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SWINGIN’ A’s IN FINALS

Nine-run third, solid pitching boost SPLL

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SWINGIN’ A’s IN FINALS

Jacob Souza plates a run for the Spreckels Park major A's as Northgate Astros catcher Andy Parcells applies the tag in Little League District 67 Tournament of Champions action in Lathrop Friday.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED June 26, 2010 3:11 a.m.
LATHROP — Three days after Stephen Halleck lifted the Spreckels Park major A’s with a game-deciding knock in the seventh inning, he again put the team on his shoulders in Friday’s Little League District 67 Tournament of Champions winners-bracket semifinal against Northgate at Mossdale Park.

This time he did it with his arm.

Halleck overcame a rough start and lasted the entire six innings in the A’s 15-4 victory. He gave up three runs in the first three innings before retiring nine straight batters.

Northgate’s Jordan Eakes (2 for 3, RBI) broke up the streak with a ground-rule double to right and was driven in by Dominick Romero, who was thrown out at second while trying to stretch his base hit on the game’s final play.

On Tuesday, Halleck drilled a bases-clearing triple to propel Spreckels Park to a 4-1 win over Salida.

His performance (four earned runs, seven hits, two strikeouts, no walks), aided by a nine-run third inning, is key for Sunday’s championship-round contest against the winner of today’s consolation-bracket semifinal. The Northgate Astros will vie for a spot in the finals against either Tracy National or Salida today at 11 a.m.

Halleck fell two pitches shy of the 85-pitch maximum in his complete-game effort, allowing the A’s to go with either No. 1 starter Jacob Souza or No. 2 Colton Tarp Sunday. The A’s have room for error. If they lose, they’d have a second shot at the TOC title Monday.

Halleck did all the work himself in the Astros’ half of the fifth. He got the first out by making a bare-handed grab on a grounder. He then struck out the next batter on three pitches and got out of the inning with another 1-3 groundout.

Souza (three runs) highlighted Spreckels Park’s third-inning barrage with a three-run home run. Blake Gainous added a run-scoring double, and Jimmy Galindo scored two from the No. 9 spot. The A’s led comfortably 9-3 going into the fourth.

Spreckels Park added four more runs in the sixth. Joshua LeLaurin (2 for 4, three runs) batted in two with a single to right. Souza was later intentionally walked to load the bases, and Halleck (2 for 4) drove in the A’s final two runs to pad the lead.

Steven Rios was 2 for 5 with a run and two RBIs for Spreckels. Trevor Baum added a 2-for-3 effort with a run from the top of Northgate’s order.
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