Team Sportsworld of Laguna Beach Little League knocked off the top team from Saddleback Little League and came within one out of beating South Irvine on Monday before bowing out of the 2011 Tournament of Champions Minors Division playoffs.
In its tournament opener Saturday, Sportsworld ace Blake Pivaroff came out firing, striking out nine of the first 10 batters he faced against Saddleback in a 6-4 victory by the locals.
In a quarterfinal game Monday, Sportsworld took a five-run lead against the South Irvine Cubs but lost an 8-7 heartbreaker in the bottom of the sixth.
Sportsworld held a one-run lead heading into the final inning, but a misplay of a slow grounder in front of home plate resulted in a Sportsworld error that allowed South Irvine to score the tying and winning runs.
Sportsworld was the regular and postseason champion of Laguna Beach's AAA Division.
Morgan Stanley, runner-up to Sportsword in the AAA postseason tournament and Laguna Beach's No. 2 entrant in the district Tournament of Champions, was eliminated from title contention following a 9-5 opening-round loss to Aliso Viejo No. 1 at La Paz Field in Laguna Niguel.
VFW, the No. 1 team from Laguna Beach, fell in its opening tournament game, 3-2, to Saddleback No. 2 on June 1 at Laguna Hills Community Center. Rotary, the No. 2 team from Laguna Beach, shut out South Irvine No. 1, 6-0, in a first-round game June 1 at Hicks Canyon Park. Rotary was eliminated from the tournament Saturday following a 12-8 loss to Central Irvine No. 1.
Laguna's No. 1 entry was dropped from the tournament Saturday by Laguna Hills No. 2, which scored a 19-3 victory at La Paz Field. Laguna No. 2 also was eliminated Saturday after a 12-0 loss to Laguna Hills No. 1.