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Pitching, defense leads Northgate past SPLL in 10-11 all-star final
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The Northgate and Spreckels Park 10-11-year-old all-stars followed up their lengthy sixth-inning slugfest from two days prior with a clean-and-tidy, one-hour, 20-minute pitcher’s duel on Friday.
The rematch ended with Northgate celebrating a 4-2 win and the Little League District 67 Tournament championship at Brock Elliot School.
In the thrilling winner’s-bracket semifinal Wednesday, the city rivals combined to score 14 runs in the sixth inning with Northgate prevailing in walk-off fashion, 19-18. The final-round matchup was all pitching and defense.
Winning pitcher Tyler Looney went the distance and had three strikeouts in a five-hitter. He also drove in the game’s first run with a single in the third, and Ivan Vierra belted a two-RBI homer to left on the next pitch. Anthony Avelar, pinch-running for Vierra (walked), scored Northgate’s final run in the fifth.
Northgate totaled eight hits with Justin Severson going 2 for 3 to lead the way.
Spreckels Park had chances to score more runs with leadoff runners reaching in four of the six innings. Santi Duarte (2 for 3) legged out a double to give Spreckels Park hope in the bottom of the sixth, but a pinch-runner was thrown out at third on a wild pitch. Zac Cook followed with a single, but Looney got the final two outs in order to secure the win.
Northgate’s defense also came through for Looney in the fourth after Lucas Stackpole led off with a double and later scored on a throwing error. Duarte then smacked the first of his two doubles, but Northgate rolled an unconventional 6-3-5 double play with Duarte going for third on Cook’s groundout. Vierra got the final out when he reached up to rob Alex Gatty’s hard-hit line drive to third.
Spreckels Park also flashed the leather behind pitcher Kainoa Ontai. Third baseman Niko Reitz made two sensational diving grabs for outs, and Duarte, playing shortstop, threw out two runners at first from his knees.
Ontai did well to limit the damage throughout and struck out four in a complete-game effort.
Northgate advances to the Section 6 Tournament which begins next Saturday, July 18 and is hosted by Western Little League at Madison Park in Stockton. Northgate faces the District 73 champion at 10 a.m.