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EDH South tops Maidu Rays in battle of power pitchers

Zanolli HR big bright spot for Maidu A team
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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The Maidu Little League major division A team in the Little League District 54 Tournament of Champions, the Rays, got some big first-inning pop on a Joseph Zanolli home run, but was unable to hold on, losing a 7-2 decision to the Dodgers from El Dorado Hills South. In the game, played Friday night at Mahany Park, Maidu managed just two hits during hard-throwing Alex Chisick’s four innings of work, with the Zanolli long ball providing the only early scoring. Tim Wieser was impressive on the hill for Maidu, but caught a couple of bad breaks. He yielded three runs in the home half of the second, a rally that began with a bad-hop single by Zach Closson, when the ball bounced over the head of his second baseman. The first of Jacob Hall’s three singles of the contest followed, and then Sheldon Binicewicz was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out. A wild pitch scored Closson to even the score, and after Wieser used a pair of strikeouts to reach the brink of escape, El Dorado Hills scored two more runs. A ground ball to the hole was picked nicely by shortstop Cedric Johnson, but as Kelly Conner beat the play out for an infield single to allowed one run to score, the throw got away at first base and allowed an additional tally. The Dodgers expanded their advantage in the home half of the third on a leadoff long ball by Tanner Austin, and then Maidu had its best opportunities in the fourth and fifth frames. A Wieser single and a hit-by-pitch gave the Rays a pair of base runners in the fourth, but Chisick mixed in three strikeouts to escape any damage. Chisick recorded 11 of his 12 outs by way of the strikeout, while Wieser fanned nine in 4-2/3 innings of work. The Dodgers scored a pair of unearned runs in the fourth to cushion the advantage, as Hall and Binicewicz, who had singled to open the stanza, crossed home plate after a Chris Stewart fly ball was misplayed in center field. Leading 6-1, El Dorado Hills South went to the bullpen with nearly disastrous results. The Rays jammed the bags against Austin with a Cole Rodgers walk, an Ivan Moreno single and a walk to Zanolli. The one out Austin did record was a rocket by Johnson that was snared by Kelly Conner at first base. Closson got the call to pitch out of the jam, and promptly walked Wieser to force in a run before getting a strikeout and a pop out to escape further harm and leave the count at 6-2. A towering fly ball by Chisick in the fifth somehow stayed in the yard, but found turf in left field for a triple, and after Hall banged a two-out single, the Dodgers had a 7-2 lead. Zanolli came on to record the final out by strikeout, but Maidu was unable to score in the sixth, ending its season and moving El Dorado Hills South on to round two. The Dodgers face the B team, the A’s, from Roseville West Saturday at 4 p.m. at Mahany.