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SPRECKELS GOES DOWN SWINGING

Late charge not enough to overcome shaky pitching

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SPRECKELS GOES DOWN SWINGING

Gerald Parente fires to first after handling a grounder at third in the first inning of Spreckels Park's 11-9 loss to Tracy National Thursday at Salida School.

BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin


POSTED July 3, 2009 2:36 a.m.
SALIDA — Spotty defensive play nearly blew a 7-2 lead for Tracy National’s 13-14-year-old all-stars, but in the end it was defense that saved them.

Spreckels Park, plagued by wild pitching throughout, battled back to make a game of it, taking advantage of six errors to tack on six runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Tracy National buckled down in the bottom of the seventh to hold on for an 11-9 victory and a pass to the Little League District 67 All-Star Tournament’s consolation-bracket semifinal Thursday at Salida Elementary School.

Both of Spreckels Park’s losses came against Tracy National, the first by an 11-5 margin in the opening round Saturday.

“They played defense and came up with some big plays,” Spreckels Park manager Chris Van Warmerdam said. “That was the difference.”

One of those plays came in the seventh with two on and one out for clean-up hitter Marc Wilson. Wilson pummeled a solid shot to shallow right field for what seemed to be a sure-fire RBI single, but he was thrown out at first.

The biggest play came in the fourth with bases loaded, two outs and Spreckels down five runs. Makana Ward, who finished 2 for 5 with three runs, looped a two-out shot to shallow left, but Tracy National outfielder Eddie Lopez showed impressive range and made the shoestring catch on the run.

“That took away two runs, right there,” Van Warmerdam said.

Offense was never an issue for Spreckels Park during the tournament. Logan Sanders was 2 for 5 with two runs. Gerald Parente batted 2 for 4 with two runs and two driven in.

“The kids played hard and didn’t give up — that’s what I wanted them to do this whole tournament,” Van Warmerdam said. “I knew we were going to be up against it. That’s a good team over there.”

In Tuesday’s 11-8 win over Mountain House, Spreckels overcame six errors to pull out the victory. Spreckels played near-perfect defense Thursday, but three pitchers combined to walk 12 batters.

Tracy National standout Jonah Wesely walked three times and drove in a run with a single in the fourth in is only official at-bat. Lopez chipped in with a 2-for-3 effort, and Tyler Cox was 2 for 4 with a pair of runs from the top of the order.

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