TRACY — Tracy American made big plays on defense, and Spreckels Park struggled to execute the simple ones.
Tracy American completed an undefeated run in the Little League District 67 Junior All-Star Tournament Tuesday at Monticello School, capitalizing on 11 errors and eight unearned runs en route to a 17-10 victory. The district championship comes with a berth to the California Section 3 Tournament, which starts this Saturday at Monticello School.
The backbreaking play ended what could have been a huge inning for Spreckels Park in the top of the sixth when it charged back into the contest by scoring twice to shrink the deficit to 13-9. The Manteca-based club had the bases loaded and one out with No. 5 hitter Leo Soto at the plate.
Soto popped out to Tracy’s Aidan Provenzano in center field with teammate Jakob Gallagher tagging at third base. Provenzano hit his relay man, standout infielder/pitcher Isaiah Blue, who then gunned down Gallagher at home for the threat-ending double play.
Tracy American tacked on four insurance runs in the bottom half of the frame, and relief pitcher Tyler Schlotter again got the team out of a bases-loaded rut by retiring three straight in the seventh.
Both teams used three pitchers, and each trio of hurlers issued eight walks. Spreckels Park outhit Tracy American 13-9, but the difference was defense.
Tracy American had no errors until committing their lone miscue in the seventh inning, which allowed Gabe Sauceda (2 for 2, two runs) to score. Spreckels Park, meanwhile, had two errors in a five-run first, three in a five-run fourth and five in a four-run sixth.
Spreckels Park did well to battle back early on after spotting Tracy American the five-run lead in the first.
In the fourth, Gallagher (2 for 4, two runs) belted a two-run single up the middle and was followed by Ryan Bergman’s two-score double that propelled Spreckels Park to its first and only lead, 7-6.
But Tracy American answered in the bottom of the fourth, which was highlighted by Blue’s two-run homer to straightaway center. Tracy led 11-7 by the end of the inning and didn’t look back.
Blue (3 for 4) had a monster day at the plate to negate his struggles from the mound (3 2/3 IP, seven earned runs, nine hits, three walks). He was a triple away from hitting for the cycle, plating four runs while driving in four others.
Antonio Gigliotto also scored four runs for Tracy, walking three times and getting hit by a pitch once. Provenzano finished 2 for 3 with three runs and two RBIs.
Bergman was the top performer for Spreckels, as he went 4 for 5 with two doubles and three RBIs. Zak DeRossett added a sun-aided double, two RBIs and a run. Brody Kasinger also legged out a double.