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Susac, Woodcreek slam Ponderosa in District 54 9/10 opener

By: Brett Ransford/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Woodcreek Little League’s 9/10 all-star team was the second from Roseville to pitch a no-hitter Monday.

Woodcreek demolished Ponderosa 23-0 in four innings at Richards Field. Its pool-play opener in the District 54 9/10 tournament was all the more impressive in that four pitchers combined on the no-hitter. Maidu’s Major all-star team used three pitchers in a 14-1 no-hitter over Snowline on Monday at Feist Park.

Starting pitcher Zachery Watari struck out the side in the bottom of the first. Owen Cuffe and Carson Blatnick saw an inning each of middle relief, and closer Alec Gums completed the no-hitter in the fourth.

Arguably the most impressive player for Woodcreek was catcher Daniel Susac. On 3-of-4 hitting, Susac crushed a three-run homer in the third, followed by a grand slam in his next at-bat — in the same inning.

Woodcreek scored 12 runs in the inning to follow a nine-run first.

Leading 22-0 in the fourth, Susac was told by team manager and father, Nick Susac, to bat from the opposite side of the plate, left-handed. Susac singled to center, just inches away from his third homer.

“I just try to hit the top inside half of the ball and try to get a good, solid hit,” Susac said. “After the inning and we’ve taken a big lead, you just get really comfortable knowing that you’re up by a lot of runs.”

Only three players returned from last season’s Northern California Division 2 championship team. Most have moved up to the 11-year-old all-star team and have been replaced with 11 players eager to earn Woodcreek its third state championship.

Coach Mike Watari, who managed last year’s state championship team, said the decision to keep the maximum 14 players was based on sheer talent.

“We heard Ponderosa lost 18-0 to El Dorado Hills, so we knew it’s very easy to get complacent,” Watari said. “We like the way that we’re set up with our bracket. El Dorado Hills is still in our bracket, and they’re always one of our toughest foes. We had a heck of a run against them last year. We have 14 boys on this team and they all hit. They all deserve to be on the team.”

Woodcreek plays Gold Rush at 5 p.m. today. On Thursday, Maidu meets Lakeside
at 5:30, followed by Roseville West vs. Folsom American at 7:30.

The complete schedule for pool play can be found on www.placersports.com.