The Santa Monica Angels Little League softball team defended its District 25 Girls Minor League Championship by defeating the Beverly Hills Red Sox 8-5 Sunday, June 17th.

The Angels’ victory completes a season in which the team won 12 out of 13 games.

Hosted by Beverly Hills Little League, the District 25 Championship challenges the best Little League teams from Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, North Venice, City of Angels, Malibu, Culver-Marina, Culver City and Beverly Hills in a season-ending single-elimination softball tournament.

The Angels’ path to the championship began with strong wins over North Venice, 14-3, and the Culver-Marina Pirates, 11-1. Both victories were highlighted by no-hit pitching performances by Caitlin Cavanaugh, who struck out nine batters in four innings. Cavanaugh’s pitching was helped by improved hitting by Carly Friedman who went three-for-three in the first game.

“The Angels’ heart” was displayed by pitcher Sophie Innocenti, who pitched two innings in game one despite being sick, coaches said.

“My teammates were counting on me and I couldn’t let them down,” said Innocenti.

Playing without one of their team leaders, Cavanaugh, the Angels appeared to have met their match in the Beverly Hills Red Sox, as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings in the championship game, coaches said.

But as Sadie Dorf said after the game, “We just knew, if we played Angels softball, we would be fine.”

Strong defense by second baseman Annie Dauber, a breakout game for shortstop Dani Klein and performances by third baseman Innocenti and first baseman Nicole Rosenbach allowed game MVP pitcher Jordan Breuer to focus on her pitching, coaches said.

Catchers Sadie Dorf and Klein were also key on defense by gunning down three runners in the tournament, believed to be a tournament record.

As for the offense, the Angels were led by Kiki Kravitz, who finished with five RBIs and got the Angels back in the game with a two-out bases loaded triple down the right field line, scoring three runs. Dauber then hit the first of two shots over shortstop to score the go-ahead run and take the lead 4-3.

“I just thought about what our coaches taught us all season and I was fortunate to make good contact,” said Dauber.

After two strong defensive plays by Klein and Dauber, Breuer finished off a complete game and nine-strikeout performance, and the Angels let loose a wild celebration, having accomplished their mission of back-to-back championships.

“We are so proud of these girls,” team manager Mitch Dorf said.

“Not only how they played this season to win this title, but how they handled themselves representing our City of Santa Monica both on and off the field with great sportsmanship, dignity and class.

“It was a privilege for me and coaches Marc Dauber, Jared Breuer, and Joel Klein to be apart of such a unique group of great kids.”