With their backs against the wall on Wednesday the Manteca Little League Pirates came from behind to defeat the Diamondbacks 5-2 and force a winner-take-all contest to determine the minor-division champion.
Gabriel Ortiz reached base for the Pirates on a one-out error in the third inning, beginning a three-run ralley. Consecutive singles by Bainan Ortiz, Christian Duran, Ethan Johnson and Dylan Zimmerman gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead with Duran plating Gabriel Ortiz and Johnson knocking in Bainan Ortiz and Duran.
Wyatt DeFrenchi led off the fourth for the Pirates with a walk and scored on No. 11 hitter Alex Murietta’s double. Murietta scored on an infield single by Gabriel Ortiz to make the score 5-2.
Isaiah Cruz led off the third for the Diamondbacks with a walk, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored when Domenic Krippene’s hard grounder down the first base line was misplayed. Krippene scored on a single to left by Isaac Searcy to gave the Diamondbacks their short-lived 2-0 lead.
While the Diamondbacks worked through four pitchers, the Pirates used just two: Ethan Johnson and Bainan Ortiz. Johnson started and went the first four innings, striking out nine against two hits and Ortiz came on to seal the deal, striking out six with no hits over the last two innings.
The two teams meet again on Friday on the Manteca Little League major field at 5:30 p.m. to determine the minor-division champion.