Woodcreek 11s rally, beat Lakeside for D54 title

By: Galen Kusic, Special to The Press Tribune
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The Woodcreek 11-year-olds claimed the District 54 Little League all-star tournament title Saturday evening with a 9-3 victory over Lakeside at Feist Park. Lakeside jumped out to an early 3-1 advantage behind back-to-back RBI singles from Nick Dumke and Tyler Farr in the third, but Woodcreek would not be denied. After a Justin Watari single with one out got things started in the fifth, Brandon Zidek followed with a single to bring Tyler Malone to the plate with two on. Malone turned on a fastball and pulled it deep to right field, off the scoreboard for a three-run blast, giving Woodcreek its first lead of the game, 4-3. "I was thinking if these two runners get on, I might have a chance to give us the lead," said Malone. "Everyone got pumped up, that was our intensity builder." Justin Pejovich kept the rally going with a single, followed by a Jake Dirkes single. With two out, Andrew Grinder came to the plate and roped a double to deep left-center, scoring Pejovich and Dirkes. Max Shaw then singled home Grinder, as Woodcreek scored six runs on seven hits in the fifth to gain a 7-3 advantage. "That opened the game up, and gave us the confidence to keep going," said Grinder of his two-run double. "I was swinging for a base hit - I got that, and I was happy with that." Pejovich gave up those two runs in the third, but shut Lakeside down the rest of the game as he ended with six strikeouts, and only allowed one hit the remainder of the contest. "I was getting rhythm after the first inning, it was tough inheriting those base runners," said Pejovich. "This was the best team in the district (Lakeside) but with Malone's home run, we came back and won it." Woodcreek would add two more runs in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Zidek and Malone. Clayton Hall topped it off with a sacrifice fly to deep left, scoring Malone to make it 9-3. Kyle Galbaugh doubled in the bottom of the sixth for Lakeside, but it was too late as Pejovich got the final batter to ground out to second. As soon as the out was made, Woodcreek players rushed the mound and celebrated by throwing their gloves in the air and jumping around in jubilation. Woodcreek will go on to play in the section championships of the 10/11-year-old all-star division. "We won last year," said Grinder. "So I'm hoping to win again this year." That tournament begins with a matchup against the winners of Sacramento’s District 5 on Saturday at 5 p.m. The 10/11 section tourney is being hosted by Rocklin’s Tri-City Little League