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Weston Ranch outlasts Northgate to stay alive
Weston Ranch All-Star Manuel Rubio comes across the plate to score the game-winning run in extra innings to end Northgate Little League season.

TRACY — After opening the seventh by retiring three straight Northgate batters, Manuel Rubio led off the Weston Ranch half of the inning with a double. And Josh Dilg took one pitch to finish off the Northgate major all-stars’ season with a 5-4 extra-inning win Friday.

Rubio took the mound in the top half of the seventh inning after David Gonzalez silenced the Northgate bats after a three-run fourth inning. Rubio got three outs on seven pitches, laying the groundwork for his game-changing performance.

Rubio was in the mix during Weston Ranch’s three-run third inning where the squad took a 4-1 lead. He led off that inning with a single and came around to score on a laser hit down the first base line by three-hole hitter Kamrin Romo, which plated two.

Northgate refused to go quietly, fighting back and tying things up at four apiece with a big inning of its own. Devin Abrew had an RBI single and Jack Weaver followed suit with a run-scoring double to pull Northgate right back into things.

The squad then turned to starting pitcher to keep things close and Vince Cabeceiras did not disappoint. The lanky lefthander struck out six batters in his four-plus innings of work. Dominic Romero relieved Cabeceiras, keeping Weston Ranch quiet until the leadoff double from Rubio in the seventh.

Rubio finished the game with two runs scored and a double and single, while Romo drove in a run, and Rick Martin was 1-for-2 with a walk. Northgate got two 1-for-3 performances Trevor Baum and Abrew, while Gyse Hulsebosch added a double.

The loss ended Northgate’s postseason run and left the Weston Ranch all-stars with a serious uphill climb to close as tournament champions. Weston Ranch  will have to pull out four victories in four days for the title.

The first hurdle will be a 9 a.m. meeting with Manteca, which kept its season alive with a win over Salida.