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Cruzes help SPLL Giants capture majors pennant

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Christian Cruz of the Giants struck out five and retired the last eight Pirates batters he faced on Wednesday in a 9-5 win for the Giants in the Spreckels Park Little League major championship game.

POSTED June 4, 2014 11:53 p.m.

Cruz Lopez picked a good time to hit his first home run of the year.

With his Giants clinging to a one-run lead over the Pirates in the fifth inning and having not scored since the second inning – going down in order in the third and fourth innings – Lopez launched an 0-1, two-out offering over the center-field fence for a three-run shot that propelled the Giants to a 9-5 win for the Spreckels Park Little League major-division championship, the second pennant in a row for the Giants.

After getting off to a bit of tough-luck start – the Pirates scored their first three runs in the first inning behind an error, passed ball and a wild pitch – Christian Cruz settled in for the Giants, pitching into the sixth and striking out five and allowing just four hits. One of those hits was an RBI double by Carlos Tovar in the first inning, and another an RBI single by Tristian Gonzalez in the third.

Following Gonzalez’s hit, Cruz retired eight in a row before being forced to leave the game in the sixth inning due to reaching his pitch-count limit.

Cruz could also swing a big bat, hitting one of the few pitches he saw to hit – he was walked twice – well over the left-field fence for an apparent two-run home run. Cruz was called out on the play as he had contact with his third-base coach, so only one-run scored.

Following Cruz in the No. 3 hole in the batting order was battery mate Louis Aquila who saw even fewer pitches to hit than Cruz as Aquila was intentionally walked three times, scoring twice – once on Lopez’s home run.

Jesse Ortiz-Martinez threw four innings for the Pirates and yielded just five hits. After giving Aquila his second free pass of the game in the second inning, Ortiz-Martinez retired the next eight batters he faced, picking up four of his six strikeouts in that run.

Both leadoff batters did their jobs, with Ortiz-Martinez reaching twice in three trips on an error and single and his Giants counterpart Alex Cervantes going 2 for 3.

The Giants will open the District 67 Tournament of Champions on Saturday, June 14, against Tracy American at noon at Manteca Little League. 

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