Encino Little League seized its first step in the quest to qualify for the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa. with a 13-9 victory over longtime nemesis Sherman Oaks.
“Sherman Oaks has been our arch-rival for three years,” said Manager Scott Gilderman. “They’ve beaten us when we were 9-years-old, 10-years-old and 11-years-old, so to come back and beat them in District 40 play is something that is really special for us.”
Encino stormed through District 40 play with an undefeated 4-0 record outscoring opponents 43-13. This is the first ever district championship for all of the players except Grant Berman and Shawn Goosenberg, who returned from last year’s District Championship team.
This is the second consecutive year the Encino 12-under team hoisted up the District 40 banner and moved on to the Sectionals.
At first it looked like it was going to be easy. Encino was leading 9-2 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, but Sherman Oaks had an unbelivable rally to tie it up at 9.
“When they tied the game, I think that was pretty scary. Everyone was nervous, but I kept telling everyone to relax and stay loose and that’s what we did and eventually won 13-9,” said Brandon Dieter.
Encino answered with four runs in the top of the sixth to seal the victory.
“We have not won District yet, and this team has wanted to win it the past two years,” said Pitcher Sam Gilderman. “We were hungry for it this year and played our hearts out. I couldn’t be prouder of us, but this is only the start.”
Michael Walsh blasted two mammoth home runs and had six RBI. Shawn Goosenberg and Josh Perlmutter each added a homer. Goosenberg scored four times. Reed Goodman scored three times. Walsh and Perlmutter scored twice. Sam Gilderman and Chris Landers scored once. Noah Levin drove in two runs and Landers had the go-ahead RBI in the sixth inning.
Encino will play at El Dorado Little League in Lancaster for the Section 2 tournament starting Saturday, July 14 at 6 p.m. They will face the District 16 champion.
If Encino wins the sectional tournament, they will advance to the Southern California Divisional Tournament featuring the top 10 teams in Southern California.
The final step for Encino to qualify for the Little League World Series is the Western Regionals in San Bernardino, where the Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, northern California, Southern California and Utah state champions would all vie for the one western bid.
“This team has the most team chemistry we’ve ever had,” said Garrett Cody. “I think that’s one of the big reasons we won District. It feels good to finally hold up the banner.”
District Tournament Schedule (All Games at Northridge):
1 – Northridge 20, Canyon Country 0 (6/23)
2 – Encino 8, Woodland Hills 1 (6/23)
3 – Sherman Oaks 6, Castaic 0 (6/24)
4 – Mission Hills 7 vs Granada Hills 2 (6/24)
5 – Woodland Hills vs Castaic (elim) – Castaic forfeits
6 – Canyon Country 12 vs Granada Hills 11 (elim) (6/30)
7 – Encino 12 vs Sherman Oaks 3 (6/30)
8 – Northridge 11 vs Mission Hills 1 (6/30)
9 – Sherman Oaks 9 vs Woodland Hills 7 (elim) (7/1)
10 – Canyon Country 4 vs Mission Hills 2 (elim) (7/1)
11 – Encino 10 vs Northridge 0 (7/7)
12 – Sherman Oaks 10 vs Canyon Country 0 (elim) (7/7)
13 – Sherman Oaks 8 vs Northridge 2 (elim) (7/8)
14 – Encino 13 vs Sherman Oaks 9 (7/9)
Other Age Groups:
14-under (Juniors): Encino defeated Sherman Oaks 12-2 to win the title.
11-under: Sherman Oaks defeated Northridge 18-1 to win the championship.
10-under: Sherman Oaks defeated Encino 6-3 to win the championship.