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Little League teams making historic runs

Section 3 tourneys kick off Saturday

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Little League teams making historic runs

Weston Ranch Little League junior division all-star manager Paul Ostertag throws batting practice pitches to Kyle Ostertag during practice Wednesday at Paul E. Weston Park.


POSTED July 17, 2009 2:00 a.m.
Weston Ranch Little League’s 13-14-year-old all-stars didn’t know how to react after stunning Tracy National 16-12, after falling behind by five runs, in the District 67 Tournament championship round on July 4.

“They didn’t think they were getting a banner,” manager Paul Ostertag said. “As soon as we won it and held the banner, I was like, ‘You guys do appreciate what you’ve done, right?’

“They just didn’t know until I told them the history. Drawing from a small community, this is huge for us. Now they understand, but I didn’t want to overstress it. We haven’t talked much about it since.”

The District 67 championship banner is the first of any kind, be it from the Tournament of Champions or the all-star tournaments, to be claimed in Weston Ranch’s 13-year history.

Two other Little League clubs from the area have also made history.

Northgate claimed its first-ever major-division title in Tracy last Sunday, beating Manteca rival Spreckels Park 11-5 in Tracy. Spreckels Park is fielding its first-ever senior-division squad, which swept Tracy in a best-of-three series for the District 67 flag.

All three teams will return to action Saturday at different sites for the California Little League Section 3 Tournament.

Weston Ranch is loaded with solid contact hitters around its big slugger Cristian Vazquez. Tyler Scharnow, who pitched for Weston Ranch High’s varsity team this past spring, and Nick Garcia are its top pitchers.

The 15-16-year-old all-stars out of Spreckels Park are also taking the happy-to-be-here approach despite the majority of them being on the younger end of the division. Manager Greg Leland said the team formed to allow players coming off high school summer ball to get more innings in.

“Most of the kids got to play a lot for their high school teams this summer against older kids, so we’re not going in intimidated or anything like that,” Leland said. “The nice thing for us is that most of them are eligible to be back next year.”

Joe Modesto and Johnny Waggy anchors Spreckels Park’s pitching staff and batting order. Brian McAllaster, Jason Angelo, Alex Arreola and Bret Wilson are other big contributors on offense.

Modesto threw five innings of one-hit ball and was a triple away from hitting for the cycle in Sunday’s 7-4 series-clinching victory over Tracy.

Northgate’s talented group of 11-12-year-olds expects to make a deep run and possibly qualify for the California Division II Tournament. The televised Western Regional World Series comes after that.

Northgate goes 14 deep with pitching, and manager Larry Lucchetti believes he has four front-line starters in Lucas Garcia, Trevor Huntoon, Jake Pruitt and Ian Rodriguez. He is also fortunate enough to have leadoff- and clean-up type hitters up and down the lineup and on the bench.

What Northgate also has is experience, with most of its players advancing out of the District 67 Tournament while playing on the 9-10 all-star team.

“I really like our chances,” Lucchetti said. “These kids know what’s in store, and this is the best team we’ve fielded. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of them yet, and if they can put it all together it should be quite a show.”
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