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Late heroics again as Maidu Giants top EDH South Angels

Nichols, Monsour star in TOC win
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Twenty-three runs, 22 hits and a decisive run in the home half of the sixth inning – the game between the Maidu Giants and the El Dorado Hills South Angels in the Little League District 54 major division Tournament of Champions had it all. After all of that offense, the game may well have been decided when Maidu left-hander Jacob Monsour came out of the bullpen to shut down the powerful Angels down the stretch, allowing his team to come from behind for the win 12-11 win. “Jacob really stepped up for his team as our options were quite limited at this point due to pitch count rules,” said Maidu manager Chris Nichols. “He battled each and every pitch until the final out in the sixth.” Both teams scored single runs in the first before hanging large crooked numbers in the second stanza. A Kalin Cooper home run was the big blow as El Dorado Hills South put up five in the top of the second, but Maidu did them one better, scoring six runs on four hits, including a two-run jack off the bat of Nolan Murphy. Hits by Nick Torres, Michael Dennin and Ryan Sullivan were also part of the EDH second, while Sam Nichols, Michael Birch and Jake Rodriques all delivered hits in the Maidu second. The Giants extended their advantage to 9-6 with two more in the third as Nichols and Wyatt Salinas provided the hits, but the Angels strung together five hits to plate five runs in the fourth frame, taking a two-run advantage. The spotlight was temporarily stolen by Angel third baseman Austin Ramsey, who took complete control of the fourth frame. His bases-loaded two-bagger cleared the bags in the top half, and his diving grab of a rocket off the bat of Josh Bamford kept Maidu from scoring more than one run in the home half. Monsour made his entrance with one out in that inning, and after allowing a run-scoring single to the first batter he faced, he did not allow another hit through 2-2/3 innings of work. While the lefty did his job on the bump, his team worked its way back into the game, scoring once each in the final three stanzas to take the one-run win. Nichols singled and scored on a Birch sacrifice fly in the fifth and then solidified his hero status in the Giants’ final at-bat. Chase Hawkins opened the sixth with a base hit and advanced to second when the ball got away from the centerfielder. Hawkins moved within 60 feet of victory on a wild pitch, but after a strikeout, Angels’ right fielder Blake Persijn, playing in close to cut down the run, snared Nick Marakas’ liner down the line, and Hawkins was unable to tag and score. The capper came with two outs, when Sam Nichols closed out a 4-for-4 night with a single down the right field line that scored Chase Hawkins with the game-winner. Persijn made an amazing effort to get there, but this time he was a few inches short and the Angels season came to an end. “We laid it all on the line this evening and the boys continually came up big for each other offensively and defensively,” Chris Nichols said. “If ever there was a pure team victory, this was one tonight.” Maidu is back in Folsom tonight for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Woodcreek Dodgers. This Giants/Dodgers battle will determine the winner of the Kuntz Field bracket of the major TOC, and that team will move on to the district title game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mahany Park.