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June 29, 2010 > Newark American Indians win Junior TOC

Newark American Indians win Junior TOC

By Nick Zambrano

The road to get to the championship round of the Juniors Tournament of Champions wasn't the straight road that the Newark American Indians had hoped for. Prior to Friday's (June 25) game, the Indians - led by manager Larry Duncan - won their last two games by one-run margins.

In their first round match-up on Monday, June 21, the Indians barely squeaked by the representatives from Mission San Jose Little League, 10-9. Following that victory, the boys from Newark American had another nail-biter, this time escaping, 7-6, against the rival Giants of Newark National.

However in Friday's finale, the Indians had a bit more breathing room as they disposed of the Niles-Centerville Giants, 9-3.

Cameron Charron helped enable the Indians' victory with his performance on the hill. The pesky right hander went six innings strong with five strikeouts; he also held a loaded NCLL lineup to just five hits. His starting counterpart Nick Lawrence lasted just three innings.

In their semifinal game with the Warm Springs Little League Giants, Niles-Centerville had won a offensive shoot-out, 15-11. Against these other Giants, NCLL jumped out early with a five-run cushion, after that they averaged two runs per inning. Ironically, NCLL had won their first round contest against Centerville American, 9-3. Run production for them was never an issue throughout the tournament until they played the Indians.

At the dish, the Indians got their spark from shortstop Joe Sanchez and center fielder Chris Altamedo. Altamedo was 2-3 with a run scored, the hard-hitting Sanchez had a triple and sacrifice fly to go along with four runs batted in and a run scored.

The Indians struck first in the home half of the second inning. With the bases loaded, Zach Plavonic knocked in the game's first run with his fielder's choice. Sanchez cleared the bases right after Plavonic with his triple. After batting around the order, Newark capped off the second with a staggering 5-0 lead.

The Giants responded in the top of the third when Kyle Reddit scored on Andrew Llanos' fielder's choice to make it 5-1.

After scoring another two in the fourth, another big scoring opportunity presented itself to the Indians. With the two outs, Sanchez stepped into the box with the bases loaded with the anticipation of really opening the game up. The charismatic shortstop took a pitch and launched it to deep center, a sure bet for putting more runs on the board. Unfortunately for Sanchez, that's where Latrell Harris patrols. The Giants' shifty leadoff hitter made a miraculous diving catch. A roar came over the Giants' fans in the bleachers but more notably was the big sigh of relief from inside the NCLL dugout.

Now facing a 7-1 deficit, the Giants were desperate to muster up some runs.

Harris got things rolling with a walk on a full count, he then immediately stole second to get himself into scoring position for the heart of the NCLL lineup. After another walk to Lawrence and an error by Plavonic gave Lllanos first base, it was time for Marciano Reichal to come up huge. And he did, Reichal singled down the first base line to score Harris and Lawrence, who brought the score to 7-3. Despite their valiant efforts, Charron rebounded quickly and struck out the next two hitters to end the inning.

Before it was all said in done, Newark added two more insurance runs. Daniel Pineda scored on a heads-up base running play after a walk to Davey Duncan. Duncan would score the game's final run on a sacrifice fly.

After six impressive innings, Charron handed the ball over to Sanchez to try to close out the game. Sanchez threw a 1-2-3 inning to seal the deal for Newark. After Sanchez struck out the final batter, he was rushed by his teammates in front of the plate and the celebration began with music blaring the field speakers.

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