Little League district champs move on to sections

By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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After successfully running through the tough competition required to win a District 54 all-star tournament, the five local Little League survivors now gear up for a whole new level of baseball when the Section 4 tournaments begin Saturday at sites throughout the Sacramento region. Woodcreek will be represented at three of the five levels, as the league’s 9/10, 10/11 and Junior all-star teams carry the title of District 54 champion. Woodcreek 10/11-year-old manager Mike Watari is excited about the tournament coming up at Tri-City’s Spring View Park. “I look forward to playing at Tri-City,” Watari said. “I understand they spent a lot of money on field renovations and now have a beautiful field. Should we face Tri-City, I know they will have a big crowd on hand to support their team but we too should have a large contingent of fans.” After initially being scheduled to play in West Sacramento, the Lakeside Major all-stars have seen their tournament moved to the home field in Granite Bay after field conflicts forced a change. Manager Bill Rockefeller likes being at home, but does not expect to get a huge home field advantage. “The field change I believe is all good,” Rockefeller said. “The fields are in fabulous condition thanks to all the volunteers from Lakeside & the local Parks & Rec staff. I think all the teams will enjoy playing on our fields. Advantage goes to the best team that day of course.” Maidu’s Senior division team will have the opportunity to take the field at American River College, where they should be one of the section favorites. “We will not alter our approach and will attack the game pitch by pitch,” said Maidu manager Rich Boone. “(We want to be) relentless until the final out. I have purposely not played up the District 54 championship or the upcoming section tourney. I have them just focusing on the next game and enjoying the moment and the memories. Have fun, relax and do what you do best.” While many of the teams within the district have some familiarity with each other, it is at the section level where the unknown takes on greater importance. “I don't think any team snuck into section play,” Rockefeller said. “They will all be tough at this point. I expect each game to be a dogfight. We as a team vowed to take it one pitch, one swing, one defensive play and one inning at a time. We look no further ahead than that.” FYI: The five District 54 all-star champions open play at the next level (Section 4) this weekend at sites around the Sacramento region. The 9/10s play at Dooley Field, the home of Sacramento’s Land Park Pacific Little League. Woodcreek opens play Saturday at 10 a.m. against Tri-City of Rocklin. The 10/11s play at Spring View Park in Rocklin, home of Tri-City Little League. Woodcreek plays its opener Saturday at 5 p.m. against Rancho Cordova. The Majors tournament is at Lakeside’s Feist Park in Granite Bay, where the host team will face Fair Oaks/Orangevale Saturday at 5 p.m. The Junior division tourney is hosted by Folsom National Little League at Lembi Park, where Woodcreek has the bye and will play its first game at 5 p.m. Sunday against the winner of Saturday’s contest between West Sacramento and Cosumnes River. The Senior tournament is at American River College, where Maidu will face Sacramento’s Tahoe Tallac Little League Saturday night at 8 p.m.