Rocklin Juniors roll to Section 4 title
ROCKLIN – One would be hard pressed to try and decide whether the strength of the Rocklin Little League Junior All Stars was pitching or hitting – they have both in abundance.
Against Roseville’s All-Stars in the Section 4 tournament held at District 6 in North Natomas, Rocklin scored 33 runs over two games and gave up nine to win the championship. After having lost 7-6 to Roseville in an earlier contest, Rocklin had to win back-to-back games in the championship round.
Rocklin completed their comeback with a July 12 15-6 victory over Roseville and headed for Salinas and District 9 to compete in the California Divisional Tournament.
“The first (loss), we had a good lead going into the seventh (inning), but we didn’t throw many strikes and the wheels just kind of fell off,” said Rocklin manager Mike Schaack. “It’s just baseball; baseball happens. They’re a good team. They rallied back and came back.”
Schaack said after the game they used symbols to represent the games they would have to win in order to win the section championship. That use of symbolism seemed to narrow the team’s focus and put them back on the path of victory.
“From that point on, we rallied. Our bats just got hot and our pitchers threw strikes, and that was the difference,” Schaack continued. “We were more focused and just competed as a team.”
And compete they did. Rocklin defeated Fair Oaks/Orangevale (D5) 17-2, Pocket (D7) 24-9, Rio Linda (D6) 9-1 and Roseville (D54) 18-3 in the first game of the championship round.
In the July 12 contest, Joe Schwasnick started on the mound and went 3 1/3 innings. Relievers Cameron Castor and Taylor Hughes filled in for a couple innings, and Donovan Stephens closed in the seventh with a three-up, three-down inning.
At the plate: Stephens (1-for-1, two runs), Castor (2-for-3, two runs, RBI), Schwasnick (2-for-5, 2B, HR, three runs, two RBI), Jake Esperson (1-for-5, two runs), Brandon Taormino (4-for-4, 2B, three runs, two RBI), Jake Moore (1-for-2, HR, run, two RBI), Matthew Brewster (2-for-2, two 2B), Reili Thomas (run), Corey Floresca (1-for-2, run) and Nate Lignell (1-for-1, RBI).
Roseville led 1-0 after two innings of play, but Rocklin rallied to take a 6-3 lead going into the fourth and took a commanding 11-3 lead in the fifth inning, capped by Moore’s two-run home run.
Roseville scored first and led 1-0 going into the third inning. But after a six-run third, Rocklin went up 6-3 and pulled away for a 11-3 lead after four frames.
Roseville’s batting statistics: Ramon Esparza III (1-for-3, run), Kris Jibson (2-for-4), Ricky Bastianelli (2-for-4, run), Ryan Graydon (2-for-3, 2B, two runs), Colin Nugent (2-for-4, run), Brandon Graydon (1-for-3, 2B, two RBI), Austin Wiebe (1-for-4) and Brennan Bass (2-for-2, 2B, run).
Ryan Graydon pitched 4 1/3 innings before giving way to Esparza, who closed out the game.
With just one day of rest before heading for Salinas, Rocklin lost their opening 10 a.m. game Saturday to Oakland 6-5. Things did not go better on Sunday, as the Quarry Boys were eliminated in loss to Pleasanton.
10-12 ALL STARS
Tri-City has proven they can win with defense, going 3-0 in their first three games at Conlin Park in Sacramento and scoring just a dozen total runs.
Saturday, TCLL beat Lakeside 4-3, Fair Oaks/Orangevale 2-0 and earned a spot in the championship round beating Land Park Pacific 6-5 Monday.
8-10 ALL STARS
Rocklin’s youngest All-Stars fell to Fair Oaks/Orangevale and Land Park Pacific and were eliminated in the Section 4 Tournament in Nevada City.