Special to the Sun
Published Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Updated Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 | 2:45 p.m.
UPDATE: Mountain Ridge Little League of Northwest Las Vegas, playing to become the first Nevada team to reach the Little League World Series, opened the West Region Friday with a 11-1 victory in four innings against Dixie Little League of Utah.
Jaret Godman pitched a one-hitter and hit a home run for Mountain Ridge, which scored six runs in the fourth inning to end the game by the 10-run mercy rule. Kendall Rosenkrantz added a RBI double, and Jacob Godman (Jaret's twin) and Nick Cornman notched run-scoring singles in a three-run third inning to break a 1-all tie.
Mountain Ridge returns to action at 8 p.m. Sunday against East Lake Little League of Santa Cruz, Calif. More than 10,000 fans are expected for the game.
Here's more about the team from earlier today:
Mountain Ridge Little League coach Larry Quaney thinks his team will make history.
No Nevada league has advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., but Quaney predicts this summer will be different. His squad of 12- and 13-year-olds is one tournament victory away from reaching youth baseball’s biggest stage.
Mountain Ridge, based in northwest Las Vegas, plays Utah today in its Western Regional opener in San Bernardino, Calif. The team enters the six-team tournament led by a group of players Quaney says has the talent to break through.
Baseball has progressed over the past decade in Southern Nevada with the area’s population boom. Travel teams not affiliated with Little League consistently win major tournaments and can be successful against regional powers. But at the Little League regional level, Northern and Southern California are still the teams to beat, and Hawaii has sent teams to Williamsport in recent years.
“We are all about making history,” Quaney said. “The kids really feel like we are going to do something special.”
Green Valley has twice sent teams to the regional championship game and Paseo Verde was expected to win in 2008 but was upset in the finals by Hawaii, which went on to win the World Series.
Quaney’s confidence is the product of his team’s past accomplishments. Mountain Ridge’s core group of players have won the Nevada Little League title in different age groups the past two summers, also finishing high in some events on the travel circuit.
Three years ago, the travel team was primarily assembled with the plan of building a capable team for one tournament — the Little League regional.
Here’s Quaney’s scouting report on his team: “We are coming down here with a team with six legitimate starting pitchers, middle relievers and a closer. Twelve of the 13 kids in the last four games hit home runs. We have a lot of power. “
Quaney knows what it takes to win a regional. He also coached Mountain Ridge’s team in the 2010 regional, gaining valuable experience. Having success in San Bernardino is more than being the best team — it’s also about dealing with the pressure.
Games are televised by the ESPN family of networks and more than 10,000 fans sit in the stands. That's a tremendous amount of pressure for a youngster.
“We kind of prepare them ahead of time,” Quaney said. “We tell them from coming down here before what to expect. As long as you know and expect ahead of time, if you prepare them a little bit, they will be fine.”
Four players on this year’s Mountain Ridge team had brothers on the 2010 team. They advanced to the semifinals in 2010, but allowed 27 unearned runs in four games to kill their chances of advancing. Both teams had quality players, but Quaney feels this year’s team is significantly better — especially in terms of depth.
“It’s not being cocky. I feel so much better (this year) than in 2010,” he said. “In 2010, we kind of shocked everyone by making it (to the regional). We kind of came down here with an unarmed squad. “
Mountain Ridge is led by pitcher/infielder Jesse Pierce, twins Jaret and Jake Godman, and Quaney’s son, Lance Quaney. Other players include Nick Cornman, Ryan Lystlund, Kendall Rosenkrantz, Parker Collett, Tyler Barker, Trevor Wright, Zack Simon, Justin Griffith and Karsonne Winters.
“We are the team to beat, I think,” Larry Quaney said.