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Woodcreek 11-year-olds stay alive again at sections

Win over West Sacramento lets all-stars play at least one more day
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Hopes of a Section 4 tournament title stayed alive for the Woodcreek Little League 11-year-old all-stars Monday night in Rio Linda. Manager Max Tapia and his squad tallied nine runs in the first three innings against West Sacramento. Woodcreek put in their final runs in the top of the fourth on a two-run double by J.C. Santini. Its third game of the tournament ended in a full six innings with an 11-2 over West Sacramento. After losing its opener 15-2 to Tri-City, Woodcreek has now survived two consecutive elimination games. “That game against Tri-City woke us up a bit you could say,” Tapia said. “Not that we were expecting to come in and roll West Sac, but our bats are slowly coming back. It got to a point where I think the strike zone widened a little. The middle of our lineup doesn’t strike out, especially looking. But we’re not going to run ourselves out of an inning, but it was good. We need that.” Woodcreek didn’t need much up 9-0 through three innings. Woodcreek was smacking it to all the gaps right from the start. Noah Kravich led off the game with a single and moved to third on Santini’s double to center field. Joey Pankratz drove in the first two runs with a single back up the middle of the diamond. Starting pitcher Drew Robinson got working early on the mound and at the plate. His single through shortstop and second base caused an error in centerfield and brought in the third run of the first inning. On the rubber Robinson went two full innings allowing no runs, no hits and three strikeouts. Pankratz got his third RBI on a deep shot to centerfield and Matthew Ornelas put a drive through the right side of the infield to put Woodcreek up 7-0 heading into the third. Santini drove in another beginning the third with a double to centerfield. Ornelas followed up his one RBI in the second with two more in the third. Jack Rotteveel came on in relief at the start of the back half of three. His two innings of work earned him two strikeouts and two runs on a single. Kravich pitched the fifth in one of Woodcreek’s shortest defensive half innings. He grounded out his first two, walked one and struck out a fourth to open the final six outs. Santini’s two-run double in the top of four kept the game at 11-2 for the longest scoreless stretch (2 ½ innings). Pitching changes by both teams kept it scoreless, but not uneventful. Against Rotteveel in the bottom of four, West Sac loaded up with two outs on two walks and a single. Unfazed by the pressure, the Woodcreek star doctored a force out at third and broke the hearts of West Sac fans. Woodcreek looks to Tuesday’s matchup against Sunrise again facing their third straight elimination game. “I don’t know much about them except that they had a hard time against Tri-City and so did we,” Tapia said. “It looks like Sunrise and us are evenly matched and we’ll see what happens.” The winner of that game moves on to play Tri-City in the tournament championship. Unbeaten Tri-City would need to win just once, on Wednesday or Thursday, while the elimination bracket survivor will need to take down the Rocklin-based powerhouse on two straight nights to take the title.