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McKenzie carries Gangi to semifinals

Edgar Melik-Stepanyan

Gangi Builders Major Baseball player Matt McKenzie ended any hopes

of a Yankees’ comeback in a span of a few seconds -- the amount of

time it took for his second home run of the game to sail over the

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left-field fence.

With his team clinging to a one-run lead in the fifth inning,

McKenzie’s three-run blast, his second of the season, gave Gangi a

four-run cushion in a 7-4 Little League District 16 Tri-Cities

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Tournament quarterfinal victory at Montrose Park.

Gangi (17-11) will play either Foothill League runner-up Holmes &

Holmes or the Jewel City Frogs at 5 p.m. Friday at Montrose Park in

the semifinals.

The Yankees -- the Tujunga League’s top seed -- will play in a

second-chance bracket contest at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Tujunga

Little League Field against an opponent to be determined.

McKenzie went three for three, drove in five runs and

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single-handedly put the Yankees (19-8) -- who received a first-round

bye -- on the brink of elimination. He also started the game on the

mound, tossing five innings, allowing four runs, seven hits and

striking out four.

“This is a kind of kid every manager wants because he’s a

competitor,” Gangi Coach Curt Chase said. “I never lost confidence in

him because he goes in there and competes hard.

“He deserves this kind of performance.”

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McKenzie’s six-inning performance in a Crescenta Valley Little

League playoff game ensured Gangi a spot in the Tri-Cities

Tournament.

“He’s our No. 1 guy to go to when we need a win,” Chase said.

Gangi, which defeated the Burbank Indians, 13-2, in the opening

round, continued its offensive onslaught. McKenzie and Alex Inda

both scored twice, and A.J. Bernhardt, Cory Galbraith and Kevin Chase

also added a run.


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