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Woodcreek Junior all-stars can't stop Rocklin

By: Robbie Enos, Press Tribune Correspondent
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A long all-star journey for Woodcreek Little League came to an end Wednesday at Sacramento Army Depot Park. The Woodcreek junior division all-stars dropped a 11-7 decision that earned the Section 4 title for Rocklin and ended Woodcreek’s season. The game started with a burst of offense, when both teams combined for 14 runs in the first two innings. Rocklin scored two in the third and then two more to finish off a night of big scoring. “I don’t know why we allowed so many runs to be honest,” said Woodcreek manager James Penn. “It seems like we’ve played worse every game of this tournament. The defense got worse and worse and worse. We played hard, but defense wasn’t on our side for sure.” Rocklin used pitcher Jake Wittwer to start the game, but Jake Faulkner replaced him in the third and threw five scoreless innings, halting Woodcreek’s early offensive success and securing the Rocklin victory. Wittwer got off to solid start by allowing no hits and no runs in the top of the first. It looked like it would be all Rocklin when the team posted a five-run, four-hit bottom of the first. Chandler Roselli led off the inning with a walk and then took third on an errant pickoff attempt by Woodcreek starter Dylan Spezia. Griffin Harrell drew a walk to put runners on the corners, leading to a Faulkner two-run double to deep center. Jeffery Raymond tacked on another hit by inside-outing a Spezia pitch up the middle for a single. With runners on the corners again, Wittwer laid down a bunt single down the first base line that scored Faulkner. Woodcreek hurt itself defensively by misplaying a second bunt. This one came off the bat of Devon Murray, as an errant throw allowed two more runs to score. But Rocklin didn’t celebrate the early lead for too much longer, when Woodcreek came charging back in the second with seven runs on five hits. It all started with a Cy Hynes leadoff double to right-center. Spezia smacked a rocket to left field, landing him on second and Hynes at home for Woodcreek’s first run of the game. A wild pitch sent Spezia to third, and a Nick Williams blooper into center sent him home. Williams advanced to second on a throw to the plate. Coming in to pinch run was Kyle Dust, who eventually scored on an error. Rocklin committed a second miscue in the outfield, dropping a fly ball off the bat of Michael Daw that put two runners in scoring position. After Dylan Bell walked to load the bases, Austin McCarty unloaded them with a two-out double to left-center, giving Woodcreek the lead. Woodcreek also failed to hold its lead, losing it in the bottom half of the second thanks to a two-run inning from Rocklin. Harrell drew a walk and then advanced to third on a Faulkner infield single. A wild pitch allowed Harrell to score. Joey Raymond moved Faulkner to third on a ground ball, right before Jeffrey Raymond blasted an RBI double to deep center. In the third Rocklin added its security runs against Spezia. Hayden Cook led the inning off with another walk, a trend that Penn was disappointed about in his team. “Walks and errors were the main thing that hurt us in this game,” Penn said. “It’s hard to win a game when you give up runs like that. I know it happens. Rocklin came out and they played well, that’s why they’re the winners.” Cook went to second on a wild pitch, and then scored after Roselli beautifully stroked a single to the opposite field. Roselli stole second before a Harrell line drive into the right-center gap gave Rocklin its second run. Harrell advanced to third for the triple. With Faulkner in, runs came at a premium for the rest of the game. Hynes relieved Spezia for the rest of the game and allowed just two more runs. The first came in the fifth when Harrell collected another RBI on a blooper to center field, and the second came in the sixth when Wittwer and Murray created a run with two straight hits. Despite the loss, Penn still held his chin up high. He appreciates the year his team had, and looks forward to the future more than anything. “I loved everything about coaching this year,” Penn said. “I had a ball with the players. It didn’t end like what we wanted it to end, but the players had a lot of fun. They worked hard. You’ll see us again.”