Lakeside Yankees ousted in junior TOC

Snowline scores five in sixth for win
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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The importance of pitching and defense to ultimate success on the baseball diamond was proven once again in Lakeside Little League’s 8-6 opening round loss in the District 54 junior division Tournament of Champions Wednesday night at Mahany Park. The Lakeside Yankees and Snowline A’s took center stage to open TOC play, as the initial contest in the single elimination junior tournament was the only game of the night. The outcome was ultimately determined when walks and Lakeside defensive mistakes paved the way for a five-run Snowline sixth inning. For the game, the Yankees out-hit Snowline five knocks to two, but the A’s made the most of what they had. Snowline got it going early, when Chris Swineford was hit by a pitch – the first of three times that he was plunked during this contest – and after stealing second and advancing to third on a passed ball, came in to score on a ground ball out. The only hit of the inning, a Johnny Creason single, chased home a second run. Swineford was strong on the hill as well, allowing just one hit and two base runners through the first three frames in maintaining a 2-0 advantage for his club. In the fourth, the Snowline brain trust did the Yankees a favor, removing its ace from the bump and opening the door for a Lakeside offensive eruption. Lakeside took a 3-2 lead in the top half of the fourth, tallying a trio of runs with just a single hit. The Yankees took advantage of walks to the first two hitters in the stanza, as both moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch before scoring on an error. Andy Zboralsk, who reached on that error, raced home with the go-ahead run on a Kevin Vas Dias two-bagger down the left field line. Lakeside posted another three-spot one inning later to take a 6-2 lead. Kyle Rogers walked to lead off the fifth, and then Joe Ellis banged his second hit of the game. With those two on and one out, the A’s went back to Swineford (junior division rules allow for a pitcher to come back to the mound once in a game as long as he has stayed on the field after being removed as pitcher), but Lakeside jumped on him. After a strikeout for out No. 2, Marc Ellis ripped a two-run single and then Zboralsk plated another run with a base hit. A walk, two stolen bases and an error allowed Snowline to cut into the lead with a single tally in the home half of the fifth, and then the roof caved in on Lakeside in the bottom of the sixth stanza. A leadoff single by Snowline’s Gage Raley was the only hit in the inning, but the A’s maximized that opportunity and turned it into five runs. Three walks and a hit batter followed, pulling Snowline to within one run at 6-5 and loading the bases with no one out. Lakeside manager Jon Ellis went to his son, Joe Ellis, looking for a way out, and the right-handed did all that he could to deliver. He induced a comebacker out of the first batter he faced, and got a force out at the dish. The next hitter also bounced the ball back to the Joe Ellis, and once again, a throw to the plate delivered the force out, but this time bad things followed. Catcher Ryan Corah attempted to complete the double play, but with the batter clearly running well outside of his lane, and inside the baseline, the Yankee receiver tried to throw the ball over his head to first, but saw the ball sail down the right field line. Two runs scored on the play, and the hitter, Kyle Ferguson, ended the play at third base. Joe Ellis fanned Matt Cathey, but strike three got away from his catcher, allowing Cathey to reach first base safely, as Ferguson raced across home plate with the game’s final tally. The Yankees were unable to mount any offense against Swineford over their final two times at bat, and took the loss, which ends their season. Snowline moves on to face Folsom National on Saturday. The junior division TOC continues tonight at Mahany as the host team, Woodcreek, faces Folsom American at 5 p.m. The major division TOC also gets out of the gate tonight with two games at Mahany and two at Folsom’s Kuntz Field. Woodcreek’s B team, the Angels, play in the 7:30 p.m. game at Mahany, following the debut performance of Lakeside’s B team, the Dodgers, who play at 5:30 p.m.