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Titans force deciding championship game
Bulldogs third baseman Tyler Ray Hewitt goes for a catch. - photo by HIME ROMERO
WESTON RANCH — The Spreckels Park Titans got their revenge.

Now intraleague rival Bulldogs is looking for their own payback.

The stage is set for a winner-take-all showdown at Paul E. Weston Park tonight at 6, where both Spreckels Park teams will meet for the third time in as many days for the District 67 Tournament of Champions junior division title.

The Bulldogs clinched a championship-round berth in the winner’s bracket semifinal Saturday with a 12-7 win over the Titans, who had to turn around and win twice Sunday to put them in position to capture the banner.

The Titans first had to stave off the Tracy American Angels’ final-inning comeback surge to win the consolation bracket semifinal, 9-8. On Sunday afternoon, the all-Spreckels matchup was claimed by the Titans, 3-2, after Buddy Reeder’s walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh.

“The kids learned a lot about how to play baseball today and saw how teamwork can focus can win you a ballgame” Titans manager Chris Van Warmerdam said. “This was truly a championship game the way the Bulldogs and Titans played for hard-fought runs.”

Reeder also started the first title game on the mound, tossing four innings of one-run ball. Anthony Flores was rock solid again for the Bulldogs, giving up just two runs off Justin Canady’s knock in the fourth.

The Bulldogs’ defense backed their pitcher with several highlight-worthy plays. Tyler Ray Hewitt robbed A.J. Shiffler and Gerald Parente of line-drive base hits at shortstop, and right fielder Frankie Chavez laid out to take a would-be multi-base hit away from Nick Van Warmerdam.

Reeder and Jayson Manuta contributed two hits apiece for the Titans, who totaled nine. Zach Leon-Guerrero was 2 for 3 with a double for the Bulldogs.

Reeder was also a hero in the Tracy American game, but his deciding hit came in the bottom of the sixth inning. That put Spreckels Park up by four, and it managed to keep the Angels to three in the top of the seventh.

Bryson Sanders recorded the save for the Titans.

“The kids were a little tired but kept their composure and focus to attain their goal of having a rematch against the Bulldogs,” coach Van Warmerdam said. “Bryson was put in a tough spot at the end of the game and pitched to his abilities. He did a tremendous job getting the save.”

Manuta was nails in his 5 2/3-inning start, as he struck out eight after spotting the Angels an early 2-0 lead in the first. Spreckels exploded with four runs, two off a double by Josh English, in the fifth to take the lead for good, 8-4.

Manuta was also 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs from the plate. Marc Wilson (two RBIs) and Gerald Parente were each 2 for 3.

— Jonamar Jacinto