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July 24, 2007 > Tri- City titans clash in sectional playoffs

Tri- City titans clash in sectional playoffs

By Geoff Stanford

Thursday, July 19th, the District 45 champs, Union City National Little League (UCNLL), squared off with the District 14 champs, Niles Centerville in San Ramon. Both teams have been defined by their outstanding pitching and potent offenses and this game would not disappoint.

Niles Centerville sent big lefty, Jay Jacobs to the mound, while big right hander, Alex Maldonado took the hill for Union City. Maldonado shut down Niles in the top of the first, and then helped his own cause with a two run blast in the bottom of the frame, following a ringing single to left by Nick Martinez and Union City jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

Maldonado again sat Niles down in the second inning, before Union City erupted for three runs in the bottom of the second, stringing together five hits and extending the lead to 5-0.

In the top of the third inning, Niles broke through against Maldonado when Tyler McAdory roped a one-out double and was chased home with a two out RBI single by Pierce Romero. The top of the fourth inning saw Jay Jacobs help his own cause by shooting a double to the right-centerfield gap. Andrew Llanos' single to left pushed him over to third and a sac-fly brought in the second Niles run, cutting the Union City lead to 5-2.

In the bottom of the fourth, a solo blast by Cesar Jimenez of Union City stretched the lead to 6-2 and the game had seen its final run. Aside from a few big hits, the pitching match-up of Maldonado vs. Jacobs was all it was cracked up to be. Jacobs went four plus innings, striking out 3 and giving up 5 runs, not all of them earned. Maldonado pitched a complete game striking out 5 and giving up only 2 runs.

Some amazing defense up the middle by Union City must also be recognized, as second baseman Nick Martinez and shortstop Anthony Corrales made one amazing play after another behind Maldonado. They made all of the routine plays and even some that were anything but routine to keep Niles from gaining any momentum.

For NCLL, it meant they would have to advance through loser's bracket play where
they met Hillsborough Little League in the next round. Hillsborough handed them their second
loss of the Sectionals, 8-3, which meant the players from Niles-Centerville Juniors saw their season come to an end.

Meanwhile, Union City National moved on to the third round of the winner's bracket and met Tracy National Little League. They quickly found themselves moving to the loser's bracket as TNLL pounded them 19-8 in a game called after five innings because of the ten-run mercy rule. In the loser's bracket UCN played Danville on Sunday, 22nd, with the winner having to defeat Tracy National twice to advance to the California Division 2 (NorCal) tournament starting this Thursday, 26th, at 5:30 p.m.

The host for the NorCal Majors (11-12 year olds) tournament will be District 45, San Leandro Little League, and is located at 1602 Grant Avenue in San Leandro. Results of Section 3 games played this past Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, if necessary, 22nd-24th, were unavailable at press time. For more information on the games check web site, "Northern California Little League".

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