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December 15, 2018

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Minus coach, Legacy beat in Little League semifinals

Legacy Little League controversy

Legacy Little League's Matt Almodovar is greeted by teammates after hitting a three-run, game-ending home run to give Nevada a 12-9 come from behind win over Arizona Wednesday night August 12, 2009, during the final game of pool play at the Western Regional Tournament at Al Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino. Launch slideshow »

Legacy Little League was defeated 12-2 in four innings on Friday by Park View Little League of Chula Vista, Calif., in the semifinals of the Western Regionals in San Bernardino, Calif.

The setback ends the summer season for the team of children ages 11 to 13 who were attempting to become the first team from Nevada to reach the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Park View scored three runs in the first inning and four in the second to take a commanding lead. The game was called after the fourth inning on the mercy rule, which comes into play when a team is leading by 10 or more runs after four innings.

The loss didn’t diminish the achievement of playing on the big stage, manager Todd Slusher said.

“We were really excited for the kids making it this far,” Slusher said. “They are feeling a little down and out right now because they thought they could go further but, overall, it was a great experience. Having 8,000 fans cheering for you is something they might never get to experience again.”

Matt Almodovar hit a two-run home run in the third inning for Legacy’s two runs. It was his fifth home run of the tournament, including a three-run, game-ending shot Wednesday to cap a 12-9 victory against Arizona in extra innings.

Following the Arizona game, however, Slusher was suspended by league officials who claim he instructed his players to allow a run to intentionally score. The move was a ploy to extend the game so Slusher wouldn’t violate the league’s minimum participation rule, officials said.

Assistant T.J. Johnson was the lone coach for Friday’s semifinal and the incident clouded an otherwise memorable tournament, Slusher said.

“Even beyond that, the kids had some amazing experiences,” Slusher said.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected].

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