The Southridge all-stars were trailing 3-2 and were one strike away from being defeated in the championship game of the District 71 Major Division (11-12) baseball tournament on July 8.
But that's when Southridge's leadoff hitter, Anthony Pardo, came through with one of the most dramatic hits in the history of the Little League playoffs in Fontana.
Pardo singled home two runs in the top of the sixth inning, and then Southridge stopped Vineyard in the bottom of the sixth and captured a 4-3 victory for the district title.
It was the third district title for Southridge manager Rey Cruz, whose teams triumphed previously in the younger divisions.
"This one was special," Cruz said. "This one, for the 12-year-olds, was the one we were building up to, so this was the most important one for me."
Vineyard had taken a one-run lead in the third inning and maintained it until the sixth, when Southridge loaded the bases with two out.
Up came Pardo, who fell behind on the count 0-2 but battled back and then punched a fly ball down the left field line. The left fielder raced over but could not grab it, and the tying and go-ahead runs came home.
In the bottom of the inning, pitcher Elias Cruz made a great defensive play to backhand a hard-hit ball and throw to first for the out. After a ground out, a Vineyard player singled, but Cruz struck out the final batter to nail down the thrilling victory.
Throughout the tourney, Southridge relied on pitchers Cruz and Pardo, but manager Cruz said the victory was a team effort. "They had great defense behind them, and everybody was involved with the win," he said.
Playing very well for Southridge were Ashton Ramos, Anthony Romero, Gabriel Cendejas, Matthew Toscano, Robert Chaidez, Johnny Dorado, Tony Ramirez, and Nico Serrano.
Southridge will now advance to the sectional tournament in San Bernardino.