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Never say die
Tanners GW hit in 8th lifts Spreckels Park
Josh Tanner gets mobbed by teammates after driving in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Six innings of baseball was not enough time to decide which of Spreckels Park or Northgate Little League’s 11-year-old all-star teams would meet its seasons end. After eight innings it was Northgate that was eliminated in a 5-4 loss Thursday.

Northgate was able to fend off defeat with a comeback in its final at-bat when Ray Onate led off the top of the sixth with a double. Teammate Zachary Hayford promptly stroked a single to center tying the game at 4-4.

Spreckels Park would try and answer immediately when Pher Contreras was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on a base hit from Zachary Maderos. Things would take a turn for the worse when Contreras found  himself in no man’s land in between second and short, eventually getting ran down after drawing seven throws by Estavon Salazar to end the Spreckles Park threat.

Northgate would bumble its chance to take a one-run lead, getting a runner in scoring position in the seventh with one out only to watch as Spreckels Park shortstop Dylan Heath fired a strike back to third after getting a force out at second. A perfect backdoor throw found the Northgate base runner too far off third and ended another Northgate threat.

Heath got the start for Spreckels Park and put together a solid effort in his 4 2/3 innings of work. Heath left the contest with a one-run lead and struck out five including striking out the side in the fourth.

After Northgate squandered another promising situation with a runner in scoring position with no outs Spreckels decided enough would be enough. Hunter Frisk and Contreras (3-for-4, double, two runs) led off the eighth with consecutive hits.

Northgate pitcher Danny Marquez retired two hitters on strikeouts to keep Northgate in it, but a bloop single off the bat of Josh Tanner dropped in just out of the reach of the shortstop, keeping Spreckles Park alive for another day and ending Northgate’s run.

Spreckles Park will definitely have its hands full at 5:30 p.m. when they meet up with Tracy American for its tournament life.