LODI, Calif. — Alameda left the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Babe Ruth All-Star team stuck in Lodi Friday night.
The Northern California champion beat the Southern California champion, 7-6, in the second game of the doubleheader at Lawrence Park to win the Pacific Southwest Regional tournament and qualify for the Babe Ruth World Series, Aug. 17-24 in Jamestown, N.Y.
Andy Craig pitched a five-hitter, and Alameda scored four unearned runs in the fourth inning of the nightcap after Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks had won the opener, 8-1, to force a second game in the double-elimination tournament.
Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks, hoping to make its second straight appearance in the World Series, came apart defensively in the second game and squandered a 4-3 lead.
The Southern Californians made three errors in the fourth inning.
Perhaps the most damaging was made by shortstop J.R. Smith, who dropped a throw from first baseman Jeff Light on what appeared to be a double play ball. That put runners at first and second with no outs.
Alameda's Sam Flores singled in one run, and when center fielder Greg Haptor misplayed the ball, the runners advanced an extra base.
Right fielder Luis Porres then made a diving catch on a sinking drive by Scott Rapposelli. Flores, who thought the ball was going to fall for a hit, was easily doubled off second base.
After Ted Langowski was intentionally walked, Ron Richard followed with an RBI single that was misplayed by Haptor, again allowing the runners to advance another base.
Ryan Jensen, who was 4 for 4 in the second game after singling in his last at-bat in the opener, then lined a two-run single to left to give Alameda a 7-4 lead.
Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks scored twice in the bottom of the inning.
A bouncer by Smith over third baseman Clint Wade scored pinch-runner Pete Salehyar, but Gary Nudell, running from second base, was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Steve Monzo.
Smith then scored on an error by Wade, who misplayed a grounder by Jeff Cirillo.
In the first game, Light ended Jon French's streak of not giving up an earned run in all-star competition at 38 innings with a 380-foot blast.
His towering three-run home run sailed over the Sanborn Chevrolet sign and landed in the trees beyond the wall in left-center field.
"It was an inside slider," said Light, who had four extra-base hits in the tournament after struggling in two previous tournaments.
"I've changed my stance. I'm in more of a crouch now. It didn't seem like I was hitting the ball square--everything was off the end of the bat or on the hands. Here, whenever I hit the ball, I'm hitting it square. I got all of that one."
The sixth-inning shot gave Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks a 5-1 lead.
The Southern Californians had taken a 2-1 lead in the fourth by scoring a pair of unearned runs.
After Light had walked with two outs, Haptor lofted a lazy pop-up behind first base that fell in front of right fielder Flores, who had started back on the ball.
Jeff Antoon then grounded a pitch sharply to third baseman Wade, who bobbled the ball and then threw wildly to first, allowing Light and Haptor to score.
Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks added three more unearned runs in the seventh to turn the game into a rout.
Two batters were out when Porres reached base on a passed ball after striking out.
Right fielder Steve Monzo, who had replaced Flores in the fifth, then dropped a pop-up by Smith, allowing Porres to score.
Cirillo followed with a dribbler up the third-base line for the only hit of the inning, and a passed ball put the runners at second and third.
The runners scored on another error by Wade, who kicked Light's grounder into left field.
Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks, meanwhile, was flawless defensively behind left-hander Victor Salazar, one of only two 14-year-olds on its roster.
Salazar, a sophomore from Providence High, pitched a five-hitter, striking out four and walking only one.
"This is the best game I ever pitched in my life," Salazar said.
Salazar said that Light's home run helped him relax.
"I got the momentum," he said. "My fastball got a little better when he hit it. That got me pumped up."
Alameda scored in the second on a triple by Steve Wong and a sacrifice fly by J.R. Rider.
Salazar faced only 18 batters, one more than the minimum, the rest of the way.
Mike Rohrbough, who started the second game for Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks, lasted only six batters.
He walked Rapposelli with one out and gave up a bad-hop single to Langowski, Rapposelli taking third.
A wild pitch scored Rapposelli before Richard hit a two-run homer to left.
Jensen and Wong followed with singles, and Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Manager Dave Kramer brought in Rob Kostenbader, who retired the side.
It didn't take Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks long to get the runs back.
A single and three walks forced in a run with one out, but Craig appeared to be out of trouble when he got Haptor to bounce sharply back to the box.
Craig threw to the plate for one out, but Alameda lost a chance for a double play when the catcher, Rider, held onto the ball instead of throwing to first.
Antoon followed with a three-run double over the head of right fielder Sam Flores to give Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks a 4-3 lead.