VACAVILLE — Trailing by a run in the third inning of their Little League District 64 Tournament opener, the Davis American 11-12 All-Stars needed someone to step up.
Shortstop Payne Barksdale turned out to be that person as he crushed a two-out, bases-loaded pitch over the right-center field wall for an opposite field grand slam. That gave DALL a lead that would prove decisive in its 6-3 victory over Dixon on Saturday at Centennial Park in Vacaville.
“Payne just hit a laser,” said Davis coach Jessie Catacutan. “I knew it was going to be in the gap, I didn’t think it was going to go over. Grand slam, four runs gives us a cushion.”
Prior to Barksdale’s blast, Mark Studer led off the inning with a single. One out later, Josh Catacutan earned a walk before Ramos reached on an error to load the bases. Another strikeout had the locals down to their final out when Barksdale stepped to the plate and provided his bit of magic to the then low-scoring game.
Davis, playing as the visitors, took that 4-1 lead into the final inning before scoring two more runs to give themselves more breathing room for a possible Dixon comeback.
With one out already recorded, Catacutan singled, then scored all the way from first when Ramos smacked a double right down the left-field line and all the way to the fence.
Ramos came home when Barksdale beat the throw on his chopper to the shortstop, giving DALL a five-run cushion heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Though Dixon did score two runs, Mikey Finerty came in to record the final two outs of the game. His strikeout of the final Dixon batter officially sent the locals into matchup with Vacaville Central on Sunday (10 a.m.).
“We played pretty well,” coach Catacutan said. “We had some rust obviously. Some of these guys haven’t played for maybe a month, since the end of the playoffs. The key was that we actually got some walks, were patient and got (their) pitch count up.”
“I wish we had some more hits, we left a lot of runners on base,” Catacutan added. “We need to hit a little better, especially with runners on base. Vacaville Central are going to be really tough.”
Notes: Adam Dapkewicz started on the mound for Davis American, pitching well and also contributing offensively with a single and a double in four at-bats.
— Reach Evan Ream at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanReam