Rangers clean up

Michael Mcalevey/Special to The Malibu Times

The Rangers of Malibu Little League came back from West L.A. with a championship. The District 25 Tournament of Champions combines the top individual teams from North Venice, Santa Monica, West L.A., Beverly Hills, Culver City, Playa Vista and South L.A.

Nobody can actually remember the last time a Malibu team won this tournament so this is a great accomplishment for the Rangers. Led by Manager John Puklus and his coaching staff of Stan Berk and Art Hale, the Rangers swept through the tournament by winning four games in a row. In the first game they defeated Santa Monica West 5-1. In the second game they completely dominated Beverly Hills 13-1. In the third game they slipped by Santa Monica East 4-3 and in the final game they defeated Playa Vista 7-2.

The team batted 402 in the week-long tournament and the amazing pitching duo of Jason Puklus and Brooks Fitch led the way by giving up only 7 runs in 23 innings and striking out 44 batters. The two young warriors continued their remarkable season into this tournament and dominated the opposing batters. Fitch and Puklus also each had 8 RBIs in the week to lead the hitting. Puklus ripped a huge home run in the championship game over the center field fence. Matt Hale came alive at the end of the season and he also smacked a home run in the last game. Young Hale turned-in some remarkable defensive plays throughout the tournament at second base. Grady Berk anchored the team at shortstop and showed why he might be the best 11-year-old in the entire District 25. Damion Walters, Matthew Mesher, Ryan Firedman, Ian Robinson, James Hurst, Thomas Clifford, Brooks Horn and Austin Beer all contributed to this winning effort. The Rangers season record, including all playoffs and TOC, was 23-3.

It was a remarkable year for the Rangers and for Malibu Little League.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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