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Major power surge as Lakeside tops EDH South

Seven long balls in all-star slugfest
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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As the Little League District 54 Major division all-star tournament game between Lakeside and El Dorado Hills South played out Tuesday night at Hazel McFarland Park in Folsom, it was hard to tell when the game ended and the home run derby broke out. There are leagues all over the area in which seven home runs makes for a great season – for all of its teams combined – but there were that many round-trippers hit in this game alone. There was an eighth blast that was just as impressive, as a laser off the bat of Lakeside’s Nick Frank slid just outside the left field foul pole and crashed straight into the rear window of the car parked 20 feet beyond the fence. In the end, Lakeside out-homered EDH South four to three, but it was 14 other Lakeside hits along with the walks and errors that played a big role in the Granite Bay-based squad’s impressive 22-8 victory. El Dorado Hills starter Alex Chisick loaded the bases in the first, as he struggled with his control. The right-hander issued free passes to the first two Lakeside hitters before catcher Mitch Hart hit a flare down the right-field line to jam the sacks with no one out. In this stanza, Chisick was up the to the challenge as he rang up the next two hitters looking and got a ground ball to third to get back to the dugout unscathed. After Lakeside southpaw Connor Briare held EDH South scoreless in the home half of the first, his teammates put on their hitting shoes – in a big way. Matt Berry walked to open the Lakeside second, and then Grant Powers ripped a run-scoring double. Another base on balls preceded an RBI knock by Frank. Billy Rockefeller reached on a Chisick throwing error, followed immediately by a Hart two-run single. Two more run-scoring hits (a Zach Hall single and a Dylan Keeney two-bagger) followed as Lakeside tallied eight runs on five hits before a single out was recorded in the inning. Chisick did not survive the frame, as El Dorado Hills South made the first of many changes on the bump. Down 8-0, EDH took advantage of Briare’s strike-throwing issues in the bottom of the second. Briare hit the first batter in the inning and walked another hitter to set the table for shortstop Craig Holloway, who delivered the first of the game’s long balls, a three-run shot over the barrier in right-centerfield. Conner Schmutte whacked an RBI single before the second was complete as El Dorado Hills South cut the Lakeside lead in half. The Lakeside hit parade, however, was just beginning, and the big fly contest was on. Three of the first five batters in the top of the third left the yard. Frank was up first, leading off the inning with a home run. Following a Rockefeller base hit and a pitching change, it was Hart’s turn to take aim at the cars in the parking lot behind the centerfield fence. Zach Hall followed with a solo shot just two batters later as Lakeside answered the EDH four-spot with five of its own. After EDH South plated one run in the home half of the third, Lakeside responded with a pair in the fourth, providing a 15-5 advantage that put it on the verge of a four-inning 10-run mercy rule victory. Schmutte did not get that memo, however, as he hit a frozen rope over the wall to lead off the fourth, ensuring that the contest would be extended. Neither team tallied in the fifth, allowing the players and spectators to catch their breath. The fifth did include a couple moments of exhilaration, courtesy Lakeside’s Frank. His bullet off the windshield was followed by a blast to the wall in center, but he was gunned out at third base trying to extend his double by an extra 60 feet. A sequence of hard-hit balls at the El Dorado Hills shortstop, all of which were not turned into outs set up Lakeside to score seven more runs in the sixth inning, all with just three hits. Keeney singled in a run in the stanza, and Rockefeller put a fitting cap on Lakeside’s 22-run night with a two-run dinger. While his team did not win the game, Schmutte did manage to win the game’s side competition, as he blasted his second long ball of the contest in the bottom of the sixth. It was his third hit of the night, and gave him a total of four runs batted in. Hart (three hits, four RBIs); Frank (three hits, three RBIs); Hall (three hits, three RBIs) and Rockefeller (three hits, two RBIs) led the Lakeside offense and its 18-hit explosion. The loss guarantees that El Dorado Hills South’s all-star run will end with its final pool play game Thursday night against Snowline. Lakeside will play Roseville West Friday night in what amounts to a tune-up for both teams’ participation in next week’s double-elimination finals. Both clubs sit at 2-0 in Pool C, while EDH South and Snowline are both 0-2.