TRACY — The Spreckels Park Junior All Stars are about to find out what heat is all about.
As a result of a thrilling 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Sunrise (Stockton) in the championship game of the Section 6 Junior All-Star Tournament on Tuesday at Monticello School, Spreckels Park will now compete in the Nor Cal Division II Tournament in Palo Cedro, just east of Redding.
Spreckels Park will begin tournament play under the scalding north-state sun Saturday at 9 a.m.
In Tuesday’s contest, Spreckels Park did not lead until the final play of the game. Chase Sperbeck – who dominated the game from his centerfield position – bunted his way on to start the bottom of the seventh with the score tied at 4-4. Sperbeck stole second and third and came home with the winning run when Rafael Diaz crushed the ball to left field for a double, giving Spreckels Park the banner.
“I was nervous,” Diaz said. “I swung at the first pitch I saw because it looked so good.
“I thought it was going to be caught but it did not matter because it was deep enough to score Sperbeck.”
Sperbeck scored the tying run in the fifth inning after reaching on an error, stealing second, taking third on an error and coming home on a groundout by J.T. Ortiz-Martinez. Sperbeck made two spectacular plays from center field, gunning down runners at second and first on force-out plays.
“I had a lot of momentum getting that ball to first,” Sperbeck said. “And on Diaz’s hit I made sure it wasn’t caught, and then I ran.”
Fielding miscues helped Sunrise out to a 3-0 first-inning lead, and a running miscue limited Spreckels Park to only one run in the first inning after getting runners to second and third with no out. Ortiz-Martinez (2 for 3, two RBI) singled in Hunter Frisk in the second inning and in the fourth pinch hitter Erik Garcia knocked in Jared Bagley.
“It was a battle,” Spreckels Park manager Jim Willenbrink said. “When you get this far, every pitch counts. And then it came down to the last hit, like it should be.”
Spreckels Park is soliciting tax-deductible donations to help offset the costs associated with the Division tournament. For information, please contact Jason Frisk at 608-4397.