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CenCal 12U Win Championship Nailbiter
The CenCal 12-and-Under youth baseball team poses after a recent big tournament win at Big League Dreams in Manteca. - photo by Photo Contributed

 The CenCal 12-and-Under youth baseball team blew through the TPR Veterans Day Classic at Big League Dreams in Manteca on Saturday with four straight wins and a championship title.

The combined pitching effort of Austin Manning, Nate O’beirne, and Sam Burns led the team to big victories and only three runs allowed in consecutive preliminary wins to start the tourney.

CenCal batters came out a little slow, but found their groove midway through the first game and combined for 13 scores in the two contests. CenCal was aggressive from the start, stealing 18 total bases between the first two games.

In the semifinals, CenCal faced off against Club All-Star. Tyler Casteel was on the hill for CenCal, and after a rough first inning, settled in to allow only three runs against a solid All Star lineup.

CenCal started hot, scoring two runs off of a single by Austin Manning. With CenCal trailing, Chris Alonzo came up and laid down a beautiful drag bunt for a single to extend the final the inning. Jared Holzer came up with runners on first and second and drove a ball through the infield to bring in the tying run. Sam Burns battled for a walk, loading the bases for Manning, who hit a walk off single up the middle of the field to win a 4-3 semifinal.

In the finals, CenCal faced off with the LaMorinda Diablos for a savvy match-up between two undefeated teams.

LaMorinda led 6-0 but succumbed to a CenCal comeback and an 8-7 win for the local players. Jared Holzer took the mound in the third with a four-run deficit and mowed down hitters with a 1-2-3 inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, CenCal scored four runs between seven batters to tie the game. The tension rose when LaMorinda scored a run in the top of the sixth putting CenCal in a pinch. Sam Mundt led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk and that was followed up by Manning’s single. After a steal by Manning, Burns came to the plate with a runner at second and third with no outs. He battled to force a full count before tagging the seventh pitch for a walk-off single to win the championship game.