VACAVILLE — When Ethan Ramos popped up a three-run homer directly over the 200-foot sign in right-center field, the Davis American 11-12 All-Stars thought they were off to a nice start in their do-or-die game against Dixon in the Little League District 64 tournament at Centennial Park on Monday night.
What they didn’t realize is that they would score 13 more runs in a first inning that lasted nearly an hour. During the onslaught, every DALL player scored at least once and a trio of hitters came to the plate three times.
When it was all said and done, Davis had a 17-4 win in a game that ended early because of the mercy rule. The victory set up another must-win matchup Tuesday (7 p.m.) against Winters.
“(The win) was triggered by Ethan’s three-run homer,” said American manager Jessie Catacutan. “We hit the ball, we found spots, we got on top of the ball, hit it hard, found holes. They walked a few, but there weren’t many errors on their part.”
Leading off the bottom of the first, Mikey Finerty was drilled in the leg by a pitch and awarded first before Josh Catacutan walked to set up Ramos’ opposite-field shot.
Davis didn’t let up on the gas after that as Jack Walsh reached base on an error, Adam Dapkewicz walked, Iain Smith and Kooper Kijanka both singled and Jordan Painter followed with a walk.
As the inning unfolded, it seemed as if DALL was controlling the placement of its hits with mind control as every ball was hit hard into a gap or over a demoralized Dixon fielder.
Going through the batting order a second time, local hitters reached base safely on nine out of 10 tries, including one Walsh chopper that was hit so hard into the infield dirt that it nearly made it to the fence. Walsh was able to reach second base standing up before the ball got back to the infield.
Dixon did its best to make the game interesting, hitting solo home runs on two of the first three pitches of the second inning, but the rest of the action was strictly academic as Davis cruised to victory.
The Americans were on the other end of a blowout on Sunday, as Vacaville Central sent them to the loser’s bracket. After that game, in which Kijanka’s two-run homer was the sum total of the DALL offense, coach Catacutan had a message for his team:
“You guys have done this,” he told them. “You guys won district two years in a row. Come out and play like champs and just focus and have fun. Play loose. Just focus and have some energy. Play hard and just let it happen.”
Clearly the words of wisdom paid off as Davis reached base 22 times on Monday.
— Reach Evan Ream at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanReam