The annual Anaheim Lions Tournament has teams from throughout the Southland as well as teams from out oout of state teams. But when it came down to the championship game, it came down to teams very nearly playing in their backyard.
Garden Grove Pacifica entered the tournament with solid but not imposing credentials before running the able, culminating with a 3-1 victory Wednesday night over Anaheim Servite at Glover Stadium.
Pacifica (14-3) is No. 5 in the Southern Section Division 2 rankings, but the Mariners played like a No. 1 throughout.
Only once did they allow more than one run in a game, a 10-8 slugfest over Temecula Great Oak in the tournament opener. After that, Pacifica defeated Riverton (Utah) 5-0, Las Vegas Rancho 10-1, and Los Angeles Westchester 8-0. All told, Pacifica outscored tournament opponents 36-10.
Max Bethell (6-1) led Pacifica against Servite and was named the tournament's most valuable player. The Cal Poly Pomona-bound left-hander struck out nine, and he was in command after the first inning when he gave up a run-scoring single to Joe Prior.
Pacifica's Trent Chatterton had an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning, and Kyle Davis and Matt Gilbody had RBI singles in the third inning.
Over a longer span, the Mariners have allowed one run or fewer in six of their last seven games, including three shutouts.
Their losses this season were to Lakewood, 5-4, and most recently to La Palma Kennedy, 1-0. The season opener, also at Glover Stadium, was a 13-2 blowout at the hands of Fountain Valley.
Servite (11-5) had an outstanding tournament; the Friars came into the game unranked.