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Babe Ruth 14s clinch spot at state with win
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HOLLISTER— With word coming down that District 1 would send two teams to the state tournament, the Manteca Babe Ruth 14-year-old all-stars sent ace Kevin Peck to the hill Wednesday to try and clinch a berth with a win over Lodi.

Peck delivered, finishing out five innings of shutout ball as Manteca coasted past Lodi, 10-0, and into the California District 1 championship round.

Manteca will face San Benito today at 5:30 p.m. for the tournament title.

“We started slow again,” Manteca skipper Tom McGregor said. “For the second game in a row, we had trouble stringing hits together, so we had to resort to small ball.”

Lodi walked a number of Manteca batters, and McGregor and company made sure to work the base paths in order to move runners into scoring position when the pokes did materialize.

Manteca scored one each in the first, third and fourth, and ended it early with a seven-spot in the fifth highlighted by Brett Riley’s bases-clearing double.

Riley finished 2 for 2 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored, while Joshua Bonds went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.

Anthony Louie led the way at the dish, going 3 for 4 with two runs and a triple.

Peck, meanwhile, was masterful on the bump, scattering just three hits and mowing down eight.

“Kevin sucked it up tonight,” McGregor said. “We changed the game plan after we realized two teams were headed to state. Kevin’s the ace, so we sent him out there.”

Manteca must take two in a row from San Benito to claim the District 1 title. If Manteca wins the 5:30 contest tonight, Game 2 will begin 30 minutes afterward.

The Babe Ruth Northern California State Tournament begins July 24 in Dinuba.

— Brandon Petersen