Thanks to a mix of walked batters and stolen bases, the Malibu Little League Astros erased a four-run deficit against the visiting Santa Monica Pirates and knotted the score at six with one inning to go on May 4 at Bluffs Park.
However, after Santa Monica scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning, the Astros failed to answer back, and the game ended with an 8-6 Pirates victory.
Astros manager Duross O’Bryan said his squad played well, despite the Astros 10:30 a.m. matchup against the Pirates being their second game of the morning.
“We gave up four unearned runs in the top of the first inning,” O’Bryan said to The Malibu Times. “We were playing terribly, but we got it together. We came back big time.”
Nicky Ladesich, the Astros’ 12-year-old second baseman, said he and his teammates played alright.
“Our infield wasn’t that great, but we hit okay,” he said. “Our outfield did good.”
Malibu answered Santa Monica’s four early runs with three runs of their own before the first inning closed. The Pirates and the Astros each put two runs on the board during the next three innings.
Malibu pitcher Declan O’Bryan, the coach’s son, took the mound for the first time in the contest at the top of the fifth inning. The 12-year-old proceeded to strike out the first three Santa Monica batters. Then, in the bottom of the inning, the younger O’Bryan hit an RBI single into left field, making the score 6-6.
A base hit by a Pirates batter drove in two runs in the sixth inning. The Astros weren’t able score in their final at-bat.
The Malibu Little League had a decline in enrollment this spring due to last November’s Woolsey Fire. There are only three teams in the MLL’s Majors Division—Astros, Braves and Dodgers—so the teams of older youth have played more than a few games against teams from Agoura, Santa Monica and Thousand Oaks.
The Astros had played the Pirates two times before its two-point loss to the Santa Monica team last Saturday.
The older O’Bryan said Malibu’s teams have had to take the diamond against some talented players.
“It’s good for competitive spirit in trying to keep up with them,” he said.