Maidu edges Folsom American, reaches Major title game

By: Staff Report
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Down to the final three teams in the Little League Major division all-star tournament at Feist Park, the intensity is ratcheted way up. The final game in the elimination bracket came Sunday night as Maidu completed its battle back through the bottom bracket with a 4-3 win over Folsom American. Folsom jumped on top early in this one, as lead-off man Tyler Garcia walked and eventually scored on a Billy Martina base hit. It was a first inning that cut deeply into Maidu starter Jake Rodrigues' pitch count as it took him 23 tosses to get through. Folsom American added another run in the second, but it could have been a bigger inning. Jack Wolger singled to begin things, but he was erased on a double play to clean the bases before Anthony Baciocco stepped to the plate. The No. 9 hitter in the order blasted an 0-2 pitch over the centerfield fence to increase the margin to 2-0. Maidu tied it in the home half of the second stanza. Jordan Couch singled leading off, and after two outs, a Nolan Murphy base hit and a base on balls to Jacob Monsour loaded the bases as the batting turned over for Maidu. As he has done on so many occasions so far in this tournament, Michael Birch delivered the big hit against Eli Wood, a two-run single that leveled the score. Max Shaw tried to put Maidu on top, but his drive was flagged down in center field to end the inning. Maidu got its first lead in the third on a Peter Schofield infield hit that scored Rodrigues, who had singled. With the winner still needing to win two games against a rested Lakeside team to take the tourney, Maidu manager Greg Zanolli elected to go to his bullpen in the fourth to preserve Rodrigues' eligiblity for a possible Wednesday game. Joseph Zanolli got the call and he set Folsom down in order in four and fifth frames, with four strikouts in the mix. Maidu increased its lead with an insurance run in the fifth as pinch-runner Justin Burnett scored on a Murphy sacrifice fly after a diving catch in right field with the bags full. Folsom got one back in the top of the sixth, but it could not get the two it needed to tie. Josh Hook singled and advanced 60 feet when his hit was bobbled in the outfield. He moved up on a ground out and then scored on another ground ball. After Zanolli walked Brad Funk to put the tying run on base, Coleman Harrigan took the ball and struck out the game's final batter to send Maidu on in the tournament. "That was a terrific baseball game and Folsom American should be proud the way they played and the tournament success they enjoyed," Greg Zanolli said. "Maidu played them twice and both times it was a 4-3 victory for Maidu with both games coming down to the very end." Now Maidu must prepare for its title game matchup with Lakeside. With Lakeside undefeated in the tourney, Maidu must win games on both Tuesday and Wednesday to claim the crown, while Lakeside needs just one win. It was Lakeside who sent Maidu to the elimation bracket with a 3-2 win on a Jack Sutch two-run homer in the fifth inning. The next meeting should be a good one as well, and it is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Feist Park. "At this point we are very excited to get another shot at Lakeside," Zanolli said. "They are a very good team but if our bats continue to produce we feel our pitching will continue to hold teams to just a few runs and we will have a very good chance to win. Any time you have to beat a team twice that is a difficult task but I believe in our boys and have all the confidence that they are up for the challenge."