Rocklin holds off Lincoln in 11-year-old semifinal

Tri-City up next for Rocklin all-stars
By: Robbie Enos, News Messenger Correspondent
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In a solid duel between rival leagues, the Rocklin Little League 11-year old all-stars defeated their counterparts from Lincoln in a 6-3 semifinal. Several Rocklin players contributed to a sharp offense in the District 11 tournament battle Tuesday at Rocklin’s Springview Park. Rocklin shortstop Andrew Turner had a night to remember, hitting a single and notching two doubles to go with three RBIs. “My plate approach today was to just get base hits,” Turner said after the game. “That was pretty much my plan. I just love playing baseball. That has been my favorite part of the year.” Also showing impressive skill sets for Rocklin were starting pitcher Ross Strider and second baseman Keith Walker. Strider threw 4 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and homered in the sixth. Walker singled and doubled with a run scored and RBI. Despite the loss, Lincoln manager Rob Higgins had a positive outlook on the year. “You know the best part of the season is when these boys all came together from different teams and they didn’t blend totally,” Higgins said. “About two days before this tournament started they really started coming together and started giving each other positive reinforcement. They became united and their chemistry was great and I think it really showed in those first few games.” Lincoln started the game strong, when Alex Rose blasted a leadoff home run to center field. Starting pitcher Kyle Lowe allowed only one base runner through the first two innings, but Rocklin got on board in the third. An error by Lincoln shortstop Eli Garcia allowed Mike Nolan to get on base. Nolan advanced to second on a passed ball, and then scored when Walker singled. Turner brought Walker home with a double to right-center to take the lead. Lincoln snagged the lead back in the third when Josh Clark hit an infield single and then advanced to third. Garcia singled through the left side with two outs to bring Clark home. Garcia took second on a passed ball, and then Alex Isola batted him in with a double to left-center. Lowe and Strider allowed no base runners in the fourth inning, but this set up a wild fifth. Hunter Aroz led off Rocklin’s half of the fifth with a triple to left-center. Walker clubbed a double to even up the score. After a Wyatt Walsh walk, Turner pounded a two-run double. Strider allowed a leadoff single to Lincoln’s Tanner Rhodes in the fifth, but allowed no runs to score. With Isola on to pitch in the sixth, Strider blasted his leadoff home run to center field, putting Lincoln away for good. Coach Higgins cited base running as the main cause of the loss. In the sixth Isola tried to take third on a wild pitch, but catcher Adam Caron got a good bounce off the wall and fired a shot to third to for the out. “We could’ve probably been a little more cautious on the bases,” Higgins said. “We probably could’ve been a little more disciplined in the box too, but for the most part I think the kids hit like they should and swung at good pitches.” Rocklin will play Tri-City in the final on Wednesday at 7 p.m. In round three, Tri-City got the best of them 19-1. Rocklin looks to come up with a big win when it’s all on the line. “I’m very excited to be moving on to the next round,” Turner said. “I’m ready to get back at Tri-City.”