Posted by Don Johns on Jul 22 2018 at 05:00PM PDT


Going thru the difficult Connie Mack West Region World Series Qualifier in Southern California is never easy.  Faced with 4 very good teams remaining, the first game of the day for the HOOTS saw starting pitcher Josh White give up one lone hit to the  OC Giants and give the HOOTS the victory.

Earlier in the day OC Premier defeated the Dukes to set up the Championship game between the HOOTS and Orange County Premier who defeated the HOOTS in the first game of the tournament.

Ryan Fleming started the Championshp game for the HOOTS against OC Premier in a game that remainined tied unil the 7th inning.  Connor Linchey relieved Fleming until the top of the 7th inning when the Orange county team was in position to score.  Chris Santiago was brought in for the HOOTS in his first mound appearance of the tournament and was able to retire the side to keep the score 3-3.  The bottom of the 7th with the game tied, Jack Grant led off with a single was forced out at 2nd base.  Michael O'Hara advanced to 2nd on a pass ball which brought up Chris Santiago.  "We had the right guy at the plate and the right guy at 2nd base who can run.  Chris just drove a ball deep into left field to score Michael for the walk off with the win 4-3 and advance the HOOTS to the Connie Mack World Series.   All I saw was a mass exit out of the dugout to one of the great dogpiles.  Just hoping Santiago didn't get injured.  We played great defense and just staying in the game against them.  They are a very good team and really proud of our guys to battle thru this after losing their first game to the same team.  Coach Johns texted late last night."

The HOOTS now have earned their way back to the 2018 Connie Mack World Series where one year ago they were the National Finalist against Midland.  Long time HOOTS Coach Chris DeClercq commented "It is hard to get to the World Series in Farmington once, for us to go back to back is a great tribute to this team.  They will build their own legacy and it will be a trip they will never forget in their baseball lives."

The 2018 HOOTS Connie Mack team advanced to the Championship round on Sunday at the Connie Mack World Series West Region Qualifier being held in Southern California.  After a first game loss, the team has bounced back with 2 shut outs in wins over Southern Nevada and ABD.  They have now advanced to the Championship round on Sunday with the winner earning the berth to the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, New Mexico to represent the Western Region.  Kyle Harrison threw a shutout against Southern Nevada.  The next day Josh Giffins threw a shutout complete game against ABD to set up the final round game.  The team has given up 4 runs in three games and was the #1 Seed in their bracket with record of 2 wins and 1 loss.  Their runs scored were 25 and only 4 runs allowed in the 3 games series.  

One year from their run to the National Championship where they lost to Midland in the final game, the 2018 HOOTS players know the history of the program, and are aware of the challenge ahead of them to return to the World Series. Coach Johns commented " we needed good outings from Kyle and a complete game from Josh Giffins today and both delivered for us.  This is a young team, a lot of underclass players in key positions.  But we play as difficult as schedule as we can given the environment in amateur baseball today.  We had a tough game 1, but we settled down and now just need to keep doing what works for us.  There is nothing easy about this path against very good teams, but I am very proud of our players and our coaching staff."

The 2018 HOOTS Connie Mack team starts the journey to attempt to return to the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, New Mexico on Thursday July 19 .  The team will begin play in the World Series Qualifier in Southern California.  The Danville team will play the OC Premier team at 2:00PM.  All Games are held at Golden West College in Southern California.

The HOOTS were the 2017 Connie Mack World Series Finalist, in a game won by Midland for the National title.  The HOOTS team has made 4 trips to Farmington and the World Series.  In recent years the 2014 team advanced to the Final 4 and lost to DBat who went on to win the National Championship.


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