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Spreckels Park’s comeback falls short in rematch

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Spreckels Park’s comeback falls short in rematch

Salida Little League's minor division Bears celebrate behind Spreckels Park catcher Jon Shaefer after Caleb Ernst (7) blasted a grand slam in the fifth inning Wednesday in Tracy.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED June 25, 2009 2:25 a.m.

TRACY — Same scenario, different outcome.

Spreckels Park Little League’s minor division Dodgers ran out of their come-from-behind magic against the Salida Bears Wednesday at Jefferson School’s Pikas Field, dropping a 9-5 decision in the District 67 Tournament of Champions consolation-bracket semifinal.

In the winner’s-bracket quarterfinals Saturday, the Dodgers went on an improbable two-out rally in which they climbed back from an 8-2 deficit on their final turn at the plate and beat Salida, 10-8.

“We knew what we were getting into,” Spreckels Park manager Jon Shaefer said. “We played these guys tough on Saturday and put them in the loser’s bracket, so they had a little revenge on their minds, I’m sure. We knew they weren’t going to just lay down for us.”

On Wednesday, Shaefer’s Dodgers were down 9-3 going into the top of the sixth and again pieced together a last-inning rally.

Mark Vicente drove in Cody Obrochta, who reached on an error, and Steven Rios drew a full-count walk with the bases loaded to bring home Cameron Ceja (walked).

With two runs in and the tying run at the plate, Salida relief pitcher Collin Padilla got the final out on three consecutive strikes to clinch the Bears’ second straight TOC finals appearance. Salida beat Manteca Little League twice last year to claim the title and will have to do so again vs. Tracy American today and Friday.

“Same situation as last year,” Salida manager Mike Ernst said. “I know Tracy American is a good team, so we’ll see what we’re made of against them.”

Ernst said he wasn’t comfortable until Padilla’s clutch strikeout, not even after his son, Caleb, hacked a grand slam during Salida’s five-run fifth. The younger Ernst led the Bears with a 2-for-2 effort that included two runs, a double and five RBIs.

Defensive miscues doomed Spreckels Park throughout.

A misplayed fly ball that turned into a double to centerfield extended Salida’s first inning and directly led to two runs. Jared Kabrich’s two-out, two-bagger was the first of three successive knocks, the next being Michael Henley’s run-scoring single to give the Bears the 3-1 lead.

Spreckels committed four total errors but still had opportunities to make of for them at the plate, leaving the bases loaded in the first, fifth and sixth innings.

Vicente plated four runs while going 2 for 3 from the top of the Dodgers’ order. Rios drove in a run in each of his four at-bats and rapped a double in the fifth.

We had opportunities and didn’t capitalize at times,” Shaefer said. “But we’re a young team with a couple of 8-year-olds and a bunch of 9- and 10-year-olds.

“We represented Spreckels Park well and took third in the TOCs. It’s been a good year and now we’re looking forward to all-stars.”

The District 67 Little League all-star tournaments for all levels kick off on Fourth of July weekend.

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