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Small-ball Roseville West tops powerful EDH South in Major all-star play

Downie outpitches Sullivan in all-star opener
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Ace left-hander Kyle Downie survived two pitching mistakes as he battled an outstanding El Dorado Hills South team through 5-1/3 innings as his Roseville West Major all-stars took game one in the District 54 Little League all-star tournament Saturday at McFarland Park in Folsom. With the new pool play format putting a premium on winning early, the 7-6 victory was big news for Roseville West, as it came over one a team that is traditionally one of the most talented in the field. In a group that also includes powerful Lakeside, with just two teams set to survive pool play, the win puts Roseville West in a position of strength. After Roseville West went small-ball in the top half of the first to take a 2-0 advantage, the tide quickly turned for EDH South. Downie and shortstop Chris Anderson opened the game with back-to-back bunt hits, and then scored (Downie on a passed ball and Anderson on a sacrifice fly). EDH South took full advantage of opportunities that came its way. Its first two batters reached on errors at second base, two of the seven miscues committed by Roseville West, and then Ryan Sullivan blasted the first Downie mistake over the barrier for a three-run blast. “Kyle Downie pitched a great game and had 10 strikeouts,” said Roseville West manager Dave Grashoff. “He was hurt by seven errors in the field, but we were able to hang on.” Roseville West banged out a total of 10 hits, and scored single runs in each inning the rest of the way in building a 6-3 and then 7-4 lead before some late heroics nearly snatched the contest for El Dorado Hills. Downie, Matt Razzano and Ian Codina each had two hits for Roseville West, which had no extra-base hits in its final total. “Adam Erickson had a key base hit in the top of the sixth to extend our lead to 7-4,” Grashoff said. Despite the seven errors, Roseville West had some defensive bright spots as well, as reserve second baseman Logan Ash came in to deliver a pair of spectacular catches in the third, and Codina made a nice running catch in foul ground to shut down a two-base runner situation in the fourth. Sullivan, the EDH South starter, managed to stay mostly away from the fat part of the Roseville West bats, but Grashoff’s group did just enough, especially in the clutch to gain the upper hand. With a three-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, Downie hit leadoff hitter Tanner Austin with a pitch, and then after a strikeout, watched as his second big miss was banged out of the yard by Daniel Connor to narrow the margin to just a single run. The long ball chased Downie and Grashoff summoned Codina to close things out. The first pitch from the right-hander was lashed down the left-field line, with just enough height to clear the fence, but Connor Schmutte’s laser was foul by inches. The EDH South third baseman then singled and moved to second, where he carried the tying run. Sullivan followed with a towering fly ball to deep left field that was caught within a few feet of the barrier to preserve the thinnest of advantages. Codina then proceeded to strike out slugger Alex Chisick, looking, to seal the win for Roseville West. El Dorado Hills South (0-1 in Pool C) now must win against Lakeside (1-0) in Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. contest to keep its hopes alive of advancing to the double-elimination finals. Roseville West (1-0) faces Snowline (0-1) at 5 p.m. Tuesday before it faces Lakeside Friday night at 5 p.m. with two spots in the finals on the line.