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CHRISTINE COTTER, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
The Orange Little League team celebrates its 16-4 victory over Aliso Viejo in Game 3 of the Southern California Championship Series in the 12-year-old division.

Orange advances to Little League West Regional

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

ALISO VIEJO – Orange Little League won the Southern California State Championship on Monday when it defeated Aliso Viejo, 16-4, at Aliso Viejo Little League in the deciding game of a three-game series. Orange will move on to play in the Western Regional in San Bernardino.

Orange was led by pitcher Chris Huerta on offense and defense.

Huerta hit two home runs, one a two-run homer and the other a three-run bomb in the final inning. He also held Aliso Viejo to just two runs while he was on the mound.

"He was a bulldog," Orange coach Dale Ducheny said. "On the mound he threw the pitches he had to. He knew he had to do the job with the bat and he came through today."

By the end of the game, Orange made it look like Home Run Derby. Jordan Schmidt, Ryan Islas and AJ Esperanza all hit solo home runs and Huerta's two homers put five runs on the board for Orange.

But none of the homers was as impressive as Josh Smith's grand slam in the final inning.

"We have the capability to hit home runs," Ducheny said. "They just have to be on their game and know what they're up against."

Ryan Poirt started on the mound for Aliso Viejo and struggled early as Orange took a 3-0 lead in the second inning.

Both runs given up by Huerta were solo home runs, one by Chris Fimentel and the other to Hunter Jump. Huerta was replaced by Brandon Ducheny in the fifth inning.

"This is the first time in Orange Little League history (to advance to the West Regional) and this is huge," Ducheny said. "We've been to the playoffs before and never made it this far. I'm excited for the boys."

Orange will represent all of Southern California at the Little League West Regional in San Bernardino. Whoever wins there will be invited to the Little League World Series in Williamsburg, Pa.


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