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Tom Baldwin
3 weeks ago

Fresh off their dominant TOC performance, the Amador West Juniors All-Star team rolled into the District 15 All-Star Tournament on Tuesday with confidence and a head of steam. They didn’t let the fact that their opponent was a tough Bret Harte All-Star team comprised of the best players from three Angels Camp and Murphys squads, while Amador West's team was made up of only one team.

Starting pitcher Noah Skelly got out of a difficult first inning unscathed, and in the bottom of the first, Mason Gold started things off with a sharp single. After a fly out, Adam Cranfill singled and Seth Tomczak walked, loading the bases for Sam Madrid, who singled, plating the first run of the ball game. With two on and 2 out, Johnny Larson stepped to the plate and found himself in an 0-2 hole. Unfortunately for the Bret Harte pitcher, the next pitch was up in the zone and Larson took advantage of the mistake, rocketing a double to left center, scoring Tomczak and Madrid, giving Amador West the early 3-0 lead. The Amador boys were not finished, as Seth Baldwin walked, bringing up Jaden Heinchel, who crushed another two-strike mistake to the centerfield wall, scoring Larson and Baldwin, increasing the Amador West lead to 5-0. The first inning featured nine batters, 2 walks, 5 hits and 5 runs. Things were looking pretty good for the West.

After that shaky first inning, Skelly settled in and blanked Bret Harte through 4 innings, compiling 5 strike outs and walking only 2 more batters. Despite numerous opportunities to blow the game open, Amador West was unable to score more than the initial 5 runs, hitting into 2 double plays and leaving runners on second and third with one out twice, and leaving the bases loaded with 0 outs. In the 5th inning, Foothill pushed across 2 runs, and two more in the 7th, to make it interesting, but closer Seth Tomczak shut the door on them, striking out the side in the last inning. Final score: Amador West, 5; Bret Harte, 4.

On Tuesday, the opponent was a Foothill team that had just beaten a solid Linden team to advance to the semifinals. Coach Tom Gold gave Sam Madrid the start, and he went 5 strong innings, giving up 3 runs and striking out 7. Once again, Amador West jumped out to an early lead, scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the first on hits by Gold, Skelly, Larson, Madrid and Cranfill. But this time, the first inning was not the only inning that they cashed in, as Baldwin hit a double in the third with runners on second and third, scoring both and increasing the lead to 6-0. They added 4 more in the fourth on singles by Gold, Larson, Tomczak and Baldwin, and the rout was on. The game was stopped after the fifth inning, per the 10-run rule, as Amador West added three more runs to make the score 13-3 by way of 4 walks and a “walk-off” single by Baldwin to seal it. Final score: Amador West, 13; Foothill, 3.

The Amador West team is now in the finals against the Linden All-Star team, which rallied late to beat Foothill on Wednesday. What may be the title game is being played Thursday afternoon, at 5 p.m., in Howard Park, in Ione. If Amador West wins, they are the champions. If they lose, they will play again tomorrow, at 9 a.m.

Copyright © 2014 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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