The El Dorado Hills Little League 9-10 All-Stars represented the league and the town quite well at the Section 4 Tournament held in Nevada City.
The team split its four games; ironically beating Rio Linda twice and losing to Land Park twice, as the team placed third out of the five teams in the tournament.
The EDH All-Stars opened the tournament Thursday with a 16-11 win over Rio Linda. EDH scored six runs in the first inning and looked like they would roll to an easy win, but Rio Linda chipped away and came back to make it 8-6 after four innings. EDH answered immediately with five runs in the top of the fifth and added three more in the sixth to put the game away.
Rio Linda rallied for five runs of its own in the bottom of the sixth before EDH managed to get the final out to end the game.
EDH finished the game with 10 hits, two each by Brody Rodenspiel, Chase Fontana, Alekx Bentley and Evan Carson. Rodenspiel had a huge game with a double and triple and five RBIs. Fontana drove in two runs, while Bentley doubled and knocked in a run. Carson also had a double. Jack Walker singled and drove in three runs. Noah Teply singled and knocked in a run, while Jonah Copley was hit by a pitch three times and also picked up an RBI.
EDH benefited greatly from seven hit batters and seven walks from Rio Linda pitching.
Defensively, EDH was solid in the outfield with outstanding diving catches from Rodenspiel in center field and Hudson King in right. Walker also made a nice catch in left field with the sun right in his eyes.
EDH used five pitchers in the game, more than Manager Jon Rodenspiel had wanted to use. Brody Timms was the fourth pitcher used, but went the longest, as he pitched 2 1/3 innings. King threw 1 2/3 innings, while starting pitcher Mateo Reynolds went 1 1/3 innings. Carson came in to relieve Timms to get the last two outs of the game.
“We struggled throwing strikes with a tight strike zone and threw double the amount of pitchers we wanted to,” Rodenspiel said. “We threw more pitchers in this game than we threw in the entire district tournament. We’re going to be stretched a bit, but I think we’re still good pitching wise. We hit the ball super well, though, and made some amazing defensive plays in the outfield.”
On Friday, EDH found the going tough against Land Park and lost a 10-0 game, a game in which they managed only two hits. They rebounded against Rio Linda on Saturday in a 13-6 victory. Carson had a big game for the team with four RBIs, while Timms and Walker each knocked in two runs. Copley, Teply and Rodenspiel each had two hits in the win. Reynolds pitched 3 1/3 innings, while Bentley finished with four strikeouts.
In the team’s final game of the tournament on Sunday, a 9-2 loss to Land Park, EDH trailed 9-0 heading into the final inning before finally scoring its only two runs of the game. Up to that point, EDH only had four hits; two by Timms and one each by Andrew El Guindy and Copley.
In the top of the sixth, Bentley singled and scored on an error. Later, Teply had an RBI single to score Rodenspiel for the team’s final run. EDH finished with two runs on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Land Park, meanwhile, scored nine runs on 12 hits with seven walks and five strikeouts. Land Park scored three runs in each of the first two innings and the lead was never in jeopardy.
“They threw a lot of strikes, but they also played really good defense,” Rodenspiel said. “We didn’t throw as many strikes tonight, especially early on. We expected to win this tournament, but the difference was they threw more strikes than we did. The pressure we put on teams during the district tournament, that pressure was put on us in this tournament and we didn’t respond as we would have liked.”
After the game, Rodenspiel told the team that he enjoyed coaching them during the fun all-star experience and hoped to do it again. He also talked to them about working hard and getting better.
“If this group stays together and keeps working hard and improves, I think they have a chance to go to Cooperstown in two years,” Rodenspiel said.