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AH YO MY GOODNESS!

Ah Yo’s blast lifts Northgate over Spreckels

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AH YO MY GOODNESS!

Chris Ah Yo rounds third on his way home Saturday at Jefferson School where Ah Yo hit a three-run blast to lift Northgate over Spreckels Park, 13-11.

BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin


POSTED July 5, 2009 2:08 a.m.
TRACY — The City of Manteca may have celebrated a day early, but on the Fourth of July, Chris Ah Yo provided the fireworks.

Capping what was an unexpected hit-fest Saturday at Jefferson School, the site of the 2009 Little League District 67 Major Division All-Star Tournament, Ah Yo’s fifth-inning, three-run blast provided the cushion the Northgate all-stars would need to take down Spreckels Park, 13-11.

“It felt good,” Ah Yo said with a smile. “Like nothing, ever.”

Heading into the contest, Spreckels Park skipper John Moss knew that his club would face heralded hurler Jake Pruitt in the first round.

With a little help from Greg Wilson and the Manteca Baseball Softball Academy, Spreckels Park went to work all week at hitting fastballs at the knees – Pruitt’s bread-and-butter pitch.

The move paid dividends for Spreckels as Jacob Gallagher and Mike Garibay roped back-to-back singles to start the contest before Ty Moss took Pruitt yard with a three-run shot to stake an early 3-0 advantage.

“Jake Pruitt is a great player,” Spreckels skipper John Moss said. “There’s been a lot of buzz about him, and obviously it’s deserved. But we’ve been prepping for a week just for him.
“We came ready.”

But Northgate, which is anything but a one-trick pony, answered right back in the home half, scoring four runs on the strength of Brandon Ridgwell’s RBI single and Trevor Huntoon’s two-run knock.

Ridgwell finished the afternoon 3 for 3 with two runs scored.

Spreckels responded in the top of the second, scoring five more on Garibay’s two-run single and another three-run shot, this one off the bat of Daniel Alejo (2 for 4, 2B, 3 RBI).

Northgate bit back again, this time with a three-spot in the home half, when Pruitt (2 for 3, 3 R, 2 RBI) drilled a shot up the middle to score Kyle Oden.

“We weren’t nervous,” Ah Yo said. “We didn’t care about the score, we were just out here playing.”

An inning later, Matthew Patane knotted the score at eight apiece with an RBI single, but for the most part, the middle innings were quiet thanks to Moss and Ian Rodriguez, who both took over in relief roles and did their jobs masterfully.

Rodriguez pitched four innings, ringing up two batters in each to finish with eight, while Moss sent down six by way of strikes.

“We didn’t get down, we didn’t give up, and that was huge,” Northgate manager Larry Lucchetti said. “Jake had a rough time locating today. But Ian came in and shut the door.”

Nick Lucchetti (3 for 4, 2B, R) hit home Ah Yo in the fourth with a double and Spreckels knotted the game at 9-9 in the top of the fifth when Nick Knowles’ single plated Josh Stevens.

Cue the fifth-inning fireworks.

With two outs and Oden and Jacob Alvarado on, Ah Yo planted a Moss offering over the fence in straightaway center.

“Ah Yo came up big,” Lucchetti said. “He hit his first home run of the year at the right time. All through the lineup we did really well. We spread it out well. We looked good.”

Pruitt then made it back-to-back jobs with an inside-the-park home run when his would-be single took a crazy hop and rolled all the way to the wall.

Moss parked his second mammoth blast of the afternoon in the sixth.

 “We just gave up too many stolen bases, and that’s what killed us,” Moss said. “The game would’ve been ours, but it’s the little things that matter in a tough game like this.

“Northgate’s a great team and I give them a lot of credit.”

Spreckels will now face Weston Ranch today at 2 p.m. on Field 4, while Northgate awaits the winner of Salida and Tracy National Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. on Field 2.

Salida took down Patterson 18-4 in early action Saturday, while Lathrop used four home runs to come all the way back on Weston Ranch and claim a thrilling 8-7 win.

Manteca 25, Mountain House 1
Reigning District 67 champion Manteca made a statement right away Saturday, as 19 batters came to the plate in a 14-run first.

Ryan Vasquez blasted three home runs, Ricky Flores went yard twice, and Anthony Keiffaber added a bomb of his own.

“The kids came out and warmed up well,” Manteca skipper Aaron Peterson said. “They hustled (throughout) and didn’t get complacent.”

Manteca will face the winner of Tracy American and Lathrop Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. on Field 4.
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