and Kameron Mack was a star batter for the team.

“Cameron blasted both of his hits,” Bradshaw said. “It was really like his coming out.”

The team will be seeded this week and begin a double elimination tournament on Saturday.

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