Calexico Little League 12-Under All-Star pitcher Dominique Rivera delivers a pitch during the District 22 tournament opening round game against Imperial in Calexico on Thursday, July 8. The Calexico All Stars lost to Imperial, 2-1, and were knocked out of the tournament by Brawley on Saturday, July 10. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO

LITTLE LEAGUE: Calexico All Stars Knocked Out of Tourney

Calexico Little League 12-Under All-Star Adrian Rosas prepares to catch the ball and make a tag during a first-round District 22 tournament game in Calexico on Thursday, July 8. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO

BRAWLEY — The Calexico Little League 12-Under All-Star baseball team struggled with the bats and were knocked out of the District 22 tournament after a 13-1 loss here on Saturday, July 10.

Calexico opened the District 22 12-Under All-Star Tournament on Thursday, July 8, with a home contest against Imperial that went down to the final out before losing 2-1.

The July 8 loss knocked Calexico into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament where the team ran into a Brawley team coming off a 5-3 loss to Holtville.

In the narrow loss to Imperial, Calexico got a masterful pitching performance from 11-year-old Dominique Rivera. Calexico got on the scoreboard first and took a 1-0 lead with Rivera holding that lead for the first four innings.

Imperial scored its runs and was able to make the two runs hold up for the narrow victory.

“We got great pitching from Dominique and from Issak Rojas, but we just couldn’t get anything going with our bats,” said Ernesto Chong, manager for the Calexico All Stars. “Our defense was sharp against Imperial, too.”

Calexico Little League 12-Under All-Star Ivan Ortiz scores a run during a District 22 tournament game against Imperial on Thursday, July 8, in Calexico. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO

After the narrow loss, Calexico had Friday, July 9, off before traveling to Brawley on Saturday, July 10. In Brawley, the Calexico team couldn’t get anything right in the 13-1 loss.

“We knew we had a really young team going into the tournament,” Chong said. “With only a few 12-year-olds and the rest being 10 or 11, we knew there would be some struggles.”

With the COVID delay causing a late start to the season, Calexico Little League only had three Majors squads from which to assemble an all-star team. And after missing the entire 2020 Little League season due to COVID, it was understandable that teams weren’t going to be as strong as the all-stars from previous seasons.

The Calexico Little League 12-Under All-Star team gathers with its coaches during the District 22 tournament opening-round game against Imperial in Calexico on Thursday, July 8. Calexico lost to Imperial, 2-1, and was knocked out of the tournament by Brawley on Saturday, July 10. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO

“We kind of used this tournament to get our pitching and catching lined up for next year,” Chong said. “The kids had great support at both games and that was great to see from all the parents.”

The Calexico All-Stars were made up of 12-year-olds Aaron Celaya, Ivan Ortiz, Alexander Padulo, Eden Quintero, Aiden Rocha and Adrian Rosas. The 11-year-olds on the team were Samuel Aguirre, Aaron Chong, Ivan Hurtado, Dominique Rivera and Miguel Solano. The two 10-year-olds on the team were Jacob Rosales and Issak Rojas.

Coaches for the Calexico All-Stars were Diego Briseno, Chong, and Rafael Lopez.

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