One up, one down
SACRAMENTO – Recent history wasn’t on the Bear River 9-10 Little League All Stars’ side in its section final with unbeaten Woodcreek (Roseville) Wednesday.
Bear River manager Tom Harris, who had a front-row seat in a 13-run loss to Woodcreek earlier in the double- elimination bracket, had to get an all-around effort from his team or the curtain would fall on the 2004 season.
He got it.
The District 11 champs got two hits from John Magni and a lights-out defensive performance en route to a 1-0 victory at Tahoe Tallac Park Wednesday to stay alive in the section-title hunt.
The teams will meet again for all of the marbles at Tahoe Tallac at 5:45 p.m. today, with the winner headed to the eight-team Northern California division championships.
“It’s certainly an improvement from the last time we played them. We had eight errors in that game. We were just throwing the ball all over the place,” Harris said. ” (Today) everybody did well on defense.”
Woodcreek succeeded in putting the bat on the ball, but Bear River’s defense didn’t falter.
Jake Jarman and Laura Davies, who shared duties at second base, along with shortstop James Harris, pitcher Nick Viola, third baseman Garrat Johnson and first baseman Magni handcuffed Woodcreek with one big putout after another.
Woodcreek, which put up eight runs in the first four innings in the teams’ earlier matchup, only had two hits leave the infield.
“I was amazed how well the defense did today,” said Viola, who fanned three and gave up three hits en route to the complete-game win.
Viola faced only three more batters than the minimum.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning.
Viola led off with a walk, then advanced to third on Magni’s blast off the fence in left center.
With runners at second and third, James Harris gave the Bear River fans a reason to cheer with a RBI single to right field.
Woodcreek had a runner on third with two outs in the fifth, but Viola caught Joey Dirkes looking to end the threat.
“Nick makes a coach’s job easy,” Harris said. “He’s got (a variety of pitches) and he knows how to work the batter. If you had two or three of him, you wouldn’t have to show up to the field.”
Viola retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth and final inning, but gave up a bloop single to shallow center field to Kevin Hamann.
Unfazed, Viola struck Steven Nogosek out in four pitches as the Bear River dugout spilled out onto the field.
“I was nervous, but I knew I had to get it done,” Viola said. ” I wasn’t going to let my team down.”
By the numbers
8 – The number of errors Bear River committed in its 13-run loss to Woodcreek earlier in the section tournament
0 – The number of errors Bear River had in its 1-0 win Wednesday
3 – The number of times Woodcreek’s offense went three-and- out over Wednesday’s six-inning game
210 – The number of feet Bear River first baseman John Magni’s double to left-center travelled in the air
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