Sports

EDH 12s win Section

By From page A8 | July 26, 2017

ROSEVILLE — Mr. Goliath, meet little David. Or Nikolas to be more precise.

Nikolas Salcido, the diminutive second baseman for the El Dorado Hills All-Stars who bats out of the bottom of the order came up big Tuesday evening.

Salcido hit two 2-run homers, and Joe Carroll pitched four strong innings as the All-Stars rolled past West Sac 10-5 for the Section 4 tournament championship.

“Well, I’m kinda small, so they pitched the ball right down the middle to me, pounded the zone and it was easy for me to get hits with that,” said Salcido. “They were taking me for granted and I took advantage of it.”

With the victory, El Dorado Hills advances to the Nor Cal Divisions to play the winner of the Section 5 tournament in Alameda on Saturday evening.

Salcido finished the game hitting 2-for-3 with four RBIs, and Carroll gave up three runs on four hits, while striking out four and walking five on 86 total pitches. Carroll added a home run of his own, combining with Reese Catchings, Blake Jacobs and Carson Nichols for a total of six homers — three alone in a five-run third inning that opened up the game for the All-Stars.

“It’s one of those things where there’s a new hero every game or every week ,” said Coach Jim Bazor. “Nik last game was in a little funk, struck out a couple of times. Today I was watching him taking some BP (batting practice) and I felt pretty good about it, so I told him take your hacks today.”

The team went in with an aggressive mentality to plate, amassing a total of 13 hits to go along with the six long balls, while striking out 10 times and walking only once.

Carroll had a rough start, surrendering a leadoff homer to West Sac. When he returned to the mound in the second inning, he walked three batters, threw two wild pitches and a base hit on 30 pitches, but was fortunate enough to escape the inning giving up just one run to trail 0-2.

“Carroll pitched great, and he’s only 11-years-old, so he’s doing pretty good for his age,” Salcido said. “He’s a calm guy.”

With one out in the second he walked two batters and gave up a bunt single to load the bases. A passed ball allowed the runner from third to score, giving West Sac a 0-2 lead. After a second passed ball, the runner charged home, but Carroll alertly covered home, catching West Sac in a run-down for the third out.

At times Carroll appeared phased by questionable calls on pitches by the plate umpire, looking to his coach in the dugout with a struggled shoulder. His coach responded with words of support and reassurance, to “pitch with a smile on your face”.

“We haven’t had to pitch Carroll much through districts, we didn’t have to pitch him much when we started sections, but we obviously had to lean on him today,” said Coach Bazor. “And it was just a phenomenal job, he just comes out and fires in the zone. He gives up a leadoff home run, shakes it off and continues to grind out his 86 pitches.”

Carroll continued in the third, needing only 15 pitches to blank West Sac in the inning with two strikeouts.

In the bottom of the frame the El Dorado Hills offense gave Carroll and the rest of the pitching staff the run support they would need. Bryce Bazor walked and Salcido drove him home with his first shot of the game to tie the score at 2-2.

“Nik really stepped up today,” Jacobs said. “He hit two home runs and made some nice plays in the field. Our pitching was outstanding, five runs on the championship game against West Sac.”

Carroll followed with a long ball of his own for a 3-2 lead. The rally continued when Catchings singled and Jacobs hit the second 2-run homer of the inning for the All-Stars putting them firmly in the lead at 5-2.

Nicholas Salcido is congratulated by Blake Jacobs after he hit a 2-run homer in the third inning to tie the score 2-2 against West Sac in the Section 4 tournament championship. Democrat photo by Mark Studyvin.

West Sac rallied in the fourth, scoring a run on a walk and a pair of singles, but the stiffened to limit the damage and maintain the lead.

In the bottom of the fourth El Dorado Hills got the run back when Coach Bazor pinch hit Nichols, who responded with a solo shot.

“We just got ourselves pumped up, we really got motivated and we went up there looking for a good pitch to hit and we did it,” Nichols said. “I got a fastball right down the middle and I made the most of it.”

They added another run after Carroll was hit by a pitch and Catchings singled him home giving them a 7-3 lead.

“That’s one thing we’ve got is all 13 of these kids can hit and they can all put it over the fence at some time,” Coach Bazor said. “They’re all capable. Next guy can step up, pick everybody up and find a way to pass the stick to somebody else.”

West Sac brought in their hard-throwing relief pitcher to shutdown El Dorado Hills and keep the game within range. After Oseguera led off the inning with a single, the next two batters were set down swinging. Salcido took the first pitch from the fireballer and planted it into dead centerfield for a 9-3 advantage.

Catchings padded the lead with a solo shot in the sixth.

After the game, players and coaches talked about an aggressive plan at the plate, something they called the “yes-yes” approach.

“It’s just a mindset we take, said Coach Bazor. “Yes as an approach. Yes means we’re not going to be hesitant on anything we like. And we’re not going to second-guess any opportunity we have to pitch or hit or run. Yes-yes means we’re going to do it for each other.”

After the Section 4 tournament victory, the All-Stars advance to the Northern California Divisional Tournament against the Section 5 champions at Will C. Wood School in Alameda tomorrow.

Coach Bazor will go into Alameda with same game plan and aggressive approach at the plate, to win every inning, every pitch.

“I’m excited to see how much farther they can go, Coach Bazor said. “I’ve know these parents for a long time, and have worked with these kids for three or four years so it’s always been an attitude ‘we can do it, we can get to San Bernardino.’ Why not us, why can’t we win?”

 

Mark Studyvin

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