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Mendes’ 2-run bomb powers Northgate to extra-inning TOC title win
Major TOC final
The Northgate Cubs’ Nolan Mendes throws a pitch while in long relief Friday during the District 67 Little League Tournament of Champions at Legacy Fields in Tracy. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

TRACY — Nolan Mendes capped a stellar relief pitching performance Friday night for the Northgate Cubs with a two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning of a thrilling 10-7 extra-inning win over the Ripon Blue Jays in the District 67 Majors Tournament of Champions final at Legacy Fields.

“The kid (Mendes) has had resilience all year,” Cubs coach Adam Allen said. “He was down in the count on that home run, stayed with it and knew what to do with the ball.

“The boys battled all season, and tonight just shows the heart in these boys. I couldn’t be more proud. We got down, we came back, momentum shifted and I didn’t know how they would handle it, but they came out and fought and kept fighting. Ripon is a heck of a baseball team, and it was just a battle all game.”

Mendes (home run, two RBI, two runs) toed the rubber with two outs in the fourth inning and the score tied 2-2. He pitched through the eighth inning and left with the score tied at 5-5, having struck out 11 batters, setting the side down in order in the fifth and through the seventh had struck out nine of the 12 batter he faced. He allowed just one hit and did not give up an earned run.

Carson Beck started on the hill for Northgate and tallied a few strikeouts himself, going 3.2 innings and striking out 10 against three hits and two runs.

The Cubs put up one run in the top of the sixth, two in the eighth, one in the ninth and four in the 10th with Ripon answering back every inning but the 10th when Hudson Rushing (3 for 5, two RBI, double, run) doubled in Mason Hall to draw the Blue Jays within 10-7. Bronson Dietrich was then walked to load the bases with one out only for Graham Allen to step up for Northgate by tallying the last two outs of the game via strikeout. Allen pitched the last inning, striking out three and allowing two hits with one run.

Dominic Lizaola (two RBI, two runs) had the other big hit for the Cubs in the 10th inning, lacing a two-out single up the middle that plated Travis Garcia and Allen (3 for 5, three runs, RBI). Northgate’s Royce Robinson went 2 for 4 with an RBI that scored Beck in the ninth.

Ripon’s Rushing went 3 for 5 with two RBI, a double and a run, doubling in Mason Hall (two runs) in the bottom of the 10th for the last Blue Jays run. Jude Segura scored two runs for Ripon.

Many of the players from both teams will take part in the District 67 Majors All-Star Championships beginning Friday, June 28 at Northgate Little League.