ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Little League All Stars baseball team cruised to its second-straight blowout victory on Tuesday night after defeating La Mirada 17-4 in Game 3 of the Little League Southern California Baseball Championship at Harada Heritage Park in Corona.
After losing its opening game of the tournament to Del Rey American, the local Majors squad has defeated its last two opponents by double-digit scores in subsequent elimination games and is one of six teams remaining in the tournament heading into Thursday’s bracket.
The team’s 13-point victory on Tuesday night came after an 11-0 win over Vineyard on July 25 to claim its second tournament game. Since July 3, the All Stars have outscored their opponents, 135-22.
In total, the Encinitas All Stars must win five games in a row to earn a trip to the western regionals in August, where 14 teams around the nation compete with hopes of advancing to the Little League World Series.
Earlier this month, Encinitas Little League claimed District 31 and Section 6 championship titles, advancing to the opening round of the Southern California tournament.
Coach Ted Haberfield said the group of 11- and 12-year-olds is staying humble, but they are excited to keep playing and compete for a World Series spot.
The team celebrated the recent wins but had a “let’s get further than last year mentality,” Haberfield said.
Haberfield said the players are focused on working hard and having fun, a balance the longtime skipper hopes to strike through his “labor of love” — coaching.
In the dugout, Haberfield takes the time between plays to talk and work with his team.
“Baseball gives you downtime,” Haberfield said. “So you can talk [the team] through things… and allow them to mature into young men.”
The Encinitas Little League was established in 1957 and is one of the oldest Little League organizations in the country.
“Encinitas Little League is very rich in tradition,” Haberfield said. “There have been a lot of great, successful teams over the years.”
The city’s Majors team has won 13 district championships and five section titles since 1960. In 2014, the Encinitas All Stars team won Southern California Baseball Championship and finished third at the West Region tournament in the Majors division, narrowly missing a chance to play in the World Series.
Haberfield said that one central thread binding the team is their faith.
“With this team, we credit [our drive] to God,” Haberfield said. “Faith is a big part of our success.”
Next up: The Encinitas Little League All Stars Majors play Huntington Valley at 5 p.m. on July 28.