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Ranch outlasts Northgate; Spreckels-Tracy Natl to be continued
BASE--Juniors Roundup pic 2
Spreckels Park Little League All-Star Diego Duarte successfully steals second base as Tracy Nationals Justin Schober reaches for the late throw. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

TRACY — One game ended a day later than it was supposed to.

Another one will be decided today.

It was a wild night at Monticello School on Wednesday, which ended with Tracy National taking a 3-2 lead over Spreckels Park with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the fifth inning during the Little League District 67 Junior Tournament winners-bracket semifinal. Play resumes at 5:30 tonight.

That contest started an hour late with Northgate and Weston Ranch having to decide their consolation-bracket shootout. This one began in the top of the seventh with the scored tied at 11-all. Both clubs batted around their orders, and Weston Ranch, after plating eight runs in the top half, held on to win 19-16.

Northgate did well to go out on its shield in its final turn at the plate, mounting a two-out rally to close to within three. With runners in scoring position, Alejandro Flores squared one up and delivered a shot to deep centerfield for the final out.

Austin Cappas had the big hit for Weston Ranch in the top of the seventh, roping a bases-clearing double to the right. It was his third double of the game. James Peavy went 4 for 6 and scored twice from the top of the lineup. Matt Julien scored four times.

Jacob Garcia drew four walks and tallied three runs to pace Northgate.

Weston Ranch needs to win twice to reach the final round. It next faces Tracy American today following the Spreckels Park-Tracy National finish.

The late game Wednesday was tension-filled from the start.

Tracy National took advantage of two errors to score the first run in the top of the opening frame. Spreckels Park answered in the third with Chase Sperbeck’s two-out RBI double to left that plated pinch-runner Erik Garcia. Sperbeck later scored the go-ahead on a botched pickoff attempt to third.

With the sun quickly setting, the plate umpire announced that the fifth inning will be the last. Things did not go as planned for both he and Spreckels Park.

Tracy National was opportunistic once again, this time walking six times to recapture the lead. Spreckels Park nearly got out of the inning thanks to a big-time defensive play by Sperbeck. He caught a fly ball in center field with the bases loaded for the first out and then fired it home to double off Noah Velasquez and preserve Spreckels Park’s fragile lead.

Tracy’s Daniel Chartier and Ryan Stone drew back-to-back RBI walks to jump ahead.  Spreckels decided to change pitchers for a third time in the inning. That was when the umpire called it off due to darkness at 8:30.

Craig Durao grinded out 3 1/3 innings in his start for Spreckels. He struck out two, gave up four hits and twice got out of jams with multiple runners in scoring position.