What started as a toe-to-toe slugfest ended in a runaway.
Fernando Alaniz belted a pair of home runs, and two-time champion Northgate put up seven runs in the fourth inning for a 15-5 mercy rule-shortened win in the championship game of the Little League District 67 9-10 All Star Tournament at Northgate Little League’s Gillen Field.
Manteca tallied four runs in the top of the first inning. Tyler Paul Wentworth singled to start the game as did Garrison Reis. Wentworth scored on a sacrifice fly by Landon Chamberlain (double, RBI). Reis took home on a delayed steal for a 2-0 lead.
Jo Jo Brizuela had a two-out single later in the frame and Blake Mejorado brought them both home with a home run to bump the Manteca lead to 4-0. After that, Northgate pitcher Ashton Heath bore down, allowing just one more run when Wentworth singled in Rex Watson in the fourth. Heath finished with five strikeouts and struck out the side in the third.
“I knew we had pitching,” Northgate coach Mark Grabowski said. “We were deep in pitching and we didn’t even get to all our pitching.
“We found our bats about the third or fourth game of that tournament and if we were going to hit the ball, we were going to win. Our bats really came through in the last three or four games, and once we found our bats, it was over.”
Northgate definitely found its bats Tuesday, scoring eight runs in the first two innings. In the first, Anthony Sy (2 for 4, three RBI, two runs) reached on fielder’s choice and went to third on Nolan Mix’s double. They did not stay there long as Alaniz (2 for 2, two home runs, five RBI) launched a three-run home run to narrow the Manteca lead to 4-3.
Two-RBI singles by Sy and Blake Mount highlighted the five-run second for Northgate with Sy’s scoring Zach Grabowski (two runs) and Heath while Mount’s scored Mix (3 for 4, two RBI, three runs, two doubles) and Noah Calmes. Sy came in on a fielder’s choice by Calmes for the other run in the frame.
In the seven-run seventh, Alaniz had the highlight hit with a two-run home run. Pinch hitter Carson Sanders had an RBI double, Greggie Sanders came off the bench for an RBI single and Sy had an RBI single. Mix started the inning with a double and ended it with a two-RBI single, giving Northgate the 10-run advantage it needed for the mercy rule win.
Northgate advances to the Section 6 Tournament on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Turlock.
Tuesday’s win continues a good run for Northgate Little League. This is the third win in a row for the 9-10 All Stars and the second year in a row Northgate has won the minors Tournament of Champions, the 9-10 All Stars and the 10-11 All Stars.