Claremont All-Stars are SoCal champs!

The SoCal champion Claremont Little League 11-and-under All-Star team was honored Monday in a ceremony at Memorial Park. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

by Andrew Alonzo

After 64 years, Claremont Little League 11-and-under All-Star team can finally call themselves Southern California champions. On Sunday, Claremont defeated Palos Verdes, 8-7, at Newmark Field in San Bernardino to take the Southern California 9-11 Year Old Little League Baseball Tournament title, the city’s first Little League state championship since its 1959 inception.

Palos Verdes put Claremont’s hopes of securing the title in danger July 30 with a 1-0 setback,  setting up Sunday’s deciding title game rematch in the double elimination tournament. Claremont’s fifth inning comeback on Sunday secured the title.

“We started down five nothing and bit by bit, piece by piece we chipped away at that lead,” said manager Tony Spinrad. “And when we took that lead in the bottom of the fifth, that feeling was incredible. It was a feeling of … you can do anything.”

Sunday’s win came with a banner and bragging rights as SoCal’s top 11 and under team. The team was also recognized prior to Monday’s Concert in the Park at Memorial Park.

After the ceremony the boys couldn’t hold back their enthusiasm.

“It’s really exciting,” said Harlem Turrentine, the team’s 11-year-old shortstop. “We played as a team, fought together. Even when we had one loss we stayed together. It takes a lot of effort, coming together as a team and working hard.”

The crowd applauds the Claremont Little League 11-and-under All-Star team Monday at Memorial Park. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

“It’s really exciting because we just made history,” said center fielder Dominic Scates, 11. “[We’re] the first team in Claremont to win state. It was really fun just hanging out with the boys, battling through all the tough times and the tough games with all of them. And when our head was down, him right there,” he said, pointing at Harlem, “he was always picking us up.”

The team said a combination of hard work, dedication and trust was the formula that won them the SoCal title.

“We went from losing in 10U [last year] to making it all the way to state and even winning state,” said first baseman Mattias Arredondo. “So it was awesome.”

Claremont Little League President Jenny Ballesteros said it was clear early on that the boys had talent.

“We’ve been watching them play since they were eight and knew that they had this capability,” she said. “It’s the first time in 64 years we’ve had any team win state.”

The team consists of Dominic Scates, Mattias Arredondo, Malachi Stepney, Harlem Turrentine, Efrain Corral, Emiliano De La Cruz, Atticus Luevano, Justin Rodriguez, Caden Spinrad, Jake Dorman, Xavier Patterson, and Evan Coronado, as well as coaches Tony Spinrad, Brian Dorman, and Kevin Rodriguez.

“All these kids are our kids. They’re our community kids,” Ballesteros said. “To watch them grow up and to see them reach this goal that they’ve had, it’s prideful. I’m very proud.”

The team has been ruthless over the last seven weeks of tournament play, often winning via the mercy rule.

Assistant coach Dorman said the boys’ amazing tournament run was made possible by their hard work since June 1.

Claremont Little League 11-and-under All-Star Justin Rodriguez fist bumps Claremont Mayor Ed Reece Monday at Memorial Park. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

“The boys put in so much effort, put a lot of energy into it, and [it’s] just pure joy to see the boys never give up and stop fighting,” he said.

Dorman’s thankful not only for the team, but also to the community for its support. Spinrad added it was a privilege and honor not only to coach the boys — whose roster included his son Caden and Dorman’s son Jake — but also to represent Claremont.

“I don’t think I’m my kid’s hero, but I just feel incredibly lucky to get to do that and to get to spend as much as I got to spend with him and his buddies,” Spinrad said. “It’s an amazing group of kids. Our All-Star team and all the all-star teams this year dedicated our postseason performance to Ryder Harris, who’s one of our little leaguers who’s battling cancer. So we dedicate this victory to him. I couldn’t be prouder of this group of boys.”

The team is looking forward to putting together a run for the Little League Baseball World Series title next year.

Southern California brackets are at


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