With the same machine-like efficiency they showed Saturday night, Rocklin’s Major Little League All-Stars wrapped up the District 11 championship Sunday with a 10-0 win over Bear Riverat Pioneer Park in Nevada City.
The two-game title series was short lived for Area 2 champ Bear River, as Rocklin routed the south county stars by a combined score of 22-0.
“Not much to talk about tonight,” said Bear River manager Mike Sypnicki. “Not a lot of offense in the past two nights.
“They’re a great team. They hit one through nine and they play defense. You have to play a perfect game to stay with these guys.”
While Bear River might not have been picture perfect, the team didn’t exactly give anything away. Rocklin ripped eight hits in Sunday’s four innings of play, including a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning by Christian Bennett.
Bennett’s blast over the center-right field fence broke open the gates for a team that added two more runs in the bottom of the second frame. That lead would have stretched to six runs after two innings, but Bear River’s Travis Anderson snagged a line drive at the center field wall to rob Rocklin of a home run.
Two more runs in each of the next two innings gave Rocklin the win and ended what had been a dominant run by Bear River through its half of the District 11 tournament. Before meeting up with Rocklin, Bear River had beaten its three opponents by a combined 36-1 to take the Area 2 title.
But Bear River just couldn’t matchup with the club it met over the weekend.
“This is by far the most-talented group of kids at this age that I’ve seen,” said Rocklin manager Tim Adams. “And they’ve done a lot of hard work on their own to get here.”
That talent was apparent not only at the plate, but also on the mound. Jake Faulkner was nearly flawless in racking up seven strikeouts in the four-inning shutout he threw Sunday. He kept opposing hitters off balance by mixing his fastball with offspeed pitches, which allowed only a pair of singles off the bats of Bear River’s Brandon Donley and Steven Ertola.
“Our kids saw more curve balls in the last two days than they’ve seen in their whole lives,” Sypnicki said. “The curve balls make their fastballs look even harder. And they already throw hard.”
Adams said his pitching talent appears to be just as deep as the bats in his lineup, saying he has four ace-quality throwers to turn to if Rocklin runs into trouble.
On Sunday, Bear River went with hard-throwing righthander Andrew Reiss, who was on the mound in the Area 2 title-clinching win over Penn Valley Thursday. Reiss was relieved by Anderson late in the contest.
Despite the disappointing end to their tournament campaign, Sypnicki said Bear River’s All-Stars can leave the diamond with pride in their hearts.
“They were one of the best and most dominant teams to come out of Area 2,” Sypnicki said. “They had a good run and they have nothing to hang their heads about.”
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