STOCKTON — Spreckels Park pitcher Mikey Elder found the remedy for his team’s error bug — strikeouts.
After five Tigers errors led to five Salida runs in the fifth and sixth innings Thursday, Elder struck out the first two Dodgers batters in the bottom of the seventh before Spreckels Park third baseman knocked down a screaming grounder and got it to first in time for the game-ending putout.
Spreckels Park held on for a 9-8 elimination win for the Tigers in the District 67 Juniors Tournament of Champions at Paul E. Weston Park.
Elder (six strikeouts, three hits) came in with two outs in the second inning, and after getting the final out of the frame with the Tigers leading 5-3 he combined with twin brother Sonny Elder at catcher and shut down the Dodgers in order in the third and fourth innings before slamming the door in the seventh.
Spreckels Park put up five runs in the opening frame and added four more in the fourth.
David Cumberworth had the big hit of the first inning for the Tigers with a bases-clearing double to score Justin Bretao, Sonny Elder and Fonseca. Mikey Elder reached on an error to start the game and came in on a single by Sonny Elder (2 for 4, double, two RBI).
In the fourth, Jacob Martinez came all the way around to score on a double for Spreckels Park that scored Fonseca, advancing to third on the throw home in an attempt to get Fonseca and coming home when the throw to third sailed into left field. Fonseca had singled in Sonny Elder, whose double scored Cruz Richer.
The win lands the Tigers in the championship round tonight at 6 with the Northgate Dodgers. A Spreckels Park win extends the tournament until Saturday morning for a winner-take-all game at 10 and a Northgate win will mean the championship for Northgate.