A red-hot pitchers' duel was the highlight of opening night in Little League baseball's District 15 Tournament of Champions at Eproson Field in Twain Harte.

In the Major division for ages 11 and 12, Nick Luchessi of the Linden Rivercats and Garrett Everhart from the Woods Creek Muckdogs of Sonora and Columbia hooked up in a six-inning beauty that saw the two combine for 27 strikeouts out of a possible 36 outs. Luchessi fanned 16 in a two-hitter, and his team got the victory, 1-0, on an unearned run scored in the top of the first inning.

Everhart actually pitched a no-hitter while striking out 11 and walking four. The Linden run scored as the result of a walk and an error. The Muckdogs were knocked out of the tournament, which is being played in a single-elimination format rather than the usual double-elimination.

Linden moves on to play Foothills of Valley Springs at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The Minor tournament for ages 9 and 10 began yesterday afternoon at Eproson with the High Sierra Braves of Belleview, Soulsbyville and Twain Harte taking a 6-0 victory via forfeit when Calaveras National of San Andreas didn't show up.

The Braves meet Linden at 4:30 Thursday afternoon.

Both the Minor and Major tournaments are being hosted by High Sierra.

Today, Calaveras American of Angels Camp and Copperopolis plays Amador West of Jackson at 4:30 in the Minor tourney, and Amador West is scheduled to meet Calaveras National at 7 in the Major bracket.

For complete schedules, see summaries below.

The Junior TOC for ages 13 and 14 gets under way tonight with two games at the Sonora Dome. High Sierra takes on Westside of Standard and Tuolumne at 4:30, and Woods Creek plays Linden at 7:30.

The High Sierra-Westside winner plays at 6 tomorrow night at Sonora High School's Bev Barron Field against Calaveras National.

Woods Creek is hosting the Junior tournament, which has a double-elimination format.

The Union Democrat
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