It is not often that an outfielder guns down a runner at first base, but when it happens twice in three outs, that is something special.
Northgate right fielder Charlie Sanders forced Tracy runners out at first to end the fifth inning and for the second out of the sixth Monday as Northgate manhandled Tracy with a 14-3 six-inning, mercy-shortened victory in the consolation final of the District 67 Juniors All-Star Tournament at East Union High’s Agostini Field.
Batting leadoff, Sanders reached base four times and scored twice, going 2 for 4 with two RBI and a double.
Sanders got an RBI double in the fifth inning, one of just three hits in an eight-run frame that saw Northgate walk six times and beat out a dropped third strike. The big hit of the inning was a bases-clearing double by Nate Rodriguez.
Jacob Toste, Evan Jeffery and Austin Orr walked for Northgate in the first inning. Toste scored on a wild pitch and Jeffery and Orr came in to score on a pickoff attempt at first base that sailed off target. All told, Northgate enjoyed 15 free passes by either walk, hit batter or dropped third strike.
Jeffery (RBI) and Nolan Calmes doubled for Northgate.
Northgate used pitching by committee to four-hit Tracy and strike out seven. Danny Peters started on the mound for Northgate and was followed by Zach McCasland, Ryan Vanarsdell, Marcus Brennan and Jeffery.
Northgate faces Spreckels Park today at 5:30 p.m. and needs to win to face a winner-take-all game Wednesday or else Spreckels Park will be the champion.
Spreckels Park 12, Tracy 1
Jacob Martinez was a two-way standout for Spreckels Park in a semifinal win on Sunday, pitching three innings with four strikeouts and two walks while reaching base four times with two singles and an RBI.
Jakob Lopez also hit two singles with an RBI and he scored three times. He pitched the final two innings and closed out the game by striking out the final two batters.
Sonny Elder had an RBI single in the fifth inning and stole home later in the inning. Playing third base, Sonny made a beautiful back-handed grab on a scorching grounder and got the ball to first for the out.
Spreckels Park plays Northgate today at 5:30 p.m. and can claim the championship banner with a win. A Northgate win forces a final game Wednesday.