Woodcreek Juniors on Mission in Friday finale

By: Press Tribune sports staff
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The cushion of knowing that it had a game in its pocket may have been more than Woodcreek Little League’s Junior division all-star team could handle on Thursday night. The team lost a game in its District 54 title run, and then had to come back through the loser’s bracket to win the Section 4 title, so when it stood on the brink of an unbeaten run through the Northern California Division 2 tourney, the prosperity may have been an issue. “We came out flat today,” said Woodcreek manager Mike Valdez. “We needed to be ready to play, but we were not ready for this game.” The good news for Valdez is that his team has always responded when its backs are to the wall, as they will be in Friday’s winner-take-all final. Thursday’s 6-1 loss to Mission of San Jose was a rematch of Tuesday’s extra inning win by the Woodcreek all-stars as Mission tries to battle back through the loser’s bracket. In this one, Woodcreek had no hits until the fourth inning, while it allowed single runs in the first and second before seeing Mission post four in the fourth. Woodcreek did bang out three hits in the final frame, when it scored its only run, but it was much too little and way too late. The rubber match between the two teams is set for Friday night at 5:30 p.m. at Willow Glen High School in San Jose. Woodcreek will be energized by the return of leadoff hitter Stephen Nogosek, who sat out Thursday’s game with a mandatory one-game suspension after being ejected when these two teams met on Tuesday. After throwing just three innings in that contest, Nogosek, who will get the start on the bump Friday night, should be rested and ready for this big game. With Mission having burned two pitches in the two days since that game, Valdez expects his team will see the same pitcher they faced on Tuesday. “We’ve seen hit and we’ve hit him once already,” Valdez said. “We will come ready tomorrow and we should be fine.”