By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Northgate captures D67 Major Division pennant
Buoyed by pitching, offense surges late to overcome Ripon
Ripon-Northgate Major All-Stars
Northgate celebrates its 8-2 win over Ripon on Saturday, clinching the District 67 Little League title. - photo by Dave Campbell

 The Northgate bats finally caught up to Aiden Howe’s pinpoint pitching with a pair of fifth-inning home runs Saturday, as Northgate pulled away from Ripon with an 8-2 win for the District 67 Majors championship on Gillen Field at Neil Hafley School.

“Ripon is a hard-fighting team,” Northgate coach Adam Allen said. “They have been battling all week and hats off to them. Their coaches and their players did not get down and they stayed in it. This was a slow game to start, and then the boys found a way to figure it out to start hitting and start hitting hard.

“Overall, I am just super proud of the kids. They hung in there and did not get down on themselves. They say that hitting is contagious, so we just started passing the sticks. We look forward to representing Northgate in the sections.”

Ripon-Northgate Major All-Stars
Northgate’s Aiden Howe pitched all but the final out, striking out 12 while yielding four hits, two runs and a walk.
Howe was a batter away from a complete game, being forced to exit with just one batter left in the game due to reaching his pitch limit. He struck out 12, including the side in the first inning, against four hits, two runs and a walk.

“Aiden (Howe) was an animal on the mound,” Allen said. “He threw 5 2/3 innings, and then we had to shut it down with Carson Beck.”

Northgate put up five runs in the fifth to take the lead for good. Howe (two runs) singled to lead off the frame and came in on Nolan Mendes’ shot over the center-field fence for a 3-2 Northgate lead. With one out, Eli Jiminez legged out an infield single, and Alius Lopez (RBI) reached when his grounder to third was misplayed in an attempt to get Jiminez. This set the stage for Jack Benedetti to launch one over the left-field fence to bump the Northgate lead to 5-2.

Northgate struck first in the top of the fourth. Eli Jimenez drew a leadoff walk, Benedetti walked and Graham Allen reached on an error to load the bases. Jackson Coenenberg was then hit by a pitch to force in Jimenez for a 1-0 Northgate lead. In the sixth, Howe led off with a walk and Mendes (two runs, two RBI) was hit by a pitch. Howe scored on a Beck groundout and Alius Lopez singled in Mendes to cap the day’s scoring.

Ripon took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Gio Sandoval singled and scored on Cal De Bruin’s single. Benji Sybesma reached on a two-out infield single, plating De Bruin. Bronson Dietrich posted the only other Ripon hit on an infield single in the second inning.

Northgate moves on to the Section 6 championships which begin this weekend in Tracy at Legacy Fields. The Northgate majors have swept the District 67 post-season to date, with the Majors Cubs going 3-0 in the Tournament of Champions. The 11U and Majors All-Stars are both 4-0 going their respective section tournaments.

Northgate’s Aiden Howe pitched all but the final out, striking out 12 while yielding four hits, two runs and a walk.