The Coast News Group
Encinitas pitcher Christian Koch threw a perfect game in the SoCal Intermediate 50/70 championship game, helping the Encinitas Little League Intermediate All Stars win a state title and advance to the West Region tournament this week in Arizona. Photo by Michelle Friszell
Encinitas pitcher Christian Koch threw a perfect game in the SoCal Intermediate 50/70 championship game, helping the Encinitas Little League Intermediate All Stars win a state title and advance to the West Region tournament this week in Arizona. Photo by Michelle Friszell
CitiesEncinitasEncinitas FeaturedNewsSportsSports

Encinitas Little League wins SoCal state title, advances to West Region

Encinitas Little League Intermediate All Stars pitcher Christian Koch dished out a perfect game against Silver Spur Little League in Saturday’s final of the Southern California Intermediate 50/70 Baseball Championship, allowing no hits or walks over six innings in an 11-0 run-rule victory at Perez Field in Ventura.

After winning the District 31 and Section 6 championships last month, Encinitas went undefeated over the weeklong tournament, punching its ticket to the West Region tournament as the SoCal state champs and becoming just the fourth Encinitas Little League All Stars team to advance to the regional in the organization’s 66-year history.

The right-handed Koch had 13 strikeouts over six innings en route to achieving a rare pitching milestone against the team from Rolling Hills Estates in Los Angeles County. Of Koch’s 73 total pitches, 53 were strikes or 72%.

At the plate, Encinitas scored 11 runs on 15 hits, including Will Friedrichs’ three-run homer to right field in the 6th inning that helped secure the win by invoking the 10-run rule. Friedrichs finished 3 of 4 with 5 RBI to lead the team.

Encinitas Little League

The Encinitas Little League Intermediate All Stars team will play in a Southern California Tournament semifinal game on July 13 in Ventura. Courtesy photo/ELL
The Encinitas Little League Intermediate All Stars team advances to the West Region tournament for a chance to make it to the Little League 50/70 Intermediate World Series. Courtesy photo/ELL

In addition to a historic pitching performance, Koch went 3 for 4 with an RBI. Tanner Hellman went 2 for 4,  Curren Haberfield finished 2 for 4 with an RBI, and Blake Larson went 3 for 3.

At the SoCal state championship tournament, Encinitas scored 45 runs while surrendering only five. Since the beginning of the summer, the team has outscored its opponents 117-12. The team remains undefeated in postseason play.

“We feel very blessed to be in the situation we’re in,” said head coach Ted Haberfield. “The boys are playing extremely well together; the chemistry and intensity is evident. We are now entering uncharted territory. We finally won the SoCal tournament. The team is anxious to see how far they can go, with the World Series our biggest goal.”

The Encinitas Little League, Intermediate All Stars, begin pool play in the regional tournament against Oregon at 5:30 p.m. on July 20 in Nogales, Ariz. Following the opener against Oregon, Encinitas will play NorCal at 8 p.m. on July 21, Washington at 5 p.m. on July 22, and Alaska at 5 p.m. on July 24.

After four games, teams will be seeded in a single-elimination tournament to qualify for the Little League World Series.

The 2023 Little League Intermediate 50/70 Baseball World Series is tentatively scheduled for July 30-Aug. 6 at Max Baer Park in Livermore, California.

Editor’s Note: 50/70 refers to the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate (50 feet) ace between bases (70 feet).

Leave a Comment