Tri-City falls just one win shy of reaching Little League World SeriesBy: Jim Linsdau
Playing five games in seven days at the West Region Tournament of the Little League World Series, time caught up with the Tri-City 10-12 All-Stars as they lost the championship game to Hawaii at Houghton Stadium in San Bernardino Saturday.
The team from Rocklin fell just one win short of being crowned West Regional Champions and reaching the Little League World Series.
Saturday – Hawaii 11, Tri-City 2
The boys from 3rd Street in Rocklin took an early 2-0 lead when Troy Ueltzen and Nathan Erickson raced home on a wild pitch in the first inning.
Ueltzen got on board via a walk, and Erickson doubled to move the pair into scoring position.
But Hawaii quickly came back with a two-run home run in the bottom of the frame to tie the score 2-2.
The contest appeared to settle into a pitcher’s duel, when both clubs went three-up and three-down in the second inning.
Erickson hit another double in the third inning but was left stranded on third base. Hawaii caught a big break in frame three, scoring on a passed ball for a 3-2 lead, and that was pretty much the ball game.
The boys from O’ahu then posted eight runs over the next two innings. Starting pitcher Aukai Kea then collected a dozen strikeouts on his way to an 11-2 victory.
Tanner Dykstra took over pitching in the fifth inning when Erickson reached his pitch-count limit.
Friday – Tri-City 11, Nevada 0
In a masterful performance on the mound, Tri-City’s Aiden Weissenberg-Frost led his team to a shutout over Nevada-Las Vegas in the semifinals Friday.
Weissenberg-Frost struck out five of the first six batters he faced before he and his teammates broke the game open with five runs in the third inning.
After laying down a perfect bunt to reach first base, Trajan Rogowski scored the winning run on Erickson’s RBI single. After that, Troy Ueltzen, Erickson, Weissenberg-Frost and Adam Van Der Kamp all scored for a 5-0 TCLL lead.
Weissenberg-Frost went 5 1/3 innings, striking out 11, surrendering three hits and just two base-on-balls.
Dykstra took over in the sixth inning when the powerful righthander reached 86 pitches.
Highlighting the hitting, Tyler Allen launched a moon shot in the fourth inning that left Nevada’s left-fielder standing and watching as the ball cleared the hedge behind the fence.
At the plate: Weissenberg-Frost (3-for-3, double, three runs, RBI), Gavin Correia (2-for-2), Rogowski (single, run), Ueltzen (double, three runs), Erickson (2-for-3, triple, two runs, two RBI), Van Der Kamp (single, run, RBI), Brady Cason (single, RBI), Allen (2-for-4, home run, four RBI) and Jonathan Vavak (single).