Malibu Little League All-Stars Make Strong Run

Russell Kish pitched an outstanding game against Ladera.

One foot was in the door, but Malibu couldn’t quite get the other foot to follow. 

Despite pounding two opponents en route to a 3-0 start, Malibu fell short of the title by dropping its final two contests in the 11-year-old District 25 All-Star baseball tournament held June 21-July 2. 

The losses marked another year in which Malibu couldn’t get out of the first round. It hasn’t had a team advance past the preliminary round since 1992. 

Malibu began the double-elimination tourney, hosted by Beverly Hills Little League, with a 10-0 win over Santa Monica East in four innings. The game was cut short based on the mercy rule — a 10-run lead after four innings are complete. Lyam Lynch had three hits and five RBIs in the game. 

Three days later, the team knocked off Ladera, a heavy favorite to win the tournament, 4-1. The winning ways continued as Malibu rolled to an easy 11-1 four-inning victory on June 28 against Culver Marina. 

The stage was set for Malibu to advance to the next round in Torrance for the first time in 22 years. But first Malibu had to defeat Ladera on June 30 in a meeting of two high-powered teams. 

Malibu’s Russell Kish threw 4 2/3 innings of electric baseball, limiting Ladera to only four hits and one unearned run while walking two and striking out eight batters. 

“I felt really good,” Kish said. “I was trying to keep them off balance and not ready for the next pitch.” 

Trailing 1-0 with two outs at the top of the fifth inning (Little League games consist of six innings), Malibu knocked in two runs. Kish drove in Jake Friedman on an RBI single to left field for the first run. Trumann Gettings followed with an RBI single up the middle, bringing home Lynch to give the Tide a 2-1 lead. 

But Ladera rallied with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to reclaim the lead, and Malibu couldn’t mount a comeback in the sixth inning, losing the contest, 3-2. The loss forced a winner-take-all decisive game on July 2. 

Once again, Ladera edged out Malibu in the rematch, winning 2-1 in a close extra-innings game. Gettings had a strong outing on the mound, throwing five innings and allowing one unearned run. 

But that wasn’t enough, as Ladera scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh, setting off a wild celebration. 

Still, Malibu took the loss in stride. 

“They played beautifully and played as a team,” Malibu coach Geoff Stern said. “They embraced representing Malibu playing as one unit. Our boys gave it all they had. They played Malibu baseball. It’s been a pleasure.” 

Kish finished the tournament pitching 12 innings and allowing only two unearned runs while contributing four hits, including a home run and five RBIs at the plate. 

“Russell was amazing on the mound. He’s a phenomenal baseball player,” Stern said. 

Gettings pitched in three games and recorded 13 strikeouts while collecting three RBIs. 

“We had a good group of kids. Things just didn’t go our way,” Gettings said. “Hopefully we all get better and next year we just try harder.” 

Other notable tournament performances include Joshua Stern tallying six hits and tossing two innings where he gave up zero and struck out three. Treye Meadows and George Roth each had three RBIs apiece over five games.