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Gouveia’s all-around play keys hard-fought win over Salida

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The Manteca Little League Giants celebrate their clinching of the District 67 major division title at Mossdale Landing Community Park in Lathrop Wednesday.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED June 27, 2012 11:07 p.m.

LATHROP — Alex Gouveia got Manteca Little League’s major Giants off to a fast start.

Then he helped closer Joey Santos quickly end Wednesday’s District 67 Tournament of Champions winner-take-all finale.

Santos needed just four pitches to get through the sixth and final inning and hold off the formidable Rockies of Salida 8-6 for the district title at Mossdale Landing Community Park. Gouveia fielded the first two outs — first an infield popup to the shortstop, then a grounder. Outfielder Gerson Gomez caught the last out in deep center.

It was the third meeting between the two big-swinging clubs, with Salida taking the winners-bracket semifinal last Saturday before the Giants battled back to even the score in the first championship-round contest on Tuesday.

Gouveia went 3 for 4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI from the top of Manteca’s order. He sparked the Giants’ four-run first inning with a leadoff double to deep left. Cleanup hitter Gerson Gomez contributed a home run to the rally.

Gouveia was also the winning pitcher. He coasted through the bottom of the first with just 12 pitches, but Salida wasn’t handcuffed for long. Michael Lima got the Rockies on board in the second with a solo homer to right, and in the third Branden Pasion capped a three-run barrage with a two-RBI jack that closed them in, 5-4.

Manteca dodged a bullet in the fourth when Salida mounted a two-out rally to load the bases with Pasion due up. Gouveia got him to fly out to second baseman Logan Quan.

Kyle Rachels (2 for 2, four RBIs, double) gave the Giants some needed breathing room in the top of the fifth with a two-run single. Salida kept pace in the bottom half with Taylor King’s leadoff home run and Mark Bailey’s RBI single.

Santos did well to limit the damage en route to recording the two-inning save.

He entered the fifth with an inherited runner on and no out. After striking out Lima, he allowed the base hit to Bailey that plated Salida’s last run. On the same play, Gerson gunned down Bailey at second to keep it a single. Santos struck out the next batter.

Nathan Vaught led off the sixth with an infield single and scored on Gouveia’s double for an insurance run.

The season isn’t over yet for many Giants players. Up next is the District 67 All-Star Tournament that begins Saturday at Northgate Little League’s Gillan and Bassi fields.

Mountain House Little League hosts the 9-10 all-stars, Weston Ranch Little League entertains the 11-year-olds and the 13-14-year-old juniors will play at Sierra High.

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