NorCal claims AAU 15-under  championship

By Matt Hill

   KINGSPORT -- David Lee Roth used to sing about "California Girls," but there were some California boys having the song "We are the Champions" played for them Friday afternoon at Hunter Wright Stadium.
   The NorCal Baseball club won the AAU Hardees 15-and-Under National Championship with an 8-3 victory over the West Bay Titans in a battle of not only two California teams, but also two San Francisco area teams.
   It was revenge for the NorCal squad, as West Bay defeated NorCal in the California state qualifier.
   "They're a rival," West Bay coach Dave Salter said. "They're our best competition in the area."
   NorCal led throughout in this game, and head coach Jeremy Advincula thought it was a total team effort.
   "This is great for the kids," Advincula said. "They've worked hard all summer. This is just icing on the cake. These kids are class acts."
   NorCal pitcher Joseph Parigi pitched a gem in probably the biggest game of his life. Parigi gave up only four hits on the afternoon.
   Advincula couldn't have been more pleased with Parigi.
   "He's second to none," Advincula said. "He was throwing on two days rest. He was a bulldog for us."
   NorCal saw a 3-0 lead get cut to 4-3 going into the top of the sixth. That happened to be the frame that won NorCal the championship.
   Ryan Young started the inning with a single, then Parigi, Brandon Crawford, Brett Wallace and Austin Hogans all had RBI hits for NorCal.
   Nine guys came to the plate in the inning en route to NorCal scoring four runs. That brought the game to its final score of 8-3.
   "These kids know that innings five, six and seven are ours," Advincula said. "We did a tremendous job adjusting to different pitchers."
   West Bay used four different pitchers in this contest. It was needed due to all the pitching being used up.
   The tournament lasted for a week, so Salter was just playing it by committee.
   "Our pitchers were tired," Salter said. "We called it staffing. We didn't have a lot of fresh pitchers."
   Advincula thought his players were still fresh going into the championship game.
   "They showed no weakness," Advincula said. "These kids did a great job preparing for this game."
   Not many athletes can say they've won a national championship, but now the NorCal players can. Advincula says this could be the start of great things for these players.
   "This is a special thing for these kids," Advincula said. "This can be a stepping stone in their baseball careers."
   Salter wasn't extremely upset with his team taking second place.
   "We're very proud to get to the championship," Salter said.
   The city of Kingsport has been a fixture in AAU athletic events. Kingsport recently hosted the 11 and Under Girls Basketball National Championship.
   Salter said that Kingsport was a great host for the tournament.
   "These AAU people and volunteers were fantastic," Salter said.