Scottsdale Little League Tournament now under way

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Lined up prior to the beginning of the in-progress Scottsdale Little League Tournament Sunday, June 28 are North Scottsdale, blue jerseys, and East Scottsdale, gray jerseys . (Independent Newsmedia/Justin Maskulinski)

The Arizona District 6 Little League Baseball Tournament, hosted by Scottsdale’s Mountain View Little League, had its first three games played last night at Scottsdale Ranch Park, 10400 E Via Linda.

The winning teams on day one of the two-week tournament were North Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Mountain View.

The first pitch was thrown at 5:30 p.m. after Miss Jr. Teen Phoenix United States Brooklinn Hooser sang the National Anthem. Brooklinn’s brother, Tyler Hooser, plays for McCormick Ranch Little League.

The 11- and 12-year-olds are battling for a chance to play in the state Little League tournament, which will be held in Claypool in mid-July. The tournament will be hosted by Pinal Mountain Little League.

Game 1: North Scottsdale 10, East Scottsdale 0

The first game of the tournament saw two Scottsdale teams battling for their first win of the tournament.

The teams were scoreless after one inning and then North Scottsdale was able to help out its starting pitcher, Tony Clifford, with some run support as the Rocketmen mercy-ruled East Scottsdale in 4 innings.

North Scottsdale scored three runs in the second, two runs in the third and five runs in the fourth and final inning.

Tony Clifford pitched three innings, allowed one hit and had four strikeouts as he led his team to victory.

Tony says it was tough to pitch in temperatures that were well over 100 degrees, but he was happy with his pitching.

“I felt pretty good,” Tony said. “It’s hard to pitch when it’s hot, but I can handle it.”

The managers and coaches of all teams were making sure the players stayed hydrated throughout the games on Sunday.

North Scottsdale manager Paul Klotnia says he was pleased with the performance of his starting pitcher and team.

“It’s important to get a win early and Tony is one of our aces. He pitched great,” Mr. Klotnia said. “We expect to do well and the boys played well today. I’m proud of them.”

North Scottsdale’s Nolan Lopez began the game at first base, but later came in to close out the game at pitcher.

He struck out the three batters he faced and also added a triple and one run batted in on offense.

“That’s how you should start every tournament,” Nolan said. “You always want to be in the winner’s bracket.”

Brandon Becher of Fountain Hills delivers a pitch Matthew Carter of McDowell Mountain looks to make contact. (Independent Newsmedia/Justing Maskulinski)

Brandon Becher of Fountain Hills delivers a pitch as Matthew Carter of McDowell Mountain looks to make contact. (Independent Newsmedia/Justin Maskulinski)

Game 2: Fountain Hills 6, McDowell Mountain 5

The second game of the tournament came down to the wire as Fountain Hills emerged victorious.

The teams traded runs throughout the game, and Fountain Hills came from behind twice.

“It’s very important to get the first win,” Fountain Hills manager Tim Niesz said. “We had to come back from two runs twice. We’ve been playing with the motto of ‘play hard, play smart’ and that showed tonight.”

Starting shortstop Hunter McAloon finished the game at pitcher for Fountain Hills and came up big as McDowell Mountain was rallying.

The bottom of the sixth inning began with Fountain Hills leading 6-4, but McDowell Mountain came charging with a hit deep into right-center field that scored one runner and put the game-tying run on second base.

“I just focused on winning and throwing the third strike,” Hunter said. “I was a little worried but I knew our defense would pull through.”

Game 3: Mountain View 8, McCormick Ranch 2

The host team was able to walk away victorious on day one of the tournament as Mountain View’s offense led them to victory.

Center fielder Max Weinmeister hit a home run in the second inning that sparked the offense. Mountain View led 3-1 after the second and added two runs in the third and three in the fourth inning.

McCormick Ranch added a second run in the bottom of the sixth, but ultimately fell short in its first game.

Mountain View manager Tim Flaherty was proud of his team after getting its first win of the tournament.

“It’s always good to get the first win,” Mr. Flaherty said. “It was a team win. We made the plays when we needed to.”

Scottsdale Independent Sports Correspondent Justin Maskulinski can be contacted at jmaskulinski@newszap.com. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/Maskulinski.

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