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Pruitt, Vasquez live up to hype as Yanks move on

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Pruitt, Vasquez live up to hype as Yanks move on

Yankees second baseman Manuel Martinez handles a grounder with ease during Northgate's 4-0 win over Manteca Friday at Gillen Field.


POSTED June 20, 2009 1:21 a.m.
The Northgate Little League Major Division Yankees’ 4-0 win over the Manteca A’s Friday evening at Gillen Field on the campus of Neil Hafley School was less a baseball game than it was a pitching clinic.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Yankees starter Jake Pruitt struck out 14 in a two-hit, complete-game shutout, while Athletics ace Ryan Vasquez tossed five innings of two-hit ball, mowing down 11.

Vasquez, who sent the side down on strikes twice, doled out three free passes, while Pruitt allowed just one base on balls and struck out the side on three separate occasions.

“They both did a great job,” A’s skipper Dan Peterson said. “(Thursday) when we talked, I said that it was probably going to be a pitcher’s duel. Credit to (Northgate), they did it.  They had a couple more hits than we did and it helped them win.

“Good luck to Northgate; they’re the last Manteca representative (left in the Tournament of Champions).”

The Yankees will head back to Neil Hafley today at noon for a showdown with the Tracy American Mariners, who downed Salida Friday night, 9-3.

If the Yankees come out victorious this afternoon, Northgate will then need to collect one more win over either Weston Ranch or Tracy National to claim a spot in the District 67 championship round.

“We knew we were going to be in for a battle,” Yankees manager Larry Lucchetti said. “We threw our ace, and we were matched up against their ace. Both kids pitched a heck of a game.”

After allowing back-to-back singles from Jacob Alvarado and Chris Ah Yo in the top of the first, Vasquez was able to work out of the jam with a strikeout and a pair of groundball outs.

It wasn’t until the fourth when Nick Lucchetti drew a walk and scored on a passed ball that the Yankees were finally able to break through.

Lucchetti led off the sixth with a walk, becoming the last batter Vasquez would face after eclipsing his allotted 85 pitches.

“I felt pretty good out there,” Vasquez said. “It was a good game, and we did well this season.”

Tanner Peterson then took the hill, and after Pruitt was intentionally walked, Jake Larkin smacked an RBI single up the first base line to score Lucchetti from second.

After Pruitt was thrown out on a fielder’s choice, Larkin and Jake Graves both came around to touch. The latter run was produced on an RBI groundout from Adrian Afelleje.

Vasquez touched up Pruitt in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out double to the wall, but the Yankees’ ace would end the game a batter later, not surprisingly, with a strikeout.

“I felt pretty good, I was just nervous about their No. 3 and No. 4 batters, Chucky (Good) and Ryan, they can hit the ball pretty well.” Pruitt said.

The only other hit Pruitt allowed was a third-inning single up the middle from Trevor Fishburn.

“Jake was able to be a little more conservative with his pitches,” Lucchetti said. “He actually got to finish the game, which was a huge difference for us. But that’s a good team, they’re well-coached.”

Although the season came to a close for the Manteca Major Division champs, the A’s were able to take a moment in left field afterward and appreciate a phenomenal 20-3 campaign.

“I’ve never coached a team that, in a regular season, could go as deep as we did batting,” Peterson said. “One of the things that we asked for at the beginning of the season was to look at one of the goals (each of the players) wanted to accomplish. For many of them, it was batting, and I can say, for the most part, all of them accomplished that.”
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