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City rivals to meet in 11-12 semifinals

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City rivals to meet in 11-12 semifinals

Louis Aquila connects for a leadoff single for the Spreckels Park 11-12-year-old All-Stars in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday against Tracy American.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin/


POSTED July 1, 2014 11:53 p.m.

The Manteca and Spreckels Park Little League 11-12-year-old All-Stars are squaring off in Thursday’s District 67 Tournament winners-bracket semifinal after both pulled off commanding victories on Tuesday.

It will be a rematch of sorts as the Tournament of Champions finale featured many players from both clubs in this age division.

Jacob Nagy legged out a two-run triple in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Spreckels Park some breathing room in the end of its 5-1 win over Tracy American. In the nightcap, Manteca was buoyed by a combined one-hitter, while Vince Hernandez ended it with a walk-off grand slam in an 11-1, five-inning drubbing of Tracy National.

Manteca and Spreckels Park will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday. Tracy National takes on Northgate at 7:30 tonight, while Weston Ranch greets Tracy National starting at 5 in the consolation bracket of the double-elimination tournament. All 11-12 games are hosted by Manteca Little League at Lincoln Park.

Spreckels Park never trailed in its quarterfinal showdown with Tracy American. Pitchers Christian Cruz, Jesse Ortiz-Martinez and Louis Aquila effectively kept Tracy American’s dangerous lineup at bay, combining for eight strikeouts while scattering just four hits. Aquila needed just nine pitches to get the final two outs with a runner on base.

Ortiz-Martinez put Spreckels Park up for good in the bottom of the third with his leadoff double and eventual run. Spreckels Park was limited to five hits, none bigger than Nagy’s three-base knock that capped his team’s backbreaking three-run rally in the fifth.

Things didn’t start out so well for Manteca, which spotted Tracy National a 1-0 lead thanks to two infield errors and two walks.

Starting pitcher Nico Ilardi walked four batters and hit one in two innings, but he struck out six in his two innings of work. Hard-throwing Isaiah Perez took over from there, as he struck out the side in order in the third and fanned six total in three innings. Tracy slugger Jeremiah Fontenot singled off Perez to break up the no-hit bid.

Manteca had little trouble on the offensive end. Perez singled and scored on Tyler Kiser’s infield hit to tie it in the bottom of the first, and Garren Genilla plated the go-ahead run in the second on Illardi’s fielder’s choice.

Manteca broke it open with a five-run third sparked by Perez’s leadoff homer. Christian Tonna had an RBI single and a run during the barrage, and Nate Gutierrez capped it off with a double.

Perez (two runs) and Gutierrez both finished 2 for 2 to lead Manteca. River Weahunt walked three times and scored once. Genilla plated a pair of runs and was hit by a pitch and walked in his two plate appearances.

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