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Tri-City 11s interrupt Woodcreek's run

Three teams remain in Section 4 tournament
By: Galen Kusic
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The Tri-City all-stars earned a spot in the Little League Section 4 10/11-year-old tournament championship game with an 8-2 victory over Woodcreek at Spring View Park in Rocklin Monday night. Tri-City's first five batters all scored in the first inning - capped by a two-run CJ Whelan double. In an inning uncharacteristic of Woodcreek, three errors were committed on routine plays - allowing for three Tri-City runs to score. On the mound for Tri-City, Whelan had complete control - going the distance for a complete game. He allowed two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out one. What may have been most impressive about the performance were the twelve ground ball outs. "I really wanted to get the first pitch over the plate" said Whelan. "They weren't really swinging at the first strike." Woodcreek had several opportunities in the first, second and third inning with base runners- but in the first a 6-3 unassisted double play from Niko Domingo shut down any threat. In the second after a Clayton Hall single, two consecutive groundouts ended the inning. In the third after a single from Andrew Grinder, Whelan got Justin Watari to fly out to right, and Brandon Zidek to ground out to short. Tri-City added an insurance run in the second when AJ Sauers grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring Whelan from third to increase the lead to 6-0. Tyler Malone pitched well for Woodcreek after a shaky first, striking out five Tri-City batters in two innings of work. Justin Pejovich came in to replace him and went unscathed through two innings until the fifth when a Ricky Brumley double turned an error into a run, increasing the Tri-City lead to 7-0. Max Shaw broke the ice for Woodcreek in the bottom of the fifth when he took a second pitch fastball deep over the right-center field fence next to the scoreboard for a solo home run. "I was looking fastball, because they were already ahead and they weren't going to be throwing balls," said Shaw. Watari came in to pitch the sixth for Woodcreek, giving up a run after an AJ Sauers double, a walk and a single from Blake Henderson. A sacrifice fly from Jack McBride with the bases loaded scored Sauers, giving Tri-City an 8-1 advantage going into Woodcreek's final at-bat. Malone led off with a double, followed by a Clayton Hall infield single. Jake Dirkes grounded out to short, scoring Malone from third to close the gap to 8-2. It was all Woodcreek would get as Whelan got Tyler Bounds to fly out to center to end it. "I was throwing on the corners, and mixing in some off-speed pitches," said Whelan of how he kept a usually patient Woodcreek team off balance at the plate. "We just have to play as hard as we did today, and we'll be fine." Woodcreek will now play West Sacramento in Tuesday’s elimination game, hoping to earn another shot at powerful Tri-City. Whichever team survives Tuesday night will need to take down Tri-City twice to take the title. With the win, Tri-City is in the driver’s seat, needing just one more victory to move on to the Northern California Division 2 tournament.