Malibu Little League baseball player Elijah Clayton is in the midst of a torrid hitting streak in Los Angeles.
The 10-year-old has a batting average of .900 with four home runs and 22 RBIs as he leads the Malibu Little League 11-10 All-Stars 11U team through the California District 25 Little League Baseball All-Star Tournament at Ladera Little League.
Malibu coach Steve Pruholme said Clayton is putting on a show.
“Elijah is just having a monster tournament,” said Prudholme, also Clayton’s coach on MLL’s Braves team. “He is having a tournament that I have never quite seen before — offensively and defensively. He has been unbelievable.”
The Webster Elementary School fifth grader and son of former Major League Baseball player Royce Clayton isn’t the only Malibu hitter hot at the plate, either. Aiden Davis, Leo Alexander, Stevie Prudholme and Dante Santangelo have also been racking up hits for Malibu.
The squad of mostly 11-year-old MLL all-stars had rung up 87 points and a 4-1 record heading into Monday afternoon’s tournament championship game against the host team Ladera.
Prudholme, Stevie’s dad, said Malibu is a really good offensive team.
“We have practiced for three weeks straight and the players have really worked hard,” Prudholme said. “We have hit a lot and our team is made up of a lot of speed and power.”
A day after advancing to the championship game by beating defending tournament winner West LA, Prudholme said the good hitting has been contagious throughout Malibu’s 10-kid roster.
“The game we lost, we scored nine runs, and the game we won yesterday we scored nine runs,” he said, “but other than that we’ve scored a lot.”
Malibu’s high scoring in the tournament started on June 26 with a 34-0 win over Culver Marina.
Clayton hit for the cycle in the victory, hitting two singles, two doubles, a triple and a home run in the contest. He had six hits and 10 RBIs in the game, and also scored four runs.
The squad scored 33 runs in the game’s first three innings.
In total, the youngsters had 28 RBIs and 32 hits that led to the 34 points in four innings of play.
Steve Pruholme said the hitting and scoring binge was crazy.
“We had the team bat left-handed for an inning to get the game over with,” he said.
Solomon also got the job done on the mound for Malibu. He pitched two shutout innings with three strikeouts and only gave up two hits.
Malibu lost their second tournament game on July 2 to West LA. Alexander led Malibu with three hits and two RBIs in the six-inning game.
Steve Prudholme said the 13-9 loss might have been a blessing in disguise, though.
“We had to play more games, so it gave us a chance to get more reps and it has really payed off for us batting-wise and defensively,” he said. “Even though we had to play more games to get to the championship — we had to play three extra games — it has helped us get some momentum going. We are in a rhythm.”
Malibu bounced back from the loss with a 20-3 win over Culver City on July 7. Clayton hit two homeruns to lead Malibu to victory in four innings. The squad scored 12 runs in the first three innings.
Malibu defeated Santa Monica East, 15-11, on July 9. Both teams stacked up the hits. The game featured 33 hits, including nine extra-base hits, and featured six lead changes in innings one through five.
Malibu grabbed the lead in the fifth inning, thanks to a RBI double by Clayton and a RBI single by Santangelo. Alexander had four hits, four runs and four RBIs for Malibu, while Prudholme had three hits, three runs and three RBIs.
Malibu beat West LA on Sunday, 9-7, in order to advance to the tournament’s championship game. Clayton’s two hits, including a two-run home run, produced four RBIs for Malibu. Davis had two hits and two runs for Malibu also.
Steve Prudholme said Malibu didn’t play its best in the first game against West LA.
“We made some key defensive mistakes and it cost us,” he said. “Going into [Sunday’s] game we were sharper, and we played that way.”
Steve Prudholme said Ladera Park is a good hitting park for his team.
“The park isn’t as big as Bluffs Park in Malibu — the ball carries well, also,” he said.
The team fell to Ladera in the title game of the series.