Woodcreek 11s set up championship rematch with Tri-City

By: Press Tribune sports staff
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A 6-1 win over West Sacramento Tuesday night gives the Woodcreek Little League 10/11-year-old all-stars another crack at its Rocklin-based rivals from Tri-City, this time for the championship of the Section 4 tournament. After inheriting a bases-loaded no-out mess in the third inning, Woodcreek’s Zac Erixon pulled off a Houdini act and escaped West Sac’s biggest threat unscathed. Erixon struck out the first batter he faced, and then knocked down a come-backer with his bare hand to get a force at the dish before getting a fly ball to short right field that got his offense back to the dugout. “Zac continued his brillant pitching by going the rest of the way and throwing strikes,” said Woodcreek manager Mike Watari. “The defense stepped up behind Zac today which we didn't have against Tri-City.” Offensively for Woodcreek, Tyler Bounds went 2-for-3 while Jake Dirkes was 2-for-3, including a big two-run triple. Erixon also had two hits, including a double, for Woodcreek. The win sets up the title showdown that was anticipated from the start of the event, as Woodcreek will need to knock off Tri-City twice, while the District 11 champions from Rocklin need just a single win to take the section banner. “As I look forward to tomorrow, I know Tri-City will be ready, as will we,” Watari said. “I know my boys are getting tired after playing four games in four straight days in very hot weather. Hopefully the excitement and energy of the ball park will fire them up.” Tri-City captured the initial matchup 8-2 on Monday night as Woodcreek uncharacteristically struggled with its offense and its defense. “Again, defense is going to be the key to the game,” Watari said. “If we play defense behind our pitching staff, we should be able to challenge Tri-City. My boys know what's on the line tomorrow so keeping their nerves in check will be key to playing well.” Wednesday’s game begins at 7 p.m. on Tri-City’s home field at Spring View Park in Rocklin. A Tri-City win would send it on to the Division 2 tourney beginning on Saturday, while a Woodcreek win would bring the two teams back to Spring View Park for a winner-take-all repeat Thursday night.