North Scottsdale leads all others at District 6 Little League Tournament

Arcadia's Caél Herrera at bat during games played Monday, June 29 at Scottsdale Ranch Park. (Independent Newsmedia/Terrance Thornton)

Arcadia’s Caél Herrera at bat during games played Monday, June 29 at Scottsdale Ranch Park. (Independent Newsmedia/Justin Maskulinski)

The second day of the District 6 Little League Tournament saw three games, two which ended by mercy-rule.

The winners on Monday night were Arcadia, North Scottsdale and McDowell Mountain.

The standings are shaping up as more games are played, and North Scottsdale leads the way at 2-0. Arcadia’s off day was Monday, so it has a chance to tie for the lead tomorrow night.

East Scottsdale (0-2) is at the bottom of the standings. Just above East Scottsdale is McCormick Ranch (0-1), which had Monday off.

In the middle of the pack are host Mountain View, Fountain Hills and McDowell Mountain, all sitting at 1-1.

Game 1: Arcadia 12, Fountain Hills 1

Arcadia won its first game of the tournament, run-ruling Fountain Hills 12-1 in five innings.

Arcadia’s starting pitcher, Nathan Pankow, had a strong outing pitching three innings and only allowing one run. The bats were alive for the team in red, as Arcadia piled on the runs after trailing 1-0 at the end of the first inning.

Arcadia was up 4-1 in the top of the third inning when shortstop Crew Edwards stepped up to the plate and sent a three-run homerun to left-center field to put his team up 7-1.

Crew said it felt good to hit the home run.

“The home run helped the team gain momentum,” he said.

Crew was not the only Arcadia player swinging the bat well on Monday night. First baseman Scotty Wheeler smacked two grounders into center field which led to a double and single in the win.

Fountain Hills was led by second baseman Tyler Grieco, who scored the only run and went 2-2 on the night with one single and one double.

Arcadia will play four games in four days after having its off-day on Sunday.

“We don’t have an off-day in the week so that is probably a disadvantage,” Crew said. “The advantage is that we got to see everybody play yesterday.”

Arcadia manager Jeff Wasson says there are positives and negatives to having the off-day on Sunday.

“It was nice to see everyone else play on Sunday,” Mr. Wasson said. “It was nice that our top pitching could go today, but we don’t have an off-day in the middle of the week. It’s good and bad, but more good than bad.”

At the end of the day, Arcadia walked away victorious and that made its manager happy.

“It’s huge for us to start off the tournament with a win,” Mr. Wasson said. “It takes a little bit of pressure off moving forward.”

Arcadia will have a chance to move into to a tie for first place on Tuesday as it takes on McCormick Ranch while North Scottsdale is idle.

Mountain View's Jackson Bush pitching to North Scottsdale's Easton Lay during games played Monday, June 29 at Scottsdale Ranch Park. (Independent Newsmedia/Justin Maskulinski)

Mountain View’s Jackson Bush pitching to North Scottsdale’s Easton Lay during games played Monday, June 29 at Scottsdale Ranch Park. (Independent Newsmedia/Justin Maskulinski)

Game 2: North Scottsdale 9, Mountain View 4

North Scottsdale took a lead in the first inning and did not look back, despite the comeback effort from Mountain View.

After one inning, North Scottsdale led 3-1 thanks to some hitting from Tony Clifford and Monty Gibson, and then the lead was increased to 6-1 after two innings.

Mountain View came back within two runs in the third inning thanks to the bat of Brett Vodegel, which hit a three-run home run that scored Max Weinmeister and Brendan Flaherty.

The fourth inning was scoreless on both sides, so the score remained 6-4 in favor of North Scottsdale heading into the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, North Scottsdale pulled away thanks to a three-run, inside-the-park homerun from Sebastian Mentis.

“I didn’t know if the right fielder would get it,” Sebastian said of his hit that went straight down the right foul line. “I just listened to my third base coach and he waved me on.”

In the sixth inning it was Ryan Klotnia’s turn to be clutch for North Scottsdale. He came in to pitch and prevent a Mountain View rally.

Not only did he prevent a rally from starting, he struck out the side to end the game.
Ryan, who admitted he was nervous heading into the situation, said he just stayed focused on the game.

“I was thinking about getting ground balls,” Ryan said. “I focused on controlling my breathing on the mound, too.”

North Scottsdale now sits alone atop the standings at 2-0, and Sebastian says that is a step in the right direction.

“It’s really important because we want to get out of pool play and make it to the state tournament,” Sebastian said.

Game 3: McDowell Mountain 12, East Scottsdale 0

Monday’s third and final game saw one team get its first win of the tournament and another team suffer a tough, run-rule loss for the second day in a row.

McDowell Mountain manager Mark Sever says the four inning game will help his team moving forward.

“It’s great for our pitchers — that’s really the best thing,” Mr. Sever said. “It saves pitching and we’ve got a day off, so we couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

McDowell Mountain piled on the runs early and often, as the lead after two innings had climbed to 6-0. After three innings, the score was 12-0.

“It’s a team of hitters,” Mr. Sever said. “There’s five of them that were on my regular season team and they are great hitters. Everybody rallies behind each other.”

For East Scottsdale, it was the second game in a row in which they were run-ruled in four innings.

East Scottsdale manager Carmen Simpson says she tells her team to keep their heads up and have fun.

“That’s what baseball is all about,” Ms. Simpson said. “We get to see grown men making millions of dollars playing it, but they’re having fun. They’re enjoying the game. Like I said to the boys — you’re not going to remember all of these losses you’ve had in twenty years, but you’re going to remember the experience of playing and having fun and enjoying it.”

Scottsdale Independent Sports Correspondent Justin Maskulinski can be contacted at jmaskulinski@newszap.com. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/Maskulinski.

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