Author Chuck Hildebrand dubbed the city of Campbell “The Last Baseball Town” in his novel detailing the tremendous successes in the sport of baseball at the Little League/Pony level over the years in the Silicon Valley suburban community.
Led by star left-hander Kris Bubic, the Campbell Pony -13 all-star team added another chapter to the town’s baseball history.
Earlier this month, Campbell won the 2011West Zone Regional in convincing fashion before heading south to play in the West Zone Sectional tournament held in Fullerton, Calif.
Head coach Tim Thompson knew his baseball all-star team had the pitching needed to win, but never imagined the dominant run his group would take him on.
Campbell went 4-0 in the Pony Regional Tournament, allowing only one earned run in four games of play. Bubic pitched 14 innings and didn’t allow a run during the stingy run by the Campbell pitching staff.
“It was an awesome experience coaching this team,” Thompson said. “It was a really, really tight group. Eight of the kids came from Moreland Little League so everyone was close and got along great.”
Campbell blanked South San Francisco 5-0 to open the tournament, then edged Napa 3-2 in game two. Bubic pitched a shutout in game one.
“Location is key for Kris (Bubic),” Thompson said. “He can hit all his spots and he has three different pitches he can use to get people out.”
The southpaw’s fastball, change and curve arsenal was too much to handle for the squads standing in the way of the potent Campbell bunch of ball players.
While the pitching staff kept opponents off balance through the regional gathering, Nikolai Flowers, Riki Desa and Greg Olimpia took care of things on the offensive side of the score sheet.
Campbell scored six runs in a game three win over Bel Passi and added five more in a 5-0 shutout win over Napa in the championship game.
The win advanced Campbell to the West Zone Sectional tournament in Fullerton.
“We had deep pitching, but didn’t really have to use it much,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to tell what kind of teams you’ll face and how you think you might do until you get down to the tournament and actually see the other teams play. We got a look at a couple of them and knew we could compete with anyone.”
Campbell held a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the sixth against the eventual tournament champion Orange in Game One, but couldn’t hold off a furious late inning rally by their opponents. After losing Game One 10-5 in seven innings, the regional champs dropped their next game as well, ending their Southern California trip after just two games.
“The Orange team that beat us ended up winning the entire tournament,” Thompson said. “We didn’t have a lot of power. We were a small ball team. The teams that beat us could really play.”
The Campbell Pony 13-year-old all-star group consisted of: Bubic, Flowers, Desa, Olimpia, Ryan Sutton, Alex Lopez, Shane Sanchez, Riley Fong, Tony Maniglia, Blake Uyehara, Mitchell Wright, AJ Sato, AJ Murillo and Nolan Barber.
The group was coached by Thompson, Daryl Brodsky and Dean Desa.