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COMEBACK KIDS: SPLL DOWNS MANTECA

Spreckels all-stars to meet Northgate for title

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POSTED July 12, 2009 3:19 a.m.
TRACY – Making it through an entire consolation bracket after a first-round tournament loss is one of the most challenging feats to pull off in all of sports.

Regardless of what happens today and possibly Monday in the District 67 Major Division All-Star Tournament championship round with Northgate, by knocking off Manteca 6-0 Saturday at Jefferson School, the Spreckels Park all-stars earned their stripes as the “comeback kids” of the 2009 Little League postseason.

Facing a do-or-die scenario in five of the seven days following an 11-9 July 4th loss to Northgate, Spreckels charged through the flames and came out the other side unscathed.

“Momentum and confidence are hard to stop,” Spreckels Park skipper John Moss said following Saturday’s win. “There’s a light in our boys’ eyes like ‘No one is going to stop us.’

“It’s going to take Northgate’s best effort to beat us.”

Jakob Gallagher led off the first Saturday with a walk and came around on Daniel Alejo’s RBI single.

Tyler Moss then hit Alejo home with another single to make it 2-0 early.

Nick Knowles went yard in the fourth and Alejo and Moss hit back-to-back shots in the fifth to make it 5-0.

Hunter Johnson singled and came around to make it 6-0 in the sixth.

“From pitch one, we were ready to play,” coach Moss said. “Everybody was so worn out, but this is a group of boys that has found strength in each other.”

Dillon Lauborough got the start for Manteca and lasted through his allotted 41 pitches.

Manteca struggled to get anything going at the plate.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t play well the first four innings,” Manteca manager Aaron Peterson said. “It’s tough when you’re playing from behind. We just couldn’t catch up in the last few innings.

“But the kids can hold their heads up.”

Spreckels sent four pitchers to the hill, Knowles, Alejo, Michael Garibay and Gallagher, and all threw under 20 pitches, leaving Spreckels with plenty of breathing room on the hill during the championship round.

“Day after day, our pitching staff has been amazing, unbelievable,” Moss said.

Moss says that Alejo is likely to get the start today at 11 a.m. against Northgate.

“Our parents and coaches have been a true blessing,” Moss said. “Dennis Gallagher, Victor Garibay and Derek Minske. It’s been a great road to get here, and no matter what happens (in the championship round), I couldn’t be prouder of this group.

“I won’t ever forget this for as long as I live.”

Moss says that the game plan won’t change at all from the first time Spreckels met Northgate. In that contest, Spreckels jumped on Northgate starter Jake Pruitt for seven runs in the first two innings.

If Spreckels Park avenges its opening-round loss this afternoon, the Manteca rivals will square off in a winner-take-all showdown for the title Monday at 5:30 p.m. on Field 2.

 District 67 9-10 Division
At Brock Elliott Saturday, Tracy National A defeated Salida to ink its name in the championship round starting Monday at 5:30 p.m.

In the consolation bracket, Tracy American A eliminated Lathrop and will face Salida today at 11 a.m. on Field 1 to determine who will face Tracy National A for the title.

— Brandon Petersen
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