Auburn 10-11s ousted

Little League
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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ROCKLIN — Back when the team was still in Brooklyn and was annually finishing as the runner-up to the Yankees in the World Series, Dodgers fans adopted a rallying cry: “Wait till next year.” Jim Gray, manager of Auburn Little League’s 11-year-old All-Star team, has adopted the same motto for his ball club. In his case, however, there’s more reason to be optimistic. Auburn was eliminated from the District 11 Tournament on Thursday with an 8-6 loss to Rocklin at Twin Oaks Park. Auburn entered the last inning trailing by five runs, but got three of them back before the rally came up just short. “This is a team that, if you can stay right there,” said Gray, whose team finished with a 1-2 mark. “Against Tri City (an 8-4 loss on Tuesday), we were in position (to score) in the last two innings like we were tonight, but we couldn’t get ‘em in. “But you have to give this team a lot of credit for its heart. They don’t give up. They were down 8-3, they came back and made it 8-6 and they weren’t ready to home. That’s a sign that this team is going to be a great bunch of kids next season.” Third baseman/pitcher Ryan Gray led Auburn offensively, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, including a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Logan Markstein, who also pitched and played third base for Auburn, also collected three hits and drove in a run. First baseman/catcher Cole Blackwell and right fielder Josh Hattrup finished with two hits apiece. Shortstop Tyler Gums scored twice for Auburn, and catcher/second baseman Ray Henry doubled and scored in the sixth inning. The game was tied 2-2 going into the fifth, but things unraveled for Auburn when Hattrup apparently caught a fly ball and seemed to lose it when he was transferring it from his glove to his throwing hand. The umpires ruled that it wasn’t a catch, the runner was called safe and Rocklin went on to score three runs that inning. “He took two steps (long enough to have control of the ball),” Jim Gray said. “I think the umpires were watching more his exchange than his footwork. There was some disagreement.” Rocklin added three more runs in the top of the sixth. Despite the fact that his team came up short this season, Jim Gray is already eager to see what his All-Stars do as 12-year-olds. “We were more competitive this year than last year,” he said. “We gave every team we played a run for their money. “Look out for this team next year. When they advance to 12-year-olds, it’s going to be a whole different ballgame.”