ENCINITAS — After defeating Sweetwater Valley 3-2 on Monday, the Encinitas Little League Intermediate All Stars team continues its undefeated postseason run this week in the semifinals at the Southern California Intermediate Baseball Championship.
Encinitas will play Silver Spur from Rolling Hills at 5:30 p.m. on July 13 at Perez Field in Ventura.
Last month, Encinitas won the District 31 and Section 6 championships to get to the SoCal intermediate tournament and is hoping to punch its ticket to the World Series in Livermore, California, for the first time since 2017.
“They were happy and thrilled, to say the least,” said Ted Haberfield, Encinitas team manager and former president of Encinitas Little League. “But a lot of them have already been (to the semifinals), so they’re anxious to hit their biggest goal, which would be they get to the World Series.”
The Encinitas Little League was established in 1957 and is one of the oldest Little League organizations in the country. In 2014, the Encinitas All Stars Majors team won the Southern California Baseball Championship and finished third at the West Region, narrowly missing a chance to play in the World Series. Three years later, the Encinitas Junior Little League All-Stars team made it to the Junior Little League World Series in Taylor, Mich., finishing third.
For this year’s Encinitas Intermediate All Stars team, consisting entirely of 13-year-olds, the SoCal playoff is familiar territory.
“The last two years as 11-year-old and 12-year-old All-Star teams, they won District 31 and Section 6, as well,” Haberfield said. “In both years, they lost in the semifinals in the state tournament, which is where we are right now. So, they’re really eager to win state so we can get to the regional tournament this year.”
Before the team’s game against Sweetwater Valley, the Encinitas Intermediate All Stars defeated Valley Center 15-5 to win the district title. In the Section 6 championship game, Encinitas routed Vista American, 10-0.
And for the first time, the Encinitas team entered the SoCal playoffs undefeated in the postseason, outscoring its opponents 72-7.
Three games into the Southern California Tournament, a 10-team, double-elimination tournament, Encinitas has defeated Aliso Viejo (12-1), Dos Pueblos (10-0), and Sweetwater Valley.
“We’re familiar with the teams we have played so far,” Haberfield said. “But it’s interesting anytime you get to the state level. The competition is just really, really strong across the board.”
The Encinitas Little League is playing July 13 against Silver Spur Little League at Perez Field in Ventura. If the team wins Thursday, it will play in the championship game on Saturday for a chance to advance to the West Region Tournament from July 20-27 in Nogales, Ariz.
If Encinitas wins the regional, the team will advance to the World Series from July 30 through August 6.
The Encinitas Little League Intermediate All Stars team is Brooks Butler, Curren Haberfield, Madden Reinke, Devin Plutner, Declan Hand, Nikolaj King, Blake Larson, Christian Koch, Tanner Hellman, William Fredrichs, Bodhan Syder, Max Deliseo, Luke Moffett, and of course, Nala the St. Bernard, the team’s unofficial mascot.