TRACY — Ryan Bergman more than made up for his own mistakes and others made by his teammates.
With clutch hitting, clutch pitching and two clutch pickoff moves to first base, the hard-throwing righty led Spreckels Park’s junior all-stars past Northgate 7-5 Monday at Monticello School.
Spreckels Park previously defeated its crosstown rival in the second round of the double-elimination Little League District 67 Tournament and will look to exact some of its own revenge against Tracy American in the championship round today.
Tracy American sent Spreckels Park to the consolation bracket by prevailing in their winner’s-bracket semifinal on Sunday.
Northgate, meanwhile, upended Lathrop in come-from-behind fashion, winning 9-8 in the bottom of the seventh on Nick Oseguera’s game-winning, two-run hit to set up Monday’s contest with Spreckels Park.
Bergman (2 for 4, double) drove in Spreckels Park’s first two runs and plated its third early on, but it was his late-inning heroics that got the team over the hump.
The winning pitcher threw 4 2/3 innings in relief and struck out six while combining with starter Jared Flemming for a three-hitter.
But in the bottom of the fifth, Bergman and Co. ran into some trouble.
Northgate took advantage of four walks and three errors for three unearned runs and a brief 5-3 advantage. Bergman lessened the damage by picking off the leadoff hitter at first base and forcing a grounder for the final out with runners in scoring position.
Spreckels Park recaptured the lead in the sixth, as Josh Stephens singled home the tying run and Jakob Gallagher drove in the go-ahead with a fielder’s choice. Stephens finished 3 for 3 with two doubles, two runs, an RBI and a walk from the leadoff spot.
In the bottom half of the inning, Bergman again picked off the leadoff hitter after giving up an infield single. Matt Patane (walked) and Ryan Matthews (doubled) reached with two outs, but Bergman struck out Northgate’s cleanup batter to get out of the threat.
Bergman’s seventh inning was far less adventurous, as he threw just 10 pitches and finished off Northgate 1-2-3 while fanning the first two batters.
Spreckels Park cleanup hitter Zak De Rossett (2 for 4, double, two RBIs) gave Bergman some breathing room.
Left-handed Ryan Matthews pitched five-plus strong innings for Northgate, striking out seven while surrendering four runs on six hits and three walks. Oseguera was charged with the loss, and Matt Patane was perfect in the seventh with two strikeouts.
Matthews also led the charge offensively for Northgate, reaching in all four of his at-bats with three walks and the sixth-inning double.
The Spreckels Park-Tracy American rematch is set for 5 p.m. today back at Monticello School. If Spreckels Park wins, the rubber match is on Wednesday with the district championship and a berth to the California Little League Section 3 Tournament on the line.