Little League playoff game bows out
TRACY — Summer vacation can officially begin for the Patterson Little League Major Division All-Star baseball team, which was eliminated from the District 67 Tournament for 11- and 12-year-olds on Tuesday, July 7.
Patterson, which won its first postseason game by defeating fellow second-season program Mountain House on July 5, ran into a formidable Tracy American team and fell 13-2.
While the team was disappointed, members were also thankful for an experience that they’ll never forget.
“We just really didn’t hit the ball at all today,” outfielder Jared Nothstein said. “But we came out here with only nine players and did our best.
“I think that we lost to a good team.”
After the loss, Patterson manager Jeff Gonzalez rounded up his team for one final postgame address.
“Everyone here should be very proud of themselves,” Gonzalez said. “We are the first (Little League) team from Patterson to win a postseason game, and that is an accomplishment in itself.”
Tracy struck early, capitalizing on several Patterson errors. Those defensive mishaps may have been the difference in the game, Gonzalez said.
“I really think that this was a winnable game for us,” he said. “I think that if we had a couple more innings, and if we could have shored up our defense, we could be talking about an upset win.”
Steven Schreppel ignited a four-run first inning for Tracy, slugging a two-run homer over the centerfield fence.
The damage could have been much worse, but Patterson centerfielder Roman Lopez made a diving snare, taking a hit from the opposition and helping pitcher Ernesto Huizar out of a bases-loaded jam.
“We know that we can play better than we did (defensively),” Lopez said. “We’ve gotten better, but there are still things that we need to work on.”
Tracy opened the floodgates in the second, spinning four hits and a handful of Patterson errors into eight more runs.
Nothstein got Patterson on the board in the third.
After drawing a one-out walk, Nothstein scurried to second base on a Lopez sacrifice, later advancing to third on a wild pitch. The diminutive outfielder induced a rundown, barely beating the throw home for Patterson’s first run.
“That’s something that we’ve done all season,” Nothstein said. “We worked on (that play) at practice. It usually works.”
Tracy pitcher Gabe Chavez kept Patterson off-kilter, however, tossing 59 pitches in four innings of work and allowing just one hit.
Trailing 13-1 after three, Patterson’s Aaron Gonzalez hammered a triple to right, missing a homer by about three feet.
Gonzalez proceeded to force another pickle, outrunning Chavez to the plate for Patterson’s second run.
“We tried our best and we had fun,” Aaron Gonzalez said. “They were just better than us today.”
Patterson took solace in the newness of its program. By contrast, Tracy American is celebrating its 20th season of Little League baseball.
“This was a good start for us,” Jeff Gonzalez said. “With more time and more practice, these guys are going to be a lot better.”
• Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.