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Giants rally to MLL major crown
Bulletin Little League 2018
Maddox Melendez makes his way to third base during his inside-the-park home run for the Giants in the Manteca Little League major championship against the Nationals on Wednesday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

Maddox Melendez put the finishing touches on the Manteca Little League major Giants’ staggering two-out, eight-run rally in the top of the fifth inning Wednesday at Lincoln Park, knocking in the final two with an inside-the-park home run.
Chris Chavez and Elisio Cervantez took it from there in an efficient combined pitching effort, and the Giants toppled the Nationals 12-1 in the mercy-shortened championship game.
The third-seeded Giants opened the tournament with a 12-5 win over the No. 2 Nationals last week and are headed to the District 67 Tournament of Champions beginning June 16 in Lathrop.
The Nationals plated their lone run in the bottom of the first when Dylan Stonum was hit by a pitch and later scored on a wild pitch. They could not muster any more despite getting leadoff base runners in every inning.
Much of that was because of Chavez and his defense that came up with clutch plays throughout. In the second inning, Cade Gemmell made a diving grab in center field to rob Andrew Robison of a base hit, and the infield turned a 6-3-4 double play to end it after shortstop Bradley Eldredge caught a pop fly.
Chavez racked up seven strikeouts and did not give up a hit until Vincent Torres knocked a sharp grounder through the middle of the infield with two outs in the fifth. That was when Cervantez took the mound in relief, and he induced a groundball out on his only pitch of the game.
The Giants gave themselves some breathing room in the top half of the frame, tagging seven of their 10 total hits. Nate Moore (2 for 3, three RBIs, two runs) and Angelo Cervantez (2 for 2, HBP) cracked back-to-back two-run singles.
Chavez was also productive at the plate, finishing 2 for 3 with three runs scored. The Giants never trailed after scoring twice in the top of the first — Moore hit one in on a single, and Cade Gemmell followed with a sacrifice fly — and two more in the third.
Gemmell just a missed a home run on his sac fly, as left fielder Vincent Torres stretched above the fence to snag the deep shot.
Isaac Acuna did well to keep the Nationals in the game during the middle innings. He pitched in relief starting in the second inning and finished it out, ending with seven strikeouts.