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Hart-stopping performance

Lakeside right-hander silences San Ramon
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Continuing to prove that pitching and defense determine success in the postseason, the Lakeside Major division all-stars received the most dominant performance of all as Mitch Hart blanked previously unbeaten San Ramon 1-0 Friday night in the Little League Northern California Division 2 tournament in Danville. Lakeside won its fourth straight elimination game and forced a winner-take-all rematch for Saturday morning at Osage Station Park in Danville. “What a game,” said Lakeside manager Bill Rockefeller. Our pitching was once again outstanding. Mitch Hart kept a very good hitting team off balance all game.” Hart went the distance and struck out 15, all while nursing the smallest of margins. The powerful right-hander capped the night by striking out the side in the final frame. Lakeside scored the contest’s only run in the second courtesy the outstanding base running of Connor Briare. The lanky first baseman singled to open the inning, and then took not just 60, but 120 feet on a single passed ball, advancing from first to third when the San Ramon catcher was unable to locate the ball. Safely at third, Briare was able to race home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Grant Powers for the only run Hart and his Lakeside defense would need. San Ramon managed just one hit and had one hitter reach on a base on balls in the game. While Lakeside managed just the one run, Rockefeller felt that his team swung the bats a bit better than that. “Our offense hit the ball well,” Rockefeller said. “San Ramon made some great defensive plays to keep us in check.” Now the team must deliver one more time to win the title and advance to the Western Regional tourney next week in San Bernardino. It will be a quick turnaround for both sides as the final title game begins at 11 a.m. Saturday in Danville. Rockefeller is hoping to see his team swing the bats a little more on Saturday in support of Nick Frank on the bump. “The boys are ready to go,” Rockefeller said. “We have Nick Frank ready to go and I think you will see a little more offense from Lakeside.”