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Woodcreek 11s roll on, Tri-City battle is next

By: Press Tribune sports staff
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It is somewhat rare in Little League sectional play to have teams for different districts enter a game with a sense of familiarity, but that will be the case on Monday night when the much-anticipated game between Woodcreek and Tri-City goes off at Spring View Park in Rocklin. A number of Tri-City players have participated with a large contingent from Woodcreek on the same travel ball team in recent years, but on Monday the two sides will square off in the Section 4 10/11 all-star tournament winner’s bracket. In the heat Sunday night at Spring View Park, Woodcreek faced a rare situation when it was extended the full six innings in a matchup with Land Park Pacific of Sacramento before winning the game 13-5. Defense was a big key for the District 54 champions as they turned a pair of double plays in the contest. “Land Park Pacific is a good team and never gave up,” said Woodcreek manager Mike Watari. Land Park posted some early offense, as Watari worked his way through a quartet of pitchers. With Jake Dirkes, Andrew Grinder, Zac Erixon and Justin Pejovich all taking a turn manning the bump, Land Park managed to post three runs in the second and two more in the third – the latter pair of runs coming on a home run by AJ Wood. I believe the heat had a lot to do with the intensity of my pitchers,” Watari said. “My pitchers finally settled down after the third inning and gave up only two more hits in the last three frames.” Woodcreek had its usually prolific offense in high gear once again, as it banged out 13 hits in the game. Justin Watari (3-for-5), Tyler Bounds (2-for-4), Tyler Malone (2-for-3), Clayton Hall (2-for-4) and Pejovich (2-for-3) all had big nights with the sticks. The win keeps Woodcreek in the winner’s bracket and sets up the 7:30 p.m. Monday night matchup with the tournament’s host team, Tri-City. “This is the matchup that I think both teams have been looking forward to,” Watari said. “Tri-City is a well-coached team and very productive with the bats. I believe whoever has the least amount of defensive miscues will win the game.” Land Park Pacific will face West Sacramento in Monday’s opener (at 5 p.m.), and elimination game in the tourney.