What a difference a day makes.
A scant 24 hours after Spreckels Park kicked the ball around in a shutout loss to Manteca on Saturday, Spreckels Park bounced back with a convincing 8-3 win over Manteca for the championship of the Little League District 67 Major All-Star Tournament hosted by Manteca Little League at Lincoln Park.
“I told the kids on Saturday that we needed to forget about that one,” Spreckels Park coach Jason Cook said. “We just had to have a short memory.”
It did not take Spreckels Park long to take the lead. Pitcher Jesse Ortiz-Martinez (2 for 4, 2 runs) led the game off with a single and came home when No. 2 batter Christian Cruz (2 for 2, three RBI, two walks, two runs) crushed one over the fence for a 2-0 lead.
“I tried my hardest,” Cruz said. “Because I knew they were going to walk me later.
“The first pitch was a ball and I knew the next one was coming right down the middle.”
Cook decided to go with Ortiz-Martinez on the mound and it turned out to be a smart decision. Ortiz-Martinez went the distance and allowed five hits while striking out eight and walking just one.
“I know we had one of our best pitchers on the mound,” Cook said. “I knew if he was on, he was pretty hard to hit.
“I was pretty confident, but they have a heck of a lineup. They have some bats in there but we are a very good team and I am proud with how they did.”
After Manteca tried to answer back in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double by Jacob De Jesus who came in to score on Isaiah Perez’s single, Ortiz-Martinez kept Manteca off the board until De Jesus had a two-out home run in the fifth inning and Vince Hernandez led off the sixth with a home run.
“I wanted to throw strikes but I did not want to give them any meat pitches to hit,” Ortiz-Martinez said. “And I knew we had it under control because the defense was making plays.”
After just two hits on Saturday, the Spreckels Park bats woke up on Sunday with 13 hits. Steven Eaves (2 for 3, double, RBI) and Jacob Nagy (2 for 4, double, RBI, run) contributed to the offensive onslaught. Joel Gallo came off the bench to go 3 for 3 with an RBI and two of those hits were infield singles.
“It felt great,” Gallo said. “I had to run as fast as I could to beat them out.”
Manteca will represent District 67 in the Section Championship that begins Saturday at a location to be named.
Spreckels Park 0
Isaiah Perez had a dominating performance on the mound for Manteca on Saturday, forcing Sunday’s winner-take-all contest.
Only two Spreckels Park runners made it as far as second base with Perez striking out 12 – including the side in order in the second inning – and allowing just a single apiece by Cruz and Jacob Nagy with no walks.
Spreckels Park uncharacteristically committed four errors in the second and third innings, resulting in two runs. Perez singled in the second inning and his courtesy runner Tyler Garlets came around to score behind a trio of errors. In the third inning, leadoff batter De Jesus reached on an error and came home on a double by Nico Ilardi.
Ilardi did not need any errors in the fifth inning when he blasted a solo home run to finish 2 for 3 with a double, home run and two RBI.
Spreckels Park 14
Weston Ranch 5
Spreckels Park racked up 15 hits and jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the way to a 6-0 lead it would not relinquish in the consolation final on Sunday hosted by Tracy Little league at Monticello School.
The big inning for Spreckels Park was the four-run seventh when J.T. Ortiz-Martinez (2 for 5, double, three RBI) had a two-run double and Deigo Duarte added a one-run double. Chase Sperbeck had the big bat for Spreckels Park, going 3 for 4 with a double, triple, two RBI and three runs
Craig Durao started for Spreckels Park and went three innings with no earned runs, allowing two hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
Spreckels Park set the tone in the first inning going ahead 3-0 on an RBI double by Joseph Lomeli, an RBI single by Durao and a sacrifice fly by Sperbeck.
Spreckels Park faces Tracy National at Monticello school today at 5:30 p.m. and must win to force a winner-take-all game on Tuesday with Tracy National.
11 year-old division
Salida 3, Northgate 2
Northgate finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth Sunday at Monticello School, but the effort was not quite enough and Northgate was eliminated from the tournament.
With two outs in the sixth and trailing 3-0, Kyle Dias walked and came in to score on a Cam Torres double. Torres scored on a passed ball but that is as close as Northgate would come.
Northgate had a legitimate threat in the third when Josh Hebert doubled and George Gayton singled and ended up on second with one out. The next two batters struck out to end the threat. Josh Grabowski was left stranded on base for Northgate in the second inning after a single.
Ryan Borgeson pitched five innings for Northgate and Logan Harries pitched the sixth.