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Woodcreek outscores Ponderosa in slugfest

Woodcreek moves into title game of District 54 Junior tournament
By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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With a ton of runs, a bunch of pitching changes and enough errors on both sides to flunk the SAT, the Woodcreek junior all-stars outlasted Ponderosa 19-14 in the winners’ bracket final of the Little League District 54 tournament Saturday at Mahany Park.

The seven-inning game lasted almost four hours.

“A four-hour game isn’t what we were expecting,” Woodcreek manager Erik Hanson said with a laugh.

Woodcreek trailed 8-5 heading into the fourth inning and then struck with a vengeance.

Jason Headington led off with a walk, and Cole Snider smacked a double. Justin Watari and Joey Pankratz drove in the runners with a groundout and fielder’s choice. The dagger came after two more walks, when Bailey Thompson smoked a grand slam to deep center field.

“This is my first year of all-stars, so honestly, I was nervous,” Thompson said. “But when I got up, I was definitely confident. I hit the ball where it needed to go.”

Aggressive Ponderosa answered with five runs in the fifth to make it a 13-13 game, but Woodcreek put the game out of reach with a five-run seventh that included RBI doubles from Headington, Snider and Watari.

“First of all, I knew Ponderosa was going to hit. We had seen them in a couple of games,” Hanson said. “They really hit the cover off the ball, so we knew we had to compete and hit the cover off the ball. We made some errors on defense, but somehow, we kept picking each other up and making the plays we needed.”

Woodcreek will play either Ponderosa or Folsom American for the championship at 8 p.m. Tuesday night.