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Vicente fires 11 k’s as Dodgers cruise

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Vicente fires 11 k’s as Dodgers cruise

Lathrop Little League's Markeis Williams keeps his balance after Steven Rios slides in safely underneath the tag for a Spreckels Park Dodgers run in the fifth inning Thursday in Tracy.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED June 19, 2009 2:40 a.m.
TRACY — It took one pitch for the Spreckels Park minor division Dodgers to get warmed up in their District 67 Little League Tournament of Champions opener against the Lathrop Pirates at Jefferson School.

Mark Vicente lined the first offering into right field to ignite the Dodgers’ four-run first inning, and Steven Rios handled the rest with his arm in their 8-3 win.

 “We’ve been pretty much doing that all year,” Spreckels Park manager Jon Shaefer said of his club’s early spark. “It’s huge when you can go up 4 to nothing.”

Rios drove in Vicente with a single in the first and finished 2 for 2 with a triple and two runs, but he was even more impressive from the mound.

Rios lasted 4 1/3 innings before reaching his maximum pitch count, but not before striking out 11of the first 13 batters he faced while yielding zero hits. Vicente threw an inning of relief, and Chase Costa got the final two outs.

“We came out with our ace and rode him as long as we could,” Shaefer said. “You have to get by that first game before you get to the second game.

“Steven pitched well again, and Mark Vicente did a good job of coming in and throwing strikes. We kept him under 40 pitches so that he can pitch again on Saturday.”

The Dodgers got offensive contributions from top to bottom of their 11-man lineup. Clean-up hitter Darrion Kitson was 2 for 3 with a RBI double, a triple and two runs. Costa stretched a run-scoring base hit to shallow right-center into a double in the fourth, and Michael Esparza drove in and later plated the third and final run of the same inning.

Lathrop showed some fight in the fifth, with A.J. De los Santos reaching on an infield error and David Lopez walking with one out to knock Rios out of the game. Anthony Ansino belted in De los Santos with the Pirates’ first hit of the game, and Lopez scored on the relay throw to second.

Santino Lozano capped the rally with an RBI double to right.

“They didn’t give up, but we also made some bad mental errors,” Shaefer said. “The kids just got a little excited. When you’re up 8-zip you can afford to make some little mistakes that won’t kill you.”

Spreckels Park plays again Saturday at 2 p.m., while Lathrop faces the loser of Thursday’s Weston Ranch-Northgate game in the consolation bracket at 10 a.m.

The Manteca Angels also advanced into the winner’s bracket Thursday, using a seven-run fifth to blow past the Patterson Phillies, 10-1.
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