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Rocklin beats Maidu, extends Senior all-stars one day

Shutout win sets up Thursday night rematch
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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In a low-scoring tournament championship baseball game, the verdict is usually determined by mistakes and taking advantage of opportunities. Those two factors were big in Rocklin’s 4-0 win over Maidu in Wednesday night’s Little League Section 4 Senior division all-star game at American River College. Maidu came in needing just one win to claim the section title, while Rocklin needed to win this one just to set up a final must-win game on Thursday. It was Maidu that created the contest’s first scoring chance when it loaded the bases before an out was recorded in the top of the second stanza. Rocklin starter Michael Blattel proceeded to escape the tight spot with a strong three-batter sequence in which he got a strike out, a force out at home and then fanned the final batter to leave the zeroes on the scoreboard. Rocklin finally erased on of the goose eggs in the home half of the third, with a little help from the Maidu defense. Anthony Salazar singled with one out in the inning, and then moved all the way around to third on an errant pick-off attempt that rolled into the spacious foul territory behind first base. A Scott Moller single plated Salazar to put Rocklin on top. Maidu jammed the bags again after an infield single by Adam Tilford with two outs in the fourth, but once again it was a strike out that allowed Rocklin to escape. A little cushion to the Rocklin advantage came in the bottom of the fourth, and once again, Maidu miscues played a role. Trevor McVey singled to lead the three-run rally, and then advanced to second on another pick attempt that got away. A Blattel base hit followed, and then a throwing error put a pair of runners on base with one in. Two more runs scored in the inning, the first on a fielder’s choice as the throw home sailed far over the head of Maidu catcher Taylor Boone, and the final tally on a safety squeeze executed by Brian Hosang. “We made some mistakes and Rocklin took advantage of them,” said Maidu manager Rich Boone. “You can't give good teams extra outs.” Maidu got a strong outing from Jared Virtue, backed by the relief work of Andrew Koumelis, but it was unable to generate the big hit to get its trademark offense untracked against Rocklin’s hurlers. Blattel tossed the first three innings for Rocklin, and Hosang cooled the Maidu bats over the final four frames. The win forces both teams to return to ARC Thursday night for one more championship final. The winner is off to Stockton for the Northern California Divisional tournament, while the loser will see a very successful all-star season come to an end. Thursday’s game starts at 7 p.m.