Lompoc’s 15-year-old Babe Ruth baseball team came home with the Central California title, knocking off Lodi 10-3 on Tuesday evening in Reedley.
The blue and white clad team, underneath a 91 degree evening temperature at Reedley High School’s baseball field, celebrated the championship by not only lifting the regional title banner after the game, but also by hoisting their special banner decked out in orange: Team Noah.
Lompoc paid tribute to Noah Scott throughout the whole tournament — who died from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on June 30. This Babe Ruth team was supposed to be the one Scott played for — but Lompoc braved the heat and Central Valley gauntlet with Scott on their minds, culminating in their unbeaten run at RHS.
“We did it for Noah,” manager Tommy Silva proudly said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve been with these guys for three years, so I knew what they were capable of. But this time, we came together. We came through and the maturity of this team was great. We did this for Lompoc and did this for Noah.”
Lompoc didn’t start off fast in the beginning, trailing 1-0 through the first three innings. Slow starts have been common for the 15-year-old All-Stars at Reedley during this tournament.
“We fell behind, like we always do,” Silva said laughing.
But Nicholas Ahedo woke up Lompoc’s bats with his base hit in the third inning, followed by Matt Gonzalez’s single. Kalub Ramirez then got Lompoc on the board with his RBI single. Cesar Frausto ended the inning with his two-run RBI to make it 3-1 in favor of Lompoc.
The sixth inning was when Lompoc “blew the game open” as Silva put it. Patrick Garcia got the hitting party started with his single, followed by another single from Gonzalez. Oscar Rojas then extended the lead with his RBI single that drove two runners in. Frausto ended the sixth with his two-run RBI blast.
Rojas took the victory on the mound, while Gonzalez relieved him after six innings.
Silva said he’s glad his team survived both the eight-team field and the triple digit heat in Fresno County.
“We’re completely exhausted,” Silva said. “A team that got used to 70 degree weather had to go in triple digit heat. But now, we’ll represent Lompoc as good as we can for the next tournament.”
That next tournament is in South Lake Tahoe for July 24, as Lompoc will face some of the state’s best on the baseball diamond.
Lompoc not only produced the tournament’s Most Valuable Player in Anthony Lopez, but received this surprise announcement on who else made the tournament’s list of top players: Noah Scott.
“I was informed they (Reedley Babe Ruth) wanted to name him. I choked up a little,” Silva said. “The Reedley Babe Ruth organization welcomed us with open arms. We couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”
Gonzalez and Rojas also earned All-Tournament honors for Lompoc.