The Bears had to come through the losers bracket to face the Yankees on Thursday, and Salida’s 12-1 win Thursday forced a second game Friday in the double-elimination tournament.
Friday’s game was a close loss for the Yankees, who rebounded from the previous day’s loss to make the Bears work for their title win.
“These kids fought all year. There’s a lot of heart and a lot of soul on this team,” Yankees coach David Nunes said after Friday’s game. “They came in today and were focused, and they wanted to play.”
The Yankees faced strong pitching from Salida on both days, collecting three base hits Friday and two Thursday.
“We knew we were up for a big challenge, and the kids were up for it,” Nunes said. “We made a run at it but just couldn’t close the deal.”
The Yankees made their few hits count. Salida walked three batters in the third inning to load the bases for Kristein Reyes, who slammed the ball into deep left field for a bases-clearing double. Hayley Nunes got both of the Yankees’ hits on Thursday, including one that led to the Yankees only run that day.
The Yankees had been undefeated in the district tournament, including a 13-1 win over Spreckels Park on Monday, prior to Thursday’s game.
The Bears lost to Spreckels Park on Saturday but took three wins in a row against Northgate, Manteca and Spreckels Park to climb through the losers bracket.
Salida was the team that brought the most momentum into Thursday’s game. The Bears launched rallies in the second and third innings to take an 8-0 lead and scored four more in the fifth.
The Bears’ pitchers, Caleb Ernst and Tyler Vandermark, also delivered nine strikeouts against the Yankees batters and allowed only two hits Thursday.
The two base hits from Nunes included a leadoff hit in the first, which bounced over the left-field fence for a ground-rule double. She made it as far as third base but didn’t score.
In the fourth inning, she led off again with a base hit. This time, teammate Kristein Reyes reached on a fielder’s choice — a missed throw to try to catch Nunes at second allowed her to take third. The Yankees then pulled off a double steal, and Nunes stole home when the Bears went for the play at second.
On Friday, the Bears took a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
The Yankees made their comeback in the third on Reyes’ three-RBI double, but the lead was short-lived as the Bears scored two in the fourth.
Daniel Sandoval hit a double for the Bears in the fifth but was tagged out when he strayed too far from the bag. Jacob Boren also got a base hit in the fifth.
Little League play continues today when the Juniors begin the District 67 All-Star tournament at Salida Elementary School. The Tracy American team faces Patterson at 2:30 p.m., and Tracy National plays Spreckels Park at 5:30 p.m. in the first round.
Tournaments continue July 4 when Tracy Little League hosts the District 67 Majors All-Star tournament at Jefferson School. Ten all-star teams, including two from Tracy Little League and one from Mountain House Little League, will compete for the district title and a chance to compete in the Section 3 tournament.
Tracy Little League also has two teams in the seven-team 10-11 all-star tournament in Salida, also starting on July 4, and four more teams in the 9-10 all-star tournament hosted by Spreckels Park Little League at Elliott School in Manteca starting July 4. That tournament has 12 teams in all, including a team from Mountain House Little League.