ESTERO — Dustin Sorenson picked a fine time to hit his first-ever home run.
With his team leading by a run with a runner on second and two outs in the top of the sixth, Sorenson lashed a two-strike offering from Golden Gate National pitcher Chris Robinson over the right-centerfield fence at Three Oaks Community Park. The home run provided San Carlos with some insurance in a 3-0 win in the District 18 12-year-old title game.
San Carlos advances to the Section 6 tournament, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Venice.
“I never thought I’d hit a home run in that spot,” Sorenson said. “I was just looking for a base hit. When I saw it go over the fence, I was really proud.”
San Carlos manager Troy Withstandley was also proud, as Sorenson executed with two strikes perfectly.
“We have a two-strike drill every day in practice,” Withstandley said. “We never want to be caught looking with two strikes; everybody hits. I certainly wasn’t expecting a home run but we’ll take it.”
The way San Carlos was pitching throughout the contest, a three-run cushion loomed large.
“We just didn’t swing the bats the way we were capable of tonight,” Golden Gate National manager Mike Walker said. “You have to give (San Carlos) a lot of credit. They were pitching around us, keeping the ball outside on us all night. They did a great job and they were the better team tonight, but I’m very proud of our kids. They’ve had an outstanding tournament.”
Ryan Withstandley worked the first 3Ò innings before leaving with runners on first and second in the fourth. His father brought the hook in favor of reliever Kyle Miller.
“I had Ryan and Kyle on my team during the regular season and we often went three and three with them,” Troy Withstandley said. “Tonight, I was trying to get an extra inning out of Ryan. With two runners on and a kid who had struck out his previous time (Robinson), I thought it was a good time to bring Kyle in.”
The move paid off, as Miller struck out Robinson and retired the final seven batters. Miller struck out the side in the fifth and worked a 1-2-3 sixth, cruising through the heart of the Golden Gate National lineup.
“When I came into the game, I was thinking strikeout,” Miller said. “I got it and just went from there.”
Miller said Sorenson’s homer gave him all the confidence he needed to face the tough hitters in the Golden Gate lineup.
“When he hit that, I knew all I had to do was throw strikes and let my defense take care of it,” Miller said.
Robinson was outstanding in defeat for Golden Gate National. The right-hander scattered five hits over six innings, walking one and striking out six. He retired the first seven batters before Collin Martin drew a one-out walk in the third. He later scored on San Carlos’ first hit, an RBI single by Zac Culvahouse.