Roseville West 11-year-olds win a close one

Big hits by Hanson, defensive gems by Bellig, Granucci, Welker add up to 6-5 victory
By: Brett Ransford/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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RANCHO MURIETA - The Roseville West 11-year-old all-star team will have Sunday off after winning its Little League Section 4 Tournament opener 5-4 over Fair Oaks-Orangevale in a nail-biter Saturday at Stonehouse Park.

Roseville West will play at 5 p.m. Monday.

Brandon Hanson put Roseville West up 5-2 with a big-time single to the wall in center field in the top of the sixth inning after a sacrifice by Jared Tavares scored Ben Welker from third base. Hanson’s RBI became huge in the bottom of the sixth, as FOV drove a two-run homer to straightaway center and had two runners in scoring position with a hitter at the plate who knocked in a run in the third.

Hanson, who went 2 for 2 with three RBI after entering the game in the fourth inning, fooled the right fielder and brought in two runs with the biggest hit of the game.

Cody Jensen was the third Roseville West pitcher. He struck out a batter before giving up the home run in his first inning of work. Jensen provided game-ending heroics by diving for a grounder and making the final out at first base.

Defensive prowess was on Roseville West’s side, as two outfielders made highlight assists in the same inning.

Tyler Bellig threw home from right field and caught a runner between third, which preserved a 1-1 tie in the third. Two batters later, Sean Granucci gunned down a runner at home to save another run.

In the fourth, Welker knocked down a ball at first base with his face, found the ball and tagged first with his glove while he was on the ground.

Jensen singled in Roseville West's first run for a 1-0 lead in the third.

“We’ve played two tournaments of pool play, and (Hanson) has been coming in as a substitute. He never once hung his head. He’s continued to improve, and he came in and was clutch,” Roseville West manager Steffen Gilbert said. “He had most of our RBIs (Saturday), and that’s what all of this should be about. It’s not just about winning games; it’s about kids getting better at baseball. I couldn’t be any prouder of Brandon Hanson.”

Jeremy Giuntoli was pulled as he faced the leadoff hitter in the third. He threw 35 pitches, and Gilbert made the decision to save him for Monday’s game. Giuntoli struck out the side in the first, gave up one hit in the second and fanned the next two for five strikeouts against seven batters faced.