Claremont All Stars make 3peat look routine

It’s a 3peat for the Claremont Little League Junior All Star Team, which clinched the District 20 Championship for the third year in a row on Saturday, July 7.

The 13- and 14-year-olds faced off against the San Dimas All Stars at Griffith Park in Claremont, in a match-up that proved to be surprisingly tight.

The competition began on Friday, July 6 when the boys played 5 innings before the game was called due to darkness. The teams reconvened the next day for 2 more innings, with San Dimas beating Claremont 16-15.

The athletes barely had time to catch their breath. Thirty minutes later, the teams—who were tied in district standings—played one another again in the championship game.

The Claremont All Stars got off to a roaring start, scoring 21 runs in the first inning. The locals won the game 28-8, once again securing champ status. They will begin sectional play on Saturday, July 14.

“Our team didn’t really think it was going to be that much of a challenge in the beginning,” said 13-year-old Ryan Swift. “But when they came back on Saturday, they had a great desire to play—they really wanted to win. We had to put up a good fight.”

While the victory was a team effort, Ryan notes that Cody Smith really set the pace with a grand slam.

“After that, our coaches got us pumped up and we were ready to go,” he said.

After the victory, which Ryan said was “awesome for us,” the team convened to the home of one of the All Stars, Travis Moffatt, for a well-earned party.

Ryan’s mother Kimberly Swift, who serves as the Claremont Little League Junior All Stars’ team mom, said Little League has been a wonderful experience for her son. She praised the dedication of coaches like Joe Robles and team manager John Vance.

“Two of the coaches don’t even have kids on the team, and they still come out, spending hour after hour preparing the boys, mentally and physically, for what they’re about to face,” she said. 

Ms. Swift emphasizes that her son’s participation in baseball—with began with T-ball when he was 6—has an impact in all aspects of his life.

“It’s not just about baseball skills. The coaches are also about helping them to become good young men, how to make good choices and face tough situations,” she said. “They teach them how to play with honor, respect and dignity, not just on the ball field but in life, too.”

Ms. Swift said the boys are hoping they’ll have a strong showing in sectionals.

“They’re a good group of kids who want to make their city proud,” she said.

 —Sarah Torribio


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