Maidu speeds into second round of junior TOC

By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Speed on the base paths was key as the Maidu Royals jumped to an early lead in Friday night first round action at the Little League District 54 junior division Tournament of Champions at Mahany Park. Maidu tallied five times in the first two innings to build the groundwork for a 6-3 win over the Rays from El Dorado Hills South. Robert Walton opened the game with a base hit, and them promptly swiped a pair of bags to get himself in position to score on a groundout. James Lunardelli also stole second and third in the opening stanza before scoring on an error to give Maidu a 2-0 lead after one. The Royals posted another crooked number in the second, increasing their margin to 5-0 before El Dorado Hills South went to the bullpen, bringing in Tyler Jennings to slow the Maidu offensive juggernaut. Jennings kept his team in the game the rest of the way, but Maidu’s pitching did enough to get the job done. Solid pitching took care of business the rest of the way, despite some rocky moments with control, as Logan Coggeshall, Kyle Mott and Jared Walbert held El Dorado Hills South to just three singles on the night. Mott inherited a mess in the fifth, but got the big outs to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam, and Walbert was spectacular in his closer role, as he fanned all four hitters that he faced. Lunardelli had a pair of doubles among his three hits, while Walton and Walbert each banged out two hits for Maidu. The win in the single elimination tourney advances Maidu to a 7 p.m. game Saturday night against El Dorado Hills North in the single elimination tourney.