View Mobile Site

Playing catch

Pitching, defense propel Manteca to title round

Text Size: Small Large Medium
Playing catch

Isaac Maldonado gets in position to make his second of two sensational catches in left field for Manteca Little League’s 9-10 all-stars Wednesday. Both grabs were for the final two outs of Manteca’...


POSTED July 21, 2011 12:27 a.m.

DANVILLE — The game fittingly ended with two spectacular diving grabs in left field.

It was defense, after all, that keyed the Manteca Little League 9-10 all-stars’ 4-1 victory over California Little League Section 3 Tournament host San Ramon Valley at Los Cerros Middle School Wednesday.

Isaac Maldonado charged toward the infield and laid out to make those catches, robbing Jake Benno and Tanner Ruschell of base hits.

Manteca committed just one harmless error all game and backed pitcher Zach Chamberlain with sterling play all over the field.

“If we don’t make two or three of those plays, that’s it — we’re done,” said Manteca manager Rob Gross. “They put the ball in play, but we made the plays.”

Manteca advances to the championship round but will have to beat Belmont/Redwood Shores twice for the title. On Tuesday, it was Belmont that knocked Manteca into the consolation bracket, 11-2. The Mantecans proved resilient, however, bouncing back to piece together their finest performance of the tournament.

“These kids talk about Xbox before games,” Gross said. “They don’t stress out. They get ready in their own way and they’re relaxed.”

That showed on the mound, where Chamberlain managed to smile even through some rough moments. The way his defense was playing, he had little reason to sweat it.

Chamberlain wasn’t dominant but very efficient. He struck out two, walked one and scattered seven hits in a complete-game effort.

San Ramon outhit Manteca 7-4, but Chamberlain and his defense came through when it was needed.

In the second inning he had two runners in scoring position but got out of the jam by forcing leadoff hitter Brenden Schooley to ground out to third baseman Ryan Ward.

In the third, Tyler Coulson led off with a double but ran into an unconventional 6-3-5 double play turned by first baseman Dylan Gross.

And in the fifth, San Ramon was poised to make a late-inning comeback after scoring its only run on Schooley’s sacrifice fly to left. But a clutch 9-6-2 out at the plate took the wind out of San Ramon’s sails, and shortstop Alex Gouveia threw out a runner at first for the final out to strand runners at second and third.

“Zach was on today. He gave up a few hits, but he didn’t leave anything hanging to where they could knock it out,” coach Gross said. “He’s an accurate pitcher who can throw strikes, which is what you need in this tournament, and the guys were playing defense behind him all day.”

Manteca scored once in the first, twice in the second and once more in the third before turning to its pitching and defense to handle the rest.

Gouveia finished 2 for 4 with an RBI to lead the offense, and Jacob Moon walked twice and scored twice.

The rematch with Belmont is today at 5:30 p.m. If Manteca wins, the decisive rubber match takes place Thursday.

The section champion continues its season this weekend in the NorCal Division II Tournament back at Los Cerros School.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...