WOODLAND — The El Dorado Hills Crushers 14U travel baseball team won its first tournament last weekend after an 8-3 win over Benicia in the championship game.
The Crushers, playing for the first time on regulation 90-foot bases, rode the pitching of Landon Woodwick and a six-run second inning to victory and the Miken Freaks 14U title. Woodwick, supported by solid defense and hitting, kept the Capitols off balance each inning. Noah Skelly closed out for the Crushers.
To reach the finals, El Dorado Hills edged Napa Valley in a 7-6 nail-biter. Down by two runs and faced with elimination in their last at bat, the Crushers rallied as Woodwick’s clutch sacrifice sent home the go-ahead run. On the mound, Joe Durket pitched a complete game and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win.
To open bracket play, El Dorado Hills defeated Hangtown Elite 12-4 after playing the Elite to a 6-6 tie earlier in the tournament. In the second match-up, Will Goodin pitched his team to victory with help from middle infielders Sean Coulombe and Trevor Barbosa.
In the opener against Hangtown, the score see-sawed before ending in a stalemate. Tim Rhyan, Mitch Alhady and Durket each went 2-for-3.
The Crushers lone loss was 10-4 to Napa despite production in the field and plate from Mason Ghidossi, Jimmy Sisk and Devin Kramer.
Last year, the Crushers took their lumps as a 13U team but stuck together. Through effort, determination and hard work, they’ve turned the corner at tournaments although winning one (tournament) proved elusive.
Part of the team’s passioned strive to get better was conditioning with former Oak Ridge volleyball star Kaleigh Durket (Colgate, Santa Clara, Joe’s older sister), tips from former Rocklin baseball player and current pro Pat Stover (Santa Clara, Los Angeles Dodgers, Kaleigh’s boyfriend), and drills and skills training with Sonny Merlo (California Baseball Academy).
The team is coached by Matthew Durket and Casey Rhyan.