Junior rematch goes to Woodcreek over Rocklin

Championship rematch Thursday night in Folsom
By: Brett Ransford, Special to The Press Tribune
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Exacting a measure of revenge after the controversy of the past two days, the Woodcreek Little League Junior division all-stars got out of the gate fast Wednesday night in an 8-4 championship round win over Rocklin at the Section 4 tournament at Folsom’s Lembi Park. The win came a little more than 24 hours after the continuation game loss against the same squad after the controversy regarding Rocklin’s use of an ineligible pitcher. Woodcreek started out this contest with eight unanswered runs through the first five frames. Woodcreek pounded out three runs against its rival before its second out of the game. After an error and a botched pick-off attempt at second base by Rocklin right-hander JR Robinson, Joey Valdez and George Corp poked RBI singles into the gaps. Robinson got the start for Rocklin allowing seven runs in four innings. He had six strikeouts, but when his breaking balls sat over the plate Woodcreek made him pay. Woodcreek scored again on a two-run single to left field by Joey Dirkes in the second inning. Dirkes struck again in the fourth with a two-run double in the top of the fourth. Tyler Milani added a run in the fifth with an RBI single to left. For the game, Woodcreek had 12 hits, while Rocklin had just seven. “We definitely wanted it more,” said Coach Mike Valdez. “Stephen (Nogosek) had a great game and shut them down. We’ll come back ready to go against this team anytime.” Nogosek, the Woodcreek starter, commanded a scoreless 4 2/3 innings with two strikeouts and two walks. “My fastball was consistently good and I was able to locate it really well,” Nogosek said. The pitcher’s location and solid hitting helped Woodcreek build the 8-0 lead headed into the final inning. Nogosek hit 4-for-5 with three singles and a double. Nogosek is looking forward to Thursday night’s final. “We have to play hard, not make as many errors as we have and hit the ball instead of taking walks,” Nogosek said. “I’m thinking about [the tournament final] because if we win it’s not a fluke. If we win it’s because we earned it.” Another standout for Woodcreek was Corp, who had three singles. His defensive presence behind the plate kept Rocklin from generating any kind of running game. In the 3rd Corp threw out Austin Dick stealing third base. “We’re a better ball club so we showed them and to took it to them,” Corp said. “We came out really focused and we’ll do it again next time we see them.” Derek Guerra, Bobby Pajer and Blake Robinson all took a short turn on the mound out of the Woodcreek bullpen, and the as has been all-too common for Woodcreek, the seventh-inning allowed the game to get very interesting. Rocklin scored all four of its runs in that final frame and had the bases loaded with the tying run at the plate and two outs when Jake Faulkner flied out to second base to end the threat. Robinson and Steven Ford both banged run-scoring doubles in the seventh, and Griffin Harrell delivered a two-run single. The win pulls the two teams even in the double-elimination tournament and sets up a winner-take-all final for 7 p.m. Thursday night at Lembi. Both teams are where they want to be on pitching, as the likely hurlers will be the same two that started Monday night’s first duel – Woodcreek’s Tyler Milani and Rocklin’s Dick. Thursday’s winner will be the Section 4 champion, and will move on to the Northern California Division 2 tournament that begins Saturday in San Jose.