Yankees pull off a classic Little League comeback
A life lesson was learned and applied by the Yankees on Wednesday night in the South Tahoe National Little League finals.
An eight-run second-inning deficit to the Giants was daunting, if not insurmountable. But the Yankees didn’t bicker and point fingers at one another. Instead, they kept their heads up and started chipping away at the Giant lead.
The Yankees were rewarded for their persistence, rallying for an improbable 9-8 victory at Fred Rightmier Field.
“Our whole goal is to never quit, no matter what happens,” said Yankees’ skipper John Allen. “The Giants are a good team. The kids rallied and got some momentum, and it carried them through.”
Dakota Lynch wore the super hero’s cape, clobbering a three-run homer with two out in the sixth inning for the decisive blow.
“The 12-year-olds are the thermostats of our team. They set the heat,” said Allen, crediting not only Lynch but Randy Stockton, Bryan Peuse, Brad Peden, Dylan Gardner and Miguel Valdivia for their team leadership as 12-year-olds.
Lynch went the previous two months of the season without touching them all, so even he was a little surprised when he hit the shot heard around the Little League complex with the game on the line.
“I’ve been close twice,” Lynch said. “We got pumped up. Once we started to hit, then we got more hits.”
Consequently, the Yankees and Giants will meet one more time for all the marbles. The winner-take-all championship is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Through four innings, the Yankees trailed 8-2, but gained momentum in the fifth with daring baserunning and a few breaks. Stockon, who went 4 for 4, started a rally with a double to right. As the high-leg-kicking Giants’ starter Jordon Switzer began to struggle with his control, Stockton took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch, sliding under the tag at the plate.
A walk to Gardner ended Switzer’s night on the mound. Lynch followed with his first hit, an RBI double to left, cutting the Giants’ lead to 8-4. Andru Aquino’s deep fly ball dropped out of the mitt of the left fielder, allowing Lynch to score, making the score 8-5.
What transpired in the bottom of the fifth gave the Yankees even more momentum going into their last at-bat. For the second time in three innings, Lynch, who relieved Stockton in the third frame, escaped a bases-loaded jam without allowing a run. When he got out of the first mess in the third, the Giants had filled the sacks with nobody out. A popup to third, a fielder’s choice where Aquino threw home for the force out and a lineout to first ended the threat. In the fifth, a fielder’s choice quelled the rally.
In the top of the sixth, the Yankees nearly ran themselves out of a rally. After a leadoff walk, shortstop Sergio Burgueno got lead runner Matt Newberger out at second on a grounder by Noah Jackson. Peuse hit a sharp single to center, but a well-executed relay from center fielder Oliver Ortiz to Burgueno to Hirshal Sukha cut down the runner at third for the second out.
But the final out would prove to be elusive.
Stockton doubled in the gap between center and right to score Peuse, then swiped third on delayed steal. Gardner walked, setting the stage for Lynch.
With only a strike separating his team from defeat, Lynch lined a shot to right center for the deciding home run.
The Giants attempted to rally in the bottom of the sixth after Lynch retired the first two hitters on strikes. Andrew Herrera singled to the fence in left center and advanced to second on Ortiz’s third hit of the game. But the game ended when a baserunner was caught overrunning a bag.
Burgueno was unable to add to his season total of 16 home runs. He was intentionally walked to lead off the Giants’ five-run first inning. He also walked in two of his other three plate appearances.
Ortiz connected for a two-run single in the first, and slugged a run-scoring triple during the Giants’ three-run second inning.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
RENO — A man who died in a gun battle with officers after he shot a state transportation worker on a remote Nevada highway last week has been identified as a 34-year-old from Northern California…