The Los Gatos Intermediate All Star team defeated Quito-Saratoga 5-4 in the District 12 championship game on June 17. Los Gatos received an opening-round bye in the Section 5 Tournament and plays its next game on Saturday at 3pm at Machado Park in Santa Clara. Submitted photo.

When it comes to the All Star tournament season, Los Gatos Little League knows how to represent. 

While the 9-and-under, 10U, 11U and 12U teams entered this week’s play still in contention for a championship, the 13U Intermediate squad already won its District 12 championship on June 17. With just two teams fielding an Intermediate team this year in District 12, Los Gatos and Quito-Saratoga squared off in a best-of-three series to decide who would move on to the Sectional round. 

Los Gatos lost the first game 6-3 on June 14 before answering with a 11-1 mercy-rule victory the next day.

That set up a winner-take-all game two days later, and Los Gatos prevailed 5-4 to take home the title on its home field. Los Gatos led 5-0 entering the top of the seventh inning before narrowly avoiding what would’ve been a monumental collapse.

Saratoga was down to its final strike before rallying for four runs and putting the tying runner on third base when Los Gatos second baseman Reef Rahimi snagged a line drive to end the game. Ali Rahimi, the player’s father and Intermediate team manager, felt equal parts relief and pride afterward. 

“What I liked most about the team is they didn’t fall apart,” he said. “When you’re leading 5-0, two outs and a full count, and it goes to 5-4, that can really drain you. That’s some serious momentum for the other team. But our boys kept it together, kept their cool and persevered. They were all awesome, they all played incredibly well and showed amazing heart.”

Los Gatos received a bye in the Section 5 Tournament and plays its first game on June 29 at 3pm at Machado Park in Santa Clara. 

The Intermediate team roster includes Cody Fischer, Jason Law, Reef Rahimi, Luke Willerer, Henry Connors, Cade Zimmer, Carson Reynolds, Randy Hanson, Frankie Czyz, Grey Curtis, Owen Evans, Ray He and Alex Meng. The assistant coaches are Tom Willerer and Jason He. 

Every player was a member of last year’s 12U team that advanced to the NorCal Regional round. In the winner-take-all game against Quito-Saratoga, Reynolds started and put Los Gatos in prime position to win. He delivered six-plus innings before having to depart after reaching the pitch count limit. However, relievers Law and Hanson came in to close things out, preserving a superb performance from Reynolds. 

“For all intents and purposes, Carson was throwing a no-hitter until he had to be taken out,” Rahimi said. “He was crushing it.”

Rahimi praised the pitching of Czyz and Zimmer in the first two games, and also mentioned the solid play of catcher Fischer. 

“Cody was exceptional behind the plate,” Rahimi said. 

The Intermediate manager admitted things got rather nerve-wracking toward the end, which made the team’s ability to close things out all the more impressive. 

“Up 5-0 and all of a sudden it’s 5-4, it was crazy,” he said. “Then they hit a solid line drive and an amazing catch by Reef for the win. Just a great game.”

In other action, the LGLL 9U team went 2-2 in pool play and needs Lincoln Glen to lose its final pool game to have any shot of advancing to Thursday’s semifinal knockout round. The 10U team was 2-1 entering its final pool game against Quito-Saratoga on June 25 (this edition went to press before the start of the game). A win would clinch a spot in Thursday’s semifinals. The 11U team won its opening game and plays its second pool game on June 26. The 12U Major All Stars have looked impressive in their first two contests, beating Willow Glen 11-0 and Branham Hills 8-4 to seize the early lead in the North Pool standings.

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Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.


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