Maidu all-stars win sixth straight elimination game

Win over Land Park Pacific extends season
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Responding when its backs are against the wall is becoming the trademark of the Maidu Little League Major division all-star team. After losing its first game in bracket play at the District 54 tournament, Maidu ran off five straight wins to win that tournament out of the elimination bracket. Now, the youngsters from the east side of Roseville are hoping for a similar result at the Section 4 tourney at Mann Park in Folsom. Maidu lost its opener in this tournament Sunday, leaving it in need of four straight wins to complete a difficult task. The road back began with a loud offensive explosion Monday night. “As one of our players said after we lost to Antelope ‘hey we are undefeated in the loser's bracket’,” said Maidu manager Greg Zanolli. “That is the loose type of attitude the boys have been playing with and just having a good time still playing baseball late into July. The pressure doesn't seem to get to them and when they are having fun at the plate and just taking their cuts you see what the result can be and that is fun to watch.” Back-to-back home runs by Jake Rodrigues and Max Shaw opened the home half of the first against Land Park Pacific, leading the way to a six-run stanza, and Maidu never looked back. “Rodrigues and Shaw starting the game with back-to-back home runs was a huge lift for the boys and as we all know hitting is contagious and that really got us going,” Zanolli said. The squad added six more in the second and rolled to a 16-6 win in a game shortened to five innings by the 10-run mercy rule. “We swung the bats very well tonight one through 12 and that is the type of ability these boys have at the plate,” Zanolli said. “It would have been nice to have used just a couple of them against Antelope and not save them all for tonight but that is okay.” Zanolli was able to preserve pitching for the daily games that lie ahead because he got a strong performance from starter Tim Wieser with help from Jake Monsour and Michael Birch. “We have said all along we have a solid pitching staff and Tim Wieser, Jake Monsour and Michael Birch did a great job tonight despite our defensive lapses in the fourth inning allowing us to preserve pitching for the remaining games,” Zanolli said Following the early long balls, Wieser, Joseph Zanolli, Nolan Murphy and Eddie Gleason added singles in building the six-run first. Josh Martinez got Land Park on the board in the second with a leadoff home run, but then Maidu cam back with its second straight six-run rally. The seven hits Maidu banged out in the second gave it 13 over the first two innings just one day after its bats went cold against Antelope. Jordan Couch legged out a one-out infield single to get things started, and Zanolli followed with a single. Murphy , Gleason and Justin Burnett all singled in runs, and then Rodrigues capped the inning with his second round-tripper of the contest, a three-run blast that brought the score to 12-1. Land Park Pacific, the champions of Sacramento District 7, did not get to this point by quitting, and they did not stop playing in this one either. A combination of four hits and three Maidu miscues helped Land Park plate four runs in the third to extend the contest beyond the four-inning minimum. “Anytime you have a game that becomes lopsided early it is hard to get the boys to stay focused especially after 34 days of playing or practicing and you saw that tonight as we made some very uncharacteristic mistakes in the field and on the bases,” Zanolli said. “I am not concerned about those parts of the game though as we have all the confidence that wasn't the norm. Land Park wouldn't quit and we knew that as any team still playing has to be a good team so we kept hitting and were able to overcome the mistakes.” Birch doubled and scored in the third, when a base running blunder cost Maidu an even bigger inning. Singles by Gleason and Rodrigues added another in the fourth, but the team finished one run short of closing out the game by way of the 10-run mercy rule when a bizarre triple play ended the inning. With the bases loaded and no one out, Wieser lifted a fly ball to left field. The ball was not hit deep, but there was a chance for Maidu to score the winning run on a sacrifice fly. After the runner crossed the plate with the apparent game-ending tally, Land Park appealed at third and was rewarded when the umpire ruled that the runner had left early. During the confusion of the appeal, the Maidu runner who had moved up to third stepped off the base and was tagged for the third out. After Land Park scored one run in the fifth, hits by Zanolli and Peter Schofield, Maidu’s 19th and 20th knocks of the contest, finished things off as they earned the team a 10-run advantage. Aaron Wong had three hits to lead a nine-hit Land Park Pacific offensive output. All 12 Maidu players had at least one hit in the contest, led by Rodrigues, Gleason and Zanolli with three hits each. Murphy and Shaw each had a pair of knocks. Maidu’s next elimination game comes at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Mann Park. The opponent has not yet been determined as the winner’s bracket game Monday night was suspended in the fifth frame. After leading 9-0 at one point, Antelope gave up 10 runs to Tri-City and the game sat at 10-9 in the fifth when it was suspended due to curfew at Mann Park. The game will be resumed Tuesday at 5 p.m. with the loser to face Maidu in the 7 p.m. elimination contest.