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Woodcreek 11s invoke 10-run rule again, in section opener

By: Galen Kusic, Special to The Press Tribune
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The Woodcreek 10/11-year-old all-stars kept rolling Saturday evening with an impressive, efficient 12-1 victory over Rancho Cordova in the Little League Section 4 opener at Spring View Park in Rocklin. Woodcreek continued its playoff trend of scoring first in bunches, assaulting Cordova pitching for four runs in the first. Brandon Zidek and Tyler Malone got it started with back-to-back walks. Justin Pejovich plated Zidek with a sacrifice fly. Clayton Hall then drove in Malone with an RBI single. Jake Dirkes doubled, scoring Hall, followed by an Andrew Grinder double to bring home Dirkes. "We get ahead in the count," said Dirkes. "When we see the ball well we hit it." The pitching combination of Malone and Hall was virtually unhittable through four innings, giving up only two hits and two walks - while striking out seven in the process. "It's a well-balanced team, one through twelve," said manager Mike Watari. "Defense is my main focus, because I know these boys are going to hit. Defense is what's going to win games." Woodcreek would add another in the second when Hall was walked with the bases loaded. They didn't score again until the fourth when back-to-back doubles from Hall and Dirkes produced three more on the board. In the fifth, Hall came through again with a bases-clearing double - scoring three to put Woodcreek up 12-0. Hall ended with seven RBIs. "We've practiced in the heat before and not let it get to us," said Hall, speaking of the scorching 100 degree-plus weather. In the bottom of the fifth, Zach Erixon came in to replace Hall on the mound for Woodcreek. Erixon eventually closed it out, but not before Riley Robson drove home Patrick Shields with a sharp single to left - as Rancho avoided the shutout. "I know there are better teams on the way," said Watari. "It's hard getting everyone playing time, because all of these kids could be starters on other all-star teams." The win moved Woodcreek to a Sunday winner's bracket game against Land Park Pacific, who had a bye in the five-team double-elimination tourney.