District 54 Senior tourney comes down to 'if' game
FOLSOM - Woodcreek continued its impressive run at the Little League District 54 Senior All-Star Tournament by beating Roseville West 5-3 on Wednesday night and forcing a second championship game Thursday at Lembi Park.
After a 10-inning, walk-off win over Maidu on Monday, Woodcreek wasted no time taking and holding a lead. Walks to Mitchell Brill and Austin Cass gave Woodcreek a 2-1 lead in the first. Each team threw two pitchers who combined to walk seven, but the difference was four Roseville West errors.
An outfield error in the first and another outfield error followed by an infield error in the sixth stood between another extra-inning game.
Woodcreek had only three hits. Two came in the third inning on top of walks to the first two batters and another Roseville West error. The inning allowed Woodcreek to go up 4-1.
Roseville West's fourth error scored a run in the sixth and ended Hunter Fournier’s night on the mound. Despite a high pitch count early, he managed to keep his team in the game.
Woodcreek starter Brett Bucey, who last pitched in a 9-2 win over Gold Rush last week, went 3 2/3 innings and allowed three runs.
Joey Butcoff put Roseville West on top with an RBI in the first, and Adam Starr’s two-run drive made it 4-3 in the fourth.
Stranding runners became a costly trend for Roseville West, as 10 potential runs were left on base, including bases loaded in the fourth and sixth.
Woodcreek's Brett Garcia was solid in relief for the third time in a row, holding Roseville West scoreless for the final 3 1/3 innings.
Woodcreek manager Matt Sullivan said his team played the defense needed to escape potentially dangerous innings.
“Our game is defense, and when we play our game we stop big innings and we stay competitive,” Sullivan said. “As long as our pitchers are throwing strikes and putting the ball in play, we really trust our defense. Defense is keeping us around and kept us alive in the last four games.”
Roseville West's deficit in the first inning was its first in the tournament. Manager Dave Yackovich said he could see the wind leave his players’ sails, and it surprised him.
“We went behind and it was like, wow, come on guys, we’ve got a lot of baseball left to play,” he said. “I never thought at the start of the season that we would be sitting here in this position right now. Although they may not have shown it, there were a lot of nerves in this game.”
Roseville West beat Woodcreek 11-6 in the first game of the tournament and 7-5 in the regular season.
Yackovich said he hoped for a return to form amid possible lineup changes for Thursday night's deciding game.