A perfect game thrown by Ty Pennington on Monday night at Freedom Park helped propel Pantano Little League’s all-stars into the championship series of the District 12 Major division tournament.
The best-of-three series begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Freedom Park and is one of 11 Little League baseball and softball championship series that begin Wednesday around Tucson.
Pantano will play Rincon, with the winner advancing to the July 18 state tournament in Prescott.
Pennington’s perfect game (no walks, no hits, no errors to go along with seven strikeouts) came in a 27-0, four-inning mercy-rule win over Santa Rita.
Marcos Munguia hit two home runs in Pantano’s win, and Trevor Beck, Joe Grono and Tanner Zacker hit one home run apiece.
The win gave Pantano a 4-0 record in Pool B of the tournament. Rincon won Pool A with a 3-1 record. Both teams had the same record as other teams in their pools. (American was 3-1 in Pool A, but lost to Rincon in the tournament. Sunnyside was 4-0 in Pool B.)
Because Sunnyside and Pantano did not play each other, the next tiebreaker used by the district is a runs-allowed ratio, which is decided by the number of runs allowed per inning in pool play.
While several people have expressed disappointment with the tiebreaker setup, including Sunnyside Little League vice president Art Burrola, who said it was “unfair” for the kids, District 5 director Gene Biernat pointed out the rules are not in his control.
In an e-mail to the Citizen on Tuesday night, Biernat wrote, “LL Baseball and Softball uses standard tiebreaker rules for all levels of play. Districts do not have the authority to use anything different. The Tournament Committee in Williamsport, Pa., is the only authority to administer the International Tournament.”
He added, “District 5 has been using Pool Play and these tiebreaker rules for several years and they do work. LL has been using these rules for several more years, and if they were not successful and fair, they would have come up with something better a long time ago.”
Tuesday night was a slow night for Little League action in Tucson, with just five games in District 5 played.
In junior baseball action, Coronado’s Alex Worden pitched a five-inning shutout with 10 strikeouts and hit a two-run home run in a 10-0, mercy-rule win over Tanque Verde. Worden’s homer pushed the lead to 10 in the bottom of the fifth, ending the game.
Coronado has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. Game 2 will be played at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Udall Park.
In the 10-11-year-old division, Tanque Verde’s 16-2 win over Tucson Mountain made it the winner of Pool A, and it will advance to the championship series against Thornydale, which was an 11-1 winner over Continental Ranch on Tuesday.
Their best-of-three championship series begins Thursday.