After staving off elimination three times in the Manteca Little League minor-division consolation bracket, the Dodgers have survived another day.
They beat the top-seeded Marlins 6-1 in the championship round Thursday, and the two teams will tangle again tonight at Lincoln Park to determine the league’s champion. Also at stake is a berth to the District 67 Tournament of Champions.
The Dodgers led wire-to-wire and were buoyed by a stellar pitching effort by Louis Rivera. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced, fanning 10 over 5 1/3 innings. Brixton Ortiz closed it out and tallied four strikeouts. They combined to scatter just four hits.
The Dodgers built a 5-0 lead through three innings. Rivera contributed a single and an RBI double in the early barrage. Mateo Esparza finished 3 for 3 from the top of the order. Carson Sablan and Krish Sandhu added two hits apiece. Ortiz chipped in a pair of runs.
The Marlins threatened late to get back into it.
In the bottom of the fifth, Josh Husband singled and scored when A.J. Queirolo drew a bases-loaded walk.
Then in the sixth, Xavier Hardiman and Alberto Cervantes tagged back-to-back one-out singles to bring the top of the order up, but Ortiz was able to come out of it scot-free with two straight strikeouts.