Trailing by a run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday night and the sun quickly disappearing over the horizon, Michael Valdez saw enough of the ball to belt a two-run, walk-off double to deep center to give the A’s a thrilling 12-11 win over the Giants on the Lincoln Park juniors field.
This gave the A’s the Manteca Little League juniors championship.
The big inning of the night was a six-run second for the A’s. Tino Torres (2 for 4, double, two RBI) led of the frame with a single and was the first of six consecutive batters to reach base and score. Later in the inning Torres added a two-RBI double, scoring Maddox Morales (2 for 3, home run, four runs) and Ephraim Burns (1 for 1, RBI, run, four walks). Morales added a home run in the third inning and as leadoff batter reached base five times, reaching on an error and two walks in addition to his two hits.
Ethan Torres was 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs for the A’s and Xavier Torres made two leaping catches at third base in the fourth inning.
The Giants took a 5-1 lead in the top of the second. Giants leadoff batter C.J. Schmitt singled and scored in both the first and second innings and he reached base five times, going 3 for 3 with an RBI, four runs and two walks. Xavier Torres was 2 for 4 with an RBI, a double and three runs.
The Giants left 11 runners stranded, and none were more painful than in the sixth inning. With two across, Schmitt on second and Rafael Ceja on third, Ryan Garlets (double, run) belted a shot to left field which looked like it was easily going to score Schmitt and Ceja only for Jorge Gallardo to run it down for the A’s and slam the door on the Giants threat.
The A’s will face the Ripon representative to open the District 67 Tournament of Champions on Saturday, June 18, at 10 a.m. at Paul Weston Park.