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Maidu Juniors deliver in must-win battle against EDH North

Coggeshall comes up big in victory
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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It took a while for Maidu Little League’s Junior division all-star team to get going, but once it did, it used an eight-run fourth frame to put away El Dorado Hills North in a must-win game in the District 54 tournament at Union Mine High School in El Dorado. With pool play in place this season for the first time, these two squads entered the contest at 1-1 in Pool C, with the group’s second and last spot in the six-team double-elimination finals going to the winner, while the loser would see the end of its all-star run. With four runs in the sixth to go with the huge fourth, Maidu put away EDH North 13-3 in six innings by way of the 10-run mercy rule. Logan Coggeshall got Maidu on the board first with a run in the opening stanza. The catcher singled to left, and then raced around to third as the ball squirted past the EDH left fielder for a two-base error. A passed ball allowed Coggeshall to score the game’s initial run. Maidu’s Kyle Mott and El Dorado Hills’ Saxon Elkins went toe-to-toe as the starting pitchers, as EDH picked up hits in the second and third innings, but neither team was able to score further until the Maidu half of the fourth. An error on the El Dorado Hill North third baseman opened the door for the eight-run outburst, as Maidu took advantage of three miscues in the inning. Walks and a balk also played a role, which featured five Maidu hits – singles by Tino Loconte, Robert Walton and Kyle Sprague, and doubles by Coggeshall and Dalton deVries. After the difficult inning on the bump, Elkins took out his frustration on the baseball. Maidu went to Coggeshall out of the bullpen to open the fourth, and the EDH hurler greeted him with a monster blast to left field for a home run. After a strikeout, a walk and a single by Connor Frey, Maidu went back to Mott on the hill. With D.T Savas at the plate, during El Dorado Hills North’s best chance to get back in the game, Teagan Elkins broke for third and had it easily stolen as no one was covering the bag for Maidu. Inexplicably, the umpire called Savas for interference as he had moved outside the batter’s box and, in the judgment of the umpire, into the path of Coggeshall’s attempt to make a throw. With the base unoccupied by a Maidu fielder, the call seemed extreme, but it ended any hope of an EDH threat. Mott allowed single runs in the fifth and sixth, but avoided even the hint of a big inning, and once Saxon Elkins ran out of pitches, sending EDH into its relief pitching, Maidu’s bats exploded. A three-bagger by Coggeshall followed by back-to-back doubles from James Lunardelli and Kyle Sprague were the key blows in the sixth as Maidu iced the game away. With the win, Maidu joins Woodcreek, Lakeside, Folsom American, El Dorado Hills South and Ponderosa in the double-elimination finals that get going on Monday. The six managers will meet Sunday evening to draw for positions in the final tourney bracket.