By DAVE CAMPBELL
Final score: Manteca teams 5, the rest of District 67 0
With Northgate’s convincing 7-2 win over Mountain House in the District 67 9-10 All-Star championship game Thursday at Neil Hafley School, it’s a clean sweep for City of Manteca Little League organizations. Northgate also captured the 10-11 district flag, Manteca won at the Major and Senior levels and Spreckels Park won the Junior division title.
This is the second year in a row for Northgate to win the 9-10 banner.
“Winning all five is a big accomplishment,” Northgate coach Jeff Abrew said. “The fact that we were able to sweep the entire District 67 tournament says a lot about the baseball players we have here in the City of Manteca.
“I am proud of all the teams and I am proud of ours for pulling through and winning three days in a row.”
The pitching of Ashton Heath for Northgate was phenomenal and the bats eventually came alive but the play of the game came from Northgate center fielder Noah Calmes.
After knocking in six runs for Northgate in Wednesday’s 10-2 win over Mountain House to force Thursday’s winner-take-all contest, Calmes helped take the wind out of Mountain House’s sails early on.
In the top of the second with one out and Northgate leading 2-1, Mountain House’s Jake Scarbrough hit a line drive to the center-field fence. Calmes quickly chased it down and fired into Jack Cunial at second who tagged out Scarbrough to help deliver a 1-2-3 inning. Mountain House added one more in the fourth but that was all they could muster.
“It went past me and it hit off of the fence,” Calmes said. “I grabbed it and threw it to second and we got the kid out.”
Northgate lost to Mountain House 4-3 on Saturday to earn a trip to the consolation bracket and that meant needing to win three games in three days to win the championship.
“We lost to them on the Fourth of July 4-3,” Abrew said. “And that kind of re-focused our boys and they came out and had a great practice on Monday and they have been focused the last three days.
“They played some great baseball today.”
Heath pitched for all but one out, striking out five and allowing five hits in 5.2 innings of work. Tyler Looney took the mound for the last out and induced a pop-up to Jack Cunial at second to end the game and the tournament.
Northgate scored five of its seven runs with two outs. A combination of walks and errors led to two runs in the third inning and in the fifth with two out, Cunial walked and scored on Heath’s single. Heath came in on a single by Looney and Ivan Vieira doubled in Looney for the last run.
Northgate will represent District 67 in the Section 6 Tournament on Saturday, July 18 at 1 p.m. at Morada Little League in Stockton.