Herring’s homer keeps Giants alive for AAA minor title
Where would the Giants be without a double-elimination tournament format? Certainly not playing in the South Tahoe Little League minor AAA championship game against the Yankees on Wednesday night.
The Giants won their fourth straight game after losing their tournament opener, forcing a decisive second championship game Thursday night.
Matt Herring’s tie-breaking two-run homer over the center-field fence in the sixth inning led the Giants to a 12-8 victory.
“Everybody was kind of down, but Matt’s homer just did it,” said Giants’ manager Jim Durham. “That got the kids fired, that got the coaches fired up.”
Janez Demsar, Christina Barnhardt, Ashton Burdick and Hayden Armstrong padded the sixth-inning rally with base hits as the Giants scored four more times for a 12-6 lead.
The Yankees retaliated for two runs in the last of the sixth inning on a Jake Miller double and a Blair Binns single, but it wasn’t enough.
When the six-team tournament started on June 6, the Giants were the favorite to win the title.
“We have beaten all of the teams and had the best record at 11-4. We just had an off day,” said Durham, looking back at the start of the tournament. “They have come together as a team, and they believe in themselves.”
Herring topped the Giants with three hits, including a homer and double, while Demsar and Armstrong delivered two hits.
Yankees’ starting pitcher Ridge Merkley kept the red-hot Giants’ bats relatively quiet into the fourth inning, allowing his team to build a 6-3 lead. But when Merkley was pulled after throwing 75 pitches, the Giants struck back. They scored once in the fourth and twice in the fifth to forge a 6-6 tie.
Merkley, Miller, Binns and Peyton Galli each swatted two hits for the Yankees. Merkley scored three runs.
The Giants and Yankees will settle the championship at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
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