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Woodcreek 10-11s extend series against Tri-City

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Woodcreek Little League’s 10-11 all-stars topped Tri-City 16-8 on Wednesday night, extending the Section 4 championship series to a winner-take-all battle tonight at Spring View Park in Rocklin. The game, played at the home of Tri-City Little League, will start at 7 p.m. “It’s down to one game – this is what it’s all about,” Woodcreek manager Mike Watari said. “Come out ready to play.” Tri-City beat Woodcreek 8-2 on Monday so that is why Woodcreek has to beat Tri-City twice in order to win this double-elimination tournament. The winner will advance to the Northern California Division 2 tournament, which will be held in Rocklin at Spring View Park. Tri-City jumped ahead 4-0 after the first inning on Wednesday night as slugger CJ Whelan crushed a three-run homer after Garrett Kauppila and Niko Domingo were hit with pitches to open the last of the first. Teammate AJ Sauer also homered in the inning. Woodcreek then responded with six runs in the top of the second inning. The rally featured a two-run homer by Andrew Grinder, three runs by way of wild pitches and a bases-loaded walk. “It would have been easy for my guys to fold up their tent after that first inning – three runs in four pitches,” said Watari, pointing out that the two batters were hit on the first pitch of each at bat. Tri-City manager Ron Domingo also thought Woodcreek’s six-run second inning was the key. “You can’t give a good hitting team extra outs and free bases,” he said. “And we walked too many guys and made a few mistakes in the field.” Tri-City walked 10 batters and hit two more in the loss. Tri-City used six pitchers as Aidan Malm, Sauer, Kauppila, Domingo, Shawn Linck and Jack McBride each spent time on the hill. Woodcreek used four pitchers, for a total of 10 in the game, but none were more effective than reliever Justin Watari. He entered the game with two runners on and no outs in the second inning and kept Tri-City hitters off balance before replaced with two outs in the fifth inning. He allowed no earned run and two runs overall. “(Tri-City) can hit and really light it up,” Mike Watari said. “And he (Justin Watari) was able to change speeds and keep the ball down on them.” Tri-City tied the game 6-6 in the last of the third when Kyle Schnapp scored on an error. Woodcreek then responded in the top of the fourth with another six-run inning. Clayton Hall drove in a run with a single while Grinder and Nicholas Gooch both walked with the bases loaded. Watari then hit a two-run double to make the score 12-6. Woodcreek’s Tyler Malone homered in the fifth inning and Woodcreek rallied for three more runs in the top of the sixth. Linck homered for Tri-City in the last of the sixth inning.