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Reds capture crown with a lady’s touch By Rod Rummelsburg, Special To The News | Fri, Jul 02 2010 12:29 PM

After winning in the first round of the Tournament of Champions last month against East Santa Monica, the Culver City Little League Reds Minors narrowly lost the next game against

However, the setback did not diminish the squad’s thrilling championship finish during the regular season, due in large part to a giant grand slam by the only girl on the team.

 The Reds Minors battled their way down to the last pitch to seize a 4-3 victory against the Dodgers Minors for the crown, finishing with a record of 16 wins, four losses and one tie this spring at Bill Botts Field. 

The Reds struck gold again in the playoffs among the eight minors teams, ultimately defeating the second-place Pirates in two consecutive games.

The Reds started off the season on fire, winning 14 consecutive games. 

“We played like we were invincible. We were the team to beat,” said team manager Jesse Montoya.

But just when the Reds thought they would roll through the season undefeated, they lost their mojo. 

“Mojo can happen when you get too confident. It can happen when you are too insecure. It can happen in the infield. It can happen in the outfield. It can happen batting,” said assistant coach Tag Evans. “For us, it happened everywhere.”

The Reds lost several games in a row.

“Our team was down but not out. The kids practiced harder and stuck with it. We encouraged the team. They kept the faith,” said assistant coach Frank Savino, who helped lead the twice-a-week practice sessions and intra-team scrimmage games.

The team honed its skills at stealing bases, one of the Reds’ trademarks. That, in turn, led to plenty of dirty uniforms from sliding into bases. 

“The kids spent a lot of time on the ground.  Their moms spent a lot of time washing their uniforms,” said assistant coach Deepesh Patel.

The Reds kept playing hard through the rest of the season, but the Pirates and Padres wound up in a three-way tie for first place with the Reds. The game that would put the Reds over the top to secure first place would be the 4-3 win against the Dodgers, a formidable foe.

The Dodgers led by two runs in the sixth inning before the bats came alive for the Reds with two outs. 

Sidra Montoya, the only girl on the team, took two strikes. One more strike and the game would be over, relegating the Reds to third place.  

Sidra ripped the baseball for a grand slam. She rounded the bases, tears of joy steaming from her eyes. The Reds won. Thanks to Sidra, the team rediscovered its mojo. 

 The team went on to win the playoffs and represent Culver City in the Tournament of Champions, Minors Division.

 

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