Mariners Move On
By Gerardo Bolong
It was a tense battle to live on at the Pac West Little League Complex on Sat., June 7.
In the loser out game of the Little League Majors tournament, Mac Greenan's pulled two-run double to deep right center field in the fifth inning gave the Mariners enough of a cushion to survive their opponent's one tally in the sixth inning as they held off the hard fighting Dodgers, 6-4, in the loser-out game of the tourney. After avenging a 2-1 loss to the Dodgers in the winners bracket, the Mariners moved on to a match with the undefeated Pirates.
In the provisional championship round, the Mariners will need to defeat the Pirates two consecutive times on Sun., June 8, to secure the title.
"Hats off to the Dodgers," said Mariner manager Mike Pederson. "They're one heck of a team. We've battled them all year and were fortunate to win today. It was a gutsy effort by our pitching and catching battery to play the whole game. We also had some timely hitting."
The first timely hitting exploit came from the Dodger hitter Alonzo Zaragoza in the top of the second inning when he timed a pitch well enough to pull the ball over the right field fence for the first run of the game.
"I was just trying to get a base hit and it flew," he said.
The Mariners tied the score in the home half of the inning on River Garza's infield single and Jake Pederson's run-scoring triple that were sandwiched around two strike outs.
In the bottom of the third inning Lucky Ruano was fortunate enough to lead off with a driving, deep double to center field. Kayla Silver's ground ball single through the left side set up Daniel Powers for a skipping RBI single through the middle. Two strike outs later, a fumbled ground ball in the infield turned into a two-base error and a pair of runs as the Mariners assumed a 4-1 lead.
Dodger scoring took a positive turn after Zaragoza singled with one out in the top of the fourth inning. Following a pop fly out, John Kemp tripled home a run and subsequently scored himself when a throw in the infield to third base on the same play sequence sailed out of play to make the score 4-3. The Dodgers used three relief pitchers to keep the score close, but were not able to avoid Greenan's two-out sixth inning blow for the Mariners.
"It was a great game," said Dodger manager Paul Kemp. "I tip my hat to their pitcher who gutted it out to finish the game. We had our chances, but weren't able to get it done. The good competition makes it fun."
Southpaw Garza earned a complete game win with 10 strikeouts in the face of occasional wildness that kept the Dodger batters loose at the plate.
"I just focused on my pitches," Garza said. "Our defense did a good job, too."
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