STOCKTON — One pitch, one out, one ball game.
Slyder Blyth took the mound for the Spreckels Park Little League Junior Sooners on Friday in the bottom of the fifth inning with them ahead by 10 runs and needing an out to end the game via the mercy rule.
Blyth got that out with one pitch on a ground out to second, and the Sooners advanced in the winners bracket of the District 67 Tournament of Champions with an 11-1 win over the Patterson Reds at Paul Weston Park.
Pitching is at a premium in post-season tournaments, but the Sooners and Patterson played the lone out-bracket game with the potential of the three games in three days, so keeping pitch counts low was paramount for Spreckels Park. The Sooners used four pitchers – Craig Durao, Hunter Frisk, J.J. Ortiz-Martinez and Blyth – with Ortiz-Martinez coming on in the fourth inning and setting the Reds down in order. He struck out the first two batters in the fifth inning before issuing a walk, giving way to Blyth and his one pitch.
Ortiz-Martinez had a big day at the plate, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBI to lead the Sooners 13-hit attack that scored in every inning. Ortiz Martinez’s two-RBI double was part of a three-run Spreckels Park first, with Brock Willenbrink knocking in leadoff batter Kenny Wade for the other Sooners run in the frame.
Wade did the job of a leadoff hitter, reaching base three times in four trips when he was hit by a pitch, walked and singled. He stole three bases, scored twice and had an RBI.
Willenbrink was 2 for 3 with two RBI, teammate Eric Garcia was 2 for 3 with three RBI and Durao was 3 for 4 with a pair of RBI. In Spreckels Park’s other three-run inning, Garcia had two RBI and Ortiz-Martinez one.
Willenbrink had an outstanding defensive play in the fourth when at shortstop he snagged a line drive off the bat of the Patterson leadoff batter.
The Sooners take on tournament host Weston Ranch today at 6 p.m.