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Northgate 8-10 all-stars advance to NorCal tourney
Little League Minor All-Stars
Graham Allen begins to celebrate on Wednesday after plating the final run of Northgate’s 14-4 win over Turlock American at Charles Howard Park in Ione. The 8-10 all-star team clinched the Northern California Little League Section 6 championship. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

IONE — Northgate’s 8-10-year-old all-stars are on their way to the Northern California Little League state tournament after routing Tracy American 14-4 in four innings Wednesday at Charles Howard Park.

Jackson Frisk ended the game with a two-run single, plating John Ellis and Graham Allen to cap scoring in the winner-take-all affair. Turlock American forced the “if” game by winning 13-9 on Tuesday, handing Northgate the first loss of its postseason run. Northgate ultimately took two out of three from Turlock American, rolling10-0 triumph in the winners-bracket semifinal.

“I think that the boys just showed a lot of resiliency,” Northgate coach Adam Showers said. “They hadn’t had their backs against the wall yet, and to see them step up after that (defeat), I think it builds them up and helps them feel better about themselves as players and people.”

The District 67 champions tallied the game’s first six runs all in the second inning. That was more than enough for southpaw pitcher Carson Beck, who struck out five, walked one and gave up four hits.

Nolan Mendes led the attack, going 3 for 3 with three RBIs. His two-run single highlighted the second-inning flurry, which included an RBI hit from Ilias Leon and a bases-loaded walk from Allen (2 for 3, double two runs).

Turlock American did not go away quietly, answering with four runs in the third while taking advantage of two infield errors. Isaac Serna knocked in Isaih Gonzalez with a groundout to shortstop, Benji Delgadillo drilled an RBI ground-rule double to left and Chase Waterson belted a run-scoring single up the middle.

Northgate broke away in the bottom half of the inning, thanks to some clutch at-bats from the reserves.

Four pinch-hitters reached following Eli Jimenez’s leadoff knock; Rylan Luna walked, Jack Benedetti and Jameson Hicks each slugged an RBI single, and Manoah Ellis drove in two more with a hard-hit single to left.

“All the guys in the bench are just ready to do a job,” Showers said. “That’s what we build our team on, is that everyone is going to contribute, and they know that. There are no selfish players, there are no stars on the team — they’re all stars. Together, it works, and without the group it doesn’t work. We build that from the ground up.”

Northgate opens the NorCal Division 2 Tournament against the Section 5 champion this Saturday in Turlock. The game is scheduled to start 7 p.m. at Julien Elementary.