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El Dorado Hills North Little LeaguesÕ 9-10 All-Star team finally met their match Sunday night, falling to WoodcreekÕs All-Stars 8-4. The loss held the boys to finishing third in the tournament with an overal record of 5-2 Ñ their best in years.
The preceding games of the tournament tested the young athletesÕ skills against some of the best teams in the area. It was an El Dorado County showdown Saturday afternoon as El Dorado Hills North Little LeagueÕs 9-10 year old All Stars faced off against Ponderosa at Maidu Park in Roseville in a winner-stays-alive, loser-goes-home consolation bracket game.
After six innings it was El Dorado Hills North on top, winning 6-2 in exciting and entertaining baseball.
Ponderosa jumped onto the scoreboard in the first inning as right fielder Darrec Ditluesen ripped a double to left field and was brought in by first basemen BJ MuellerÕs tough-to-track fly ball to left.
El Dorado Hills North answered in the bottom of the inning, posting four runs as second baseman Garret Mook singled to left, first baseman Nathan Hensen reached on an error, catcher Daniel Doe singled and pitcher Joe Durkett walked. Both Doe and Durkett scored on past balls while Durkett earned an RBI with his walk.
Ponderosa third baseman Hunter Lujan and catcher Zach Reil found a way to swing momentum back to even, catching North centerfielder Rhys Kennedy in a pickle between third and home. Kennedy was quick, but ReilÕs brilliant diving tag earned him the out, giving pitcher Daniel Silva the break he needed to find his groove.
Silva found that groove, holding El Dorado Hills to one more run in his three innings, and fanning three batters in the process. NorthÕs fifth run was on an intelligent at bat by capable short-stop John Charles, who earned himself a walk and ripped around to second and third on rare wild pitches from Silva before scoring on Jake ManFrediÕs grounder.
North picked up one final run in the fifth, as Doe singled, was moved over by DurkettÕs double and scored on a past ball.
In the sixth, Silva displayed his multi-faceted skill set, switching from the mound to the batterÕs box and smashing a solo home run to dead center to lead off the bottom of the sixth for Ponderosa.
ÒIt was a four-seamer,Ó Silva said. ÒIt was the first home run over the fence IÕve hit this year.Ó
Silva, who has hit a handful of in-the-parkers this year, was stoked for his bomb, and was proud of his teamÕs performance despite the loss.
ÒWe played good today,Ó Silva said. ÒWe hit and played defense well.Ó
Defensively, both teams provided some crowd pleasing plays in the field. For Ponderosa, Reil was tough as nails behind the plate while Ditleusen held down right field with a strong sense of duty. Mike Kujawa didnÕt have his best day at the plate, but was a crucial component as PonderosaÕs center fielder and an exceptional middle relief pitcher for Silva.
Mueller was a presence in the box and in the field, making a half dozen stretches and scoops for ground-outs. Lujan played a strong third base, controlling the hot corner with a monster arm before Cameron Penman came in and brought an intensity to the position.
Mike Miller and Justin Pardon were exceptional at second base, while Derrek Estes and Kyle Jilbert shared duties in left field. Austin Jarrard played a complete game at short-stop, and was a true leader in the infield.
Silva was strong on the mound before being relieved by Kujawa and then Caden Almer, who was everything a closer should be in shutting down the opposing offense.
NorthÕs boys were equally as formidable. Mook and Hansen controlled second and first base respectively, while Doe played the role of puppet master behind the plate, and starting pitcher Durkett was amazing through three and two-thirds innings before being relieved by Hansen, who was relieved by John Charles who closed in the sixth.