From losers’ bracket to champion for Woodcreek seniors
FOLSOM — It was a storybook finish for the Woodcreek Senior all-stars, who won the Little League District 54 championship Thursday night with a 6-2 victory over a Roseville West team that demoted them to the losers’ bracket at the start of the tournament.
Woodcreek opens the Section 4 Tournament against the District 6 champion at 8 p.m. today at American River College.
Woodcreek has been a whole other team since losing to Roseville West 11-6 on July 6. Woodcreek advanced through the losers’ bracket with victories over Folsom, Gold Rush and Maidu before beating Roseville West 5-3 on Wednesday night and forcing a deciding championship game.
On Thursday, Woodcreek put on a show at Lembi Park with four runs and six hits in the top of the sixth inning to go up 4-2. One of three errors by Roseville West added runs that helped Woodcreek win the title.
Woodcreek starter Nick Williams gave up two runs in the third but settled into a reliable five-inning outing. One run was earned, and he struck out three.
Mitchell Brill led off the sixth with a single and Stephen Sullivan sacrificed him to second. Austin McCarty’s RBI single led to the exit of Roseville West starter Joey Butcoff.
Austin Cass dribbled a single through the right side off reliever Matt Razzano to score McCarty.
Williams said he usually doesn’t swing at the first pitch, but he jammed a single through the infield to set up two runners for Brett Garcia’s sacrifice bunt.
Thomas Osella singled in the go-ahead run, and Kyle Dust sawed off a popup that fooled second baseman Trevor Borgschatz for another run.
Osella said he was a little nervous being down 0-2 in the count but simply took a deep breath and swung.
“I wasn’t really expecting anything but a fastball,” Osella said. “I was pretty comfortable going into the at-bat and just looked to hit the next pitch.”
An error on Garcia’s grounder to first scored the final two runs.
“It’s typically been the fifth or sixth innings where we start bleeding runs,” Roseville West manager Dave Yackovich said.
Austin Cass relieved after Williams walked the leadoff batter in the sixth. Cass struck out the first two batters and ended the inning with a fielder’s choice.
After hitting Borgschatz on an 0-2 count in the seventh, Cass fanned the final batter for the win.
“I didn’t feel like any of their hitters could hit me,” Cass said. “I was telling my team to give me some insurance runs so I didn’t have to worry about anything. This win feels great, but we’re going to have to face some good teams in sections.”
Catcher AJ Nist retrieved a passed ball and tagged out Adam Yackovich attempting to steal home in the fourth. Williams then struck out Hunter Fournier and ended Roseville West’s threat.
“I was kind of wild to start off the game but found the strike zone, and in the end my team scored runs for us,” Williams said. “I was nervous in the first two innings, but I gained confidence as I went on and it worked out.”
Woodcreek has practiced or played on every day manager Matt Sullivan could remember.
“We didn’t play well at all in that first game, but the kids learned from it,” Sullivan said. “This is a low-key team with a passion in their bellies. They wanted this and they worked back for it.”
Yackovich said his team had a goal of scoring eight runs against Woodcreek in the title game.
“When they said they wanted eight runs, I said, ‘Hey, go do it,’” Yackovich said. “These guys are the true baseball players and commit to it in high school. We have one football player, but the rest, all they do is baseball.”