Pac-West comes back to win
By Ed Shepherd
As far as games go, one has to believe it doesn't get much more exciting than the Pac-West Pirates' 7-6 comeback, walk-off victory over West Seattle's Cubs in opening round Tournament of Champions Majors action at Normandy Park City Hall Park Saturday.
"South Highline National was up, 6-1, in their game played before ours, and Rainier came back and beat them," said Pirates manager Scott Magee. "When we were down, 6-1, I told them, 'Hey, that's what happened the game before, we can do that, too.' And, they believed and they did it."
West Seattle controlled things early, and there could not be much faith in a comeback, after having watched West Seattle score two runs in the first inning and four in the second. But, Magee spoke the aforementioned words and Pac-West took that big deficit to heart and to bat as that Cubs 6-1 lead became something these young guys believed they could overcome.
Starting in the bottom of the third inning, Pac-West showed their manager, Magee, they believed they could come back and win this game, with a two-out rally no less, and a strange way to start the rally also.
After back-to-back outs, Jeremiah Judd struck out but reached on a dropped third strike. Misa Marin, believed he could hit his first home run of the season, in this crucial time, and, he did, with Judd on base and that made it a 6-3 ballgame.
"It started the rally," he said. "My first home run this season."
What a time for that to come!
Pac-West would continue to rally in the bottom of the fourth as Alex Lucero reached base by a throwing error, and, next up, Christian Herra, No. 9 hitter in the batting order, hit a triple, scoring Lucero and cutting the West Seattle lead to 6-4.
Continuing the comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning, Judd hit a line-drive home run over the left-field fence and the Cubs' lead was trimmed to one, 6-5. After Judd, the Pirates weren't done hitting the ball as Marin singled and Lucero hit the ball,too, but the West Seattle shortstop reached high and made a nice play to end the inning.
"Misa -- the first home run was most impressive," said Magee. He said, 'That's for you, mom.' He wears pink socks, she's a breast cancer survivor."
Good that Pac-West had one more inning to go to impress all of the moms cheering the team on, and dads, and everyone else, too.
Starting the bottom of the sixth, Herra hit a hot grounder to West Seattle pitcher Isaac Patchen, who made a nice play for the Cubs to record out one. But, that's where the good news ends for the Cubs and the good news becomes great for the Pirates.
Pac-West's Riess Magee, the team's leadoff hitter, did just what dad told him to do, hit it where something could happen and get aboard for the bigger hitters.
"I told him to take that pitch and hit it down the third base line," said Magee. "Don't take it to second, don't take it to first base. Turn on it and hit it hard."
Riess Magee did, ripping the ball by the Cubs' third baseman and it was hit pretty hard and got under the glove of the left fielder and close to the fence. Riess stood at third base after that rally-starting action for Pac-West.
"Anytime you get that guy on third base and you bring up the meat of the order, that's what you want," said Magee.
Bradley Anderson followed Riess Magee's clutch hitting with a smack over third base to tie things up, 6-6.
Clean-up hitter Michael Snyder, only an 11-year-old of this 11-12 age team, only needed to hit the ball hard somewhere to send his team into a frenzy. And he did, lining the ball past third base, into left field, deep, and, around came Anderson to score.
The Pac-West catcher, Ezequiel Pestana summed things up nicely in the dugout after everyone came out to congratulate Snyder.
"Mr. Clutch, baby," said Pestana. Others followed suit.
Jeremiah Judd really deserves a shout-out, too, as his mound work was sensational. He came on in the top of the third inning as West Seattle had all those early runs and a big lead and two runners on base.
Thanks to Magee's smart managing, too. All Judd did was shut down West Seattle over the final three innings, for no runs, while striking out eight batters.
"Jeremiah is such a good hitter and I can put him a lot of places in the field, too," said Magee.
Snyder talked of being the one who sent the friends and family into a frenzy with the walk-off, game-winning RBI.
"Had faith with me," said Snyder, looking up, pointing a finger, just like many pro athletes do after they score a touchdown in football. "Thank you, God."
He helped you?
"He helped me fight through the whole season," said Snyder.
And, it is the fight that Manager Magee wants these kids to remember, not so much the win, which, of course, was nice, too.
"This is a good season and this team's had clutch hits all year, but I am most impressed with their character," said Magee, adding. "I give kudos to a well-coached West Seattle team. They handled themselves very well. They are well coached."