Woodcreek edges Tri-City in Section 4 9/10

By: Brett Ransford/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Woodcreek Little League’s 9/10 all-stars opened the Section 4 Tournament on their home field at Mahany Park and inched to a 2-1 victory over Tri-City on Sunday.

A critical relay from center fielder Brock Thawley caught Tri-City’s Dominic Souto trying to take third base on a hit to the outfield wall in the top of the sixth inning. Shortstop Daniel Susac connected the relay to third baseman Justin Gangwish. The next two hitters singled, and Thawley’s play proved the difference.

It was the first out of the inning but not Susac's first big play.

Susac’s pitching carried Woodcreek. He struck out seven hitters in a row and totaled 10 strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Carter Krupp earned the save by striking out the final two batters.

Susac’s first base runner allowed was a walk to Levi Bare, who was driven in by Tri-City starting pitcher Chase Webb.

Susac drove in Zachery Watari, who doubled in the first inning, to give Woodcreek a 1-0 lead.

Watari reached third base on a shot to right field in the third. Kyle Kern sacrificed into a double play, but Watari scored the much-needed extra run to make the score 2-0.

Woodcreek made three pitching changes in the final two innings: Thawley, Watari and Krupp.

“What an incredible game,” Woodcreek manager Mike Watari said. “We made some big defensive plays. Tri-City would have had all the momentum in the world if (Souto) had stopped at third base. Tri-City always has great teams, and we’ve had some great games against them.”

Watari and his older son defeated the 9/10 Tri-City team 1-0 in the Section 4 Tournament two years ago. He said those are two of the best 9/10 games he’s seen.

Tri-City Manager Brian Souto said Sunday’s loss was heartbreaking.

“Nine out of 10 times (Dominic Souto) is safe there, but Woodcreek made a great play,” Souto said. “He’s not cocky, but he’s confident that he’s going to be safe on that play. We played a much better team than we had in our last game. If we played this Woodcreek team 10 times, I’m sure it would be an even 5-5 record.”

Woodcreek is back at Mahany Park at 7:30 p.m. Monday against West Sacramento, which won its opener 16-0.

Tri-City plays a losers' bracket game at 5 p.m. Monday.