Klotnia tosses no-hitter in final day of pool play at District 6 Little League Tournament

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Spencer Thomas (McCormick Ranch) prepares to lay down a bunt against Ethan Clanton (McDowell Mountain) at the District 6 Little League Tournament. (Independent Newsmedia/Justin Maskulinski)

North Scottsdale’s Ryan Klotnia stole the show on the last day of pool play in the Arizona District 6 Little League Tournament as he threw a no-hitter for his team and secured a 4-0 record.

McCormick Ranch (2-2) and Arcadia (4-0) also won on Thursday night, while McDowell Mountain (1-3), Fountain Hills (1-3) and Mountain View (2-2) all lost.

Next week’s matchups are set: (1) Arcadia will take on (4) McCormick Ranch and (2) North Scottsdale will take on the tournament-host (3) Mountain View.

Thursday night’s action determined the seeding.

Game 1: North Scottsdale 10, Fountain Hills 0

Ryan Klotnia led the Rocketmen to victory with a no-hitter as he pitched four innings and struck out eight batters while only walking one.

Pregame home plate meeting between manager Tim Niesz (Fountain Hills), Alexander Niesz (FH) and manager Paul Klotnia (North Scottsdale), Tyler Erickson (NS)

Pregame home plate meeting between manager Tim Niesz (Fountain Hills), Alexander Niesz (FH) and manager Paul Klotnia (North Scottsdale), Tyler Erickson (NS). (Independent Newsmedia/Justin Maskulinski)

“I was just throwing strikes and I had good control of my fastball,” Ryan said.

North Scottsdale led 9-0 in the top of the fourth inning when Ryan walked one batter and Fountain Hills reached base on an error. At that point, there were two men on with no outs. Ryan sat the next three batters down in order.

“I just kept thinking about throwing strikes and I didn’t let it affect me,” Ryan said.

North Scottsdale’s Cole Burleson had a big night at the plate, going 2-3 with a single and a solo-home run to left-center field.

North Scottsdale out-scored its opponents in pool play by a combined score of 40-5.

“We’re doing well and our pitching is doing well,” Cole said.

Not all was bad on the Fountain Hills side of the game on Thursday. Center fielder Jake Dicker tracked down a ball and made a diving catch in the third inning.

“Jake’s a really good kid to coach,” Fountain Hills manager Tim Niesz said. “He made a fantastic play in center field.”

Mr. Niesz says his team began the tournament well but ran into some very good teams.

“We started off pretty strong,” Mr. Niesz said. “We just ran up against some really well-qualified teams. We had a pretty young team, but there’s no excuses. The other teams played better ball than we did.”

North Scottsdale will take on Mountain View in the semifinals next week.

Game 2: McCormick Ranch 12, McDowell Mountain 1

The McCormick Ranch Bulls knew they controlled their own destiny heading into Thursday’s game and they did not waste any time taking care of business.

After one inning the Bulls led 3-0 thanks to a Cade Fretz three-run homerun. In the second inning the bats came alive for the Bulls as Conner Endres hit a two-run homerun and Jack Gleason hit a ball to the left-field wall for a triple.

“I was trying to put the knob to the ball and hit one in the gap,” Conner said, describing his home run. “I hit one opposite field and it ended up being a home run.”

Gleason finished Wednesday night 4-4 at the plate and went 2-3 on Thursday.

“It’s all in the teamwork and preparation in the batting cages and everything like that,” Jack said.

McCormick Ranch added two more runs in the bottom of the third inning and cruised to a four-inning-mercy-rule victory that clinched the No. 4 seed. McDowell Mountain manager Mark Sever says his team was unable to capitalize on opportunities, and that led to the loss.

“I think we had our chances,” Mr. Sever said. “We put the ball in play. I think tonight we just came out flat and it showed.”

Kamden Kross led McDowell Mountain offensively, going 1-2 with a RBI double.

Cade Fretz says after McCormick Ranch opened the tournament with back-to-back losses, they have calmed down.

“We’ve picked up our confidence and we’ve just been relaxed the last two games,” Cade said. “We’ve been hitting better than we did in the first two games, so I guess that’s what our key is.”

The Bulls had no problem piling up the runs in their last two games of pool play, but manager Todd Thomas knows runs will not be as easy to score against the one-seed Arcadia on Monday.

“I think runs will be harder to come by for all teams,” Mr. Thomas said. “You’re going to see the best pitchers going out every game. You’re going to see a lot better defense by the top-four teams and I think every team is going to have a tough battle.”

Game 3: Arcadia 13, Mountain View 1

The final game of pool play featured two teams with winning records and the game was tight until Arcadia piled on 10 runs in the third and fourth inning combined.

“We hung in there in this game. It was a 5-1 game going into the fifth inning,” Mountain View manager Tim Flaherty said. “We kind of ran out of pitching. We had nine guys tonight — we didn’t have our full team. Arcadia’s a very, very good team and it prepares us for next week because North Scottsdale is just as good.”

There was one scary moment in the bottom of the fourth inning when a hit was sent right back at Arcadia pitcher Kellen Slade, hitting him in the left arm and taking him out of the game with his team leading 5-1.

Arcadia’s Joseph Agnone was the next man up for Arcadia and he responded by striking out three of the four batters he faced.

“I just needed to get in there and end the game,” Joseph said.
Joseph also added a two-RBI double in the top of the fifth inning as Arcadia pulled away.

In its four pool play games, Arcadia outscored its opponents by a combined score of 49-3, but they know the games are not getting any easier moving forward.

“I told them the tough teams are in front of us now,” Arcadia manager Jeff Wasson said. “We just have to keep at it every inning. I was proud of the way the boys responded, especially with the adversity during the game. They came in and kept at it.”

Arcadia will take on McCormick Ranch in the semifinals. The two teams played head-to-head during pool play and Arcadia won 5-0. The win over McCormick Ranch was Arcadia’s only non-mercy-rule win of pool play.

The tournament will resume Monday with two semifinal matchups.

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