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Manteca LL takes major division TOC

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Nate Gutierrez attempts to make a play on the ball for the Manteca Brewers during the sixth inning of the squad’s 6-3 victory over Weston Ranch for the TOC major division title on Saturday.


POSTED June 24, 2013 12:43 a.m.


The Bulletin

TRACY – Ryan Zimmermann was all business during the finals of the District 67 majors division Tournament of Champions on Saturday morning.

Zimmermann not only went to 2 for 3 and scored two runs, but he also belted a solo home run in the top of the sixth that helped the Manteca Brewers fend off Weston Ranch’s Reds, 6-3.

“(Weston Ranch was) in the championship, and they must be good if they made it this far,” Manteca head coach Rob Gross said. “Their pitcher was throwing really well. We scratched three runs off (Kevin Gomez), but we didn’t hit the ball too hard.”

Manteca outhit Weston Ranch 7-4 and the Reds fell behind 3-0 after the first four innings. The Brewers’ lead-off hitter Jacob Moon (1 for 2, one walk, two runs) crossed the plate for the first time in the first frame. Manteca’s Nico Ilardi made it a 2-0 contest in the third after crossing the dish on a wild pitch as well.

“We took the bases when they gave them and we scored a couple of runs on wild pitches,” coach Gross added.

In the fourth inning, Nate Gutierrez registered an RBI-single that scored Zimmermann, who led off the inning with a single, to make it 3-0.

“(Zimmermann), who hit the home run, is only 10,” coach Gross said. “We had about four or five 10-year olds in the (Manteca Little League) majors this year, so he’s one of the boys that has been exceptional.

“The point is all of these boys get better during the year. The more at bats you get the better you’re going to (be).”

After Ryan Ward (four innings, nine strikeouts, four walks, no hits) pitched his fourth straight shutout inning for Manteca, the Brewers tacked on two more in the fifth frame.

The Brewers’ catcher and one of its top-three pitchers, Moon, led off the fifth with a single. Ilardi (2 for 3, two runs) followed with a double that put runners on the corners. The Reds’ throw to third base to try and get Moon sailed high and he came across for the 4-0 advantage.

Ward created a 5-0 cushion for Manteca with an RBI-double that scored Ilardi.

Weston Ranch didn’t quit, however.

“Our boys battled back inning after inning,” Weston Ranch head skipper Ray Acosta said. “Each kid came to the plate with the heart and intensity us coaches expect. I was very proud of these boys for their performance (Saturday).

“(Manteca) had some good pitching.”

Manteca standout Dylan Gross pitched the last two innings and allowed three runs in. Weston Ranch cut its deficit to four in the bottom of the fifth when the ball club’s No. 2 hitter Amier Bowen got on with a one-out single. Bowen stole second and third base and then came home on a passed ball at the plate to make it 5-1.

Gross struck out the next batter and recorded the third out to end the inning.

Zimmermann hit his solo shot, which was his first home run of the season, in the following stanza to make it 6-1.

“All I wanted to do was try to get a base hit,” said Zimmermann, who picked a perfect time to hit his first homer of the season. “I thought it was going to hit the fence.”

Well, he thought wrong.

The ball not only cleared the fence, but it rolled to the mound on the opposite field.

 “Gutierrez had a clutch hit to bring in a run and then (Zimmermann’s) home run tacked on another,” coach Gross concluded. “So we felt pretty good.

(Weston Ranch) did make it interesting, and one big hit could have made it close, but that’s baseball.”

In the bottom of the sixth, Weston Ranch kept applying pressure.

Lead-off hitter Raymond Acosta loaded the bases on the younger Gross with a single. Bowen tallied a two-RBI single that scored Tommy Bruss and Gabriel Hurtado, which made it 6-3. Gomez drew a walk, which loaded up the bases for a second time in that final inning.

Julius Nelson stepped to the plate for the Reds. Nelson was the potential game-winning run. However, Gross tossed his fifth strikeout in two innings of work to end the game.

To contact John-Joel Griffiths, e-mail

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