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Rocklin holds off Auburn for TOC title

Orioles survive late Tigers charge to claim slugfest victory as team Little League comes to close
By: Russ Edmondson, The Placer Herald
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Rocklin Little League’s Orioles defeated the Auburn Tigers 12-8 to claim the Junior Division Tournament of Champions title at Twin Oaks Park in Rocklin on Monday night. This marks the end of team play for the season as the all-star season begins now. The Orioles finished the regular season 19-0 and were 22-1 overall. The teams were tied 1-1 before Rocklin erupted for nine runs in the top of the fourth inning. The home-plate umpire ejected Rocklin manager Bret Faulkner with one out in the inning. Faulkner was trying to make a substitution when an argument ensued. The Orioles then exploded for eight more runs in the inning after Faulkner was tossed. “I thought they were upset with that,” said Faulkner about his ejection. “In 15 years (of coaching baseball) I’ve never been thrown out of a game.” Rocklin extended the lead to 11-1 in the top of the sixth but Auburn rallied for two runs in the last of the inning to avoid losing by way of the 10-run mercy rule. Rocklin’s Austin Dick opened the fourth inning with a walk and Drew Ashby and PJ Floyd followed with singles. Floyd’s single scored Dick to put the Orioles up 2-1. After an out, Mark Corey hit a groundball to short and it was misplayed for an error. There were also two throwing errors on the play and three runs scored. Following three walks, Evan Durgarian slammed a three-run double to right-field to make the score 8-1. Dick followed with a RBI single and later scored on a wild pitch to complete the rally. Dick threw the first six innings, scattering four hits and allowing three runs (one earned run). He played shortstop in the seventh and final inning and caught a soft liner for the final out. “That was pretty cool. I collect baseballs and that one I’m definitely going to keep,” said Dick, who said he wasn’t nervous on the mound because he has pitched in big games before. Jake Faulkner (three walks, RBI), Durgarian (2-4, four RBI, walk), Dick (2-3, RBI, walk, hit by pitch) and Ashby (2-4, RBI, walk) each had multiple hits for the Orioles. Auburn scored five more runs in the last of the seventh inning. “It’s what these guys do,” said Auburn coach Eddie Vanderdoes about his team battling back. “Our kids have always played with class. It’s the one thing about these guys, win or lose, they have played with class.” Eddie Vanderdoes Jr. was the starting pitcher for Auburn but he was removed from the hill with one run in during the Rocklin rally in the fourth inning. “Eddie’s arm got a little worn (out) – he’s been a horse for us, 90 (strikeouts) in 40 innings, and it caught up to him. He didn’t have his best fastball.” Jake Lewis relived Vanderdoes on the mound and Brenden Fontes retired one batter in the seventh inning for Auburn. Auburn’s Casey Yunk (2-for-4, RBI), Vanderdoes (2-3, walk) and Jake Lewis (2-4, two RBI) led the offense.