Woodcreek Juniors one win away from NorCal title

Extra-inning win keeps team in winner's bracket
By: Press Tribune sports staff
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Though it seemed that everything was stacked against it, the Woodcreek Little League Junior division all-star team found a way to overcome Tuesday, winning an eight-inning 4-3 decision over Mission of San Jose. Woodcreek overcame an early deficit, the ejection of its starting pitcher and a tough road environment to stay in the winner’s bracket at the Northern California Division 2 tournament at Willow Glen High School in San Jose. The victory puts Woodcreek one win away from the tourney title and a trip to the Junior Western Region tournament. “It was a pretty interesting game,” said Woodcreek manager Mike Valdez. “We were down 3-0 early, but the boys battled back.” Stephen Nogosek took the ball at the outset, and lasted just three innings as he was ejected from the contest after an exchange with the home plate umpire during an at-bat in the home half of the third. The Woodcreek pitcher was hit by a pitch, but the umpire ruled that his arm was in the strike zone and called him back to continue the at-bat. After being called out on strikes, Nogosek voiced his frustration and was given an early trip to the showers. Losing his pitcher put Valdez in adjustment mode, and he turned to Derek Guerra, who answered the call. Guerra three five shutout innings in which he allowed base runners by way of seven hits, but did not walk a batter, and he kept Mission from scoring, allowing his team to come back for the win. A dropped pop up put Woodcreek in prime position in the seventh, as they scored to tie the game and force the extra session, where Blake Robinson and Tyler Milani delivered the clutch game-winning hits. Robinson doubled, and then James Huck, who was running for Robinson, came in to score on a Milani two-bagger that ended the affair in the home half of the eighth. Milani, Joey Dirkes, George Corp and Guerra all had two hits for Woodcreek, which banged out a total of 11 in the contest. Woodcreek has Wednesday off, while Mission and Mill Valley battle it out in an elimination game. The survivor will be Woodcreek’s opponent in a 5:30 p.m. title game Thursday night at Willow Glen High. Woodcreek will be in the driver’s seat Thursday as it will need just one win to take the title, while its opponent will need to knock it off that night and again on Friday.