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Missed chances cost Maidu in section playoff opener

Antelope National stays in winner's bracket
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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The comeback kids from the District 54 Major division championship couldn’t muster a round two in their Section 4 tournament opener. Sunday evening at Folsom’s Mann Park, the Maidu all-stars stranded eight runners on base in dropping a 6-1 decision to District 6 champion Antelope National. Maidu had chances in each of five innings at the plate including stranding bases loaded in the top of the fourth, but failed to produce the run-scoring hits. Balls to the backstop killed Maidu pitching all night long. Starting pitcher Coleman Harrigan went down 2-0 before recording a single out in the first frame. He allowed the first run on a pitch in the dirt in the bottom of one and another on a ball off the catcher’s glove. Harrigan anchored himself at the mound at blasted back with three straight strikeouts to end the inning. The right-hander fanned five straight over the first two innings and recorded six of the first seven outs by strikeout. Max Shaw doubled in a run for Maidu in the first, setting up two runners in scoring position, but Maidu was unable to cash in as a strikeout and fly out ended the rally. “We didn’t hit the ball and we had to hit the ball,” said Maidu manager Greg Zanolli. “The pitchers weren’t that good and Antelope’s ace was their closer who they saved for their next game. We had our chances, we had bases loaded one inning and two guys on in another and we didn’t capitalize. What it came down to was a 2-1 game in the fifth inning.” Antelope put itself in prime position with four runs in the fifth. A bases loaded passed ball scored the first run and then a three-run home run did the major damage. Jake Mansour came on in relief of Joseph Zanolli to get out of the inning. Maidu was set down in order in the sixth to end the game. Antelope Manager Tony Torres said his team’s clutch hitting performance was another reminder of their character. “They play hard and they stay down and dirty,” Torres said. “They play hard from the beginning to end. Their composure is great; they have a lot character on this team. Nobody hangs their head and it was a real team effort.” Maidu now has its backs to the wall in this double-elimination tournament. It will face the survivor of a Sunday night survival game between Rancho Cordova and Land Park Pacific in a 5 p.m. Monday night elimination game. Antelope National will face Tri-City at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the winner’s bracket.