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Pearl City, Mifflin County to Meet for Babe Ruth Championship

By jvanarkel, August 18, 2016

Unlike Tuesday’s quarterfinal round, the Wednesday semifinals of the Babe Ruth 13-year-old World Series in Ottumwa only had one game come down to the final inning–although that one game had more than enough drama for two. In the end, the two teams that earned #1 seeds in pool play both found a way to advance to the championship game.

MIFFLIN COUNTY (PA) 7, WEST FARGO (ND) 6

West Fargo held leads of 4-0 and 6-3 in the semifinal on Field 1, but after earning a reputation earlier in the tournament as a comeback team, they could not hold off the final Mifflin County comeback. The Pennsylvanians had lost to the North Dakotans in pool play before swiping the top seed, but they found a way to avenge that loss and advance to the final.

Trailing 6-4 at the start of the bottom of the seventh, Mifflin County’s Brian Yetter led off the inning with his second solo home run of the game. Brycen Hassinger walked and took second on a wild pitch. Ethan Eichhorn then singled, and when the ball was bobbled in the outfield, Hassinger came home on the error to tie the game at six. Brando Souders pinch-ran for Eichhorn, went to second on Casey Connor’s single and took third on a wild pitch. One out later, Cole Schlegel singled to left, scoring Souders with the game-winning run.

For the first 2 1/2 innings, the game belonged to West Fargo. They scored twice in the first, on an RBI single by Alex Urlaub and a passed ball. The North Dakotans doubled their lead in the third frame on Urlaub’s RBI double and Abe Hestdalen’s bases-loaded walk. Mifflin’s comeback started in the bottom of the third, when Yetter hit his first home run of the night.

The momentum changed sides several times in the middle innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Mifflin County loaded the bases with one out, scoring a run on Yetter’s RBI single and Hassinger’s bases-loaded walk. Just when it looked like Mifflin would surge ahead, though, Eichhorn lined out to right field, and West Fargo’s Carter Birrenkott fired to second base to double off Yetter and end the inning with West Fargo still ahead 4-3.

West Fargo then took advantage of sloppy defense by Mifflin County in the top of the sixth. After the inning started with back-to-back singles, Nolan Dodds’ sacrifice bunt was thrown away for an error, allowing Quade Peters to score. With runners at second and third, Mifflin reliever Colby Bodtorf retired the next two hitters, but then the second error of the inning scored Hestdalen to make the score 6-3. In the bottom half of the inning, however, Conner led off with a solo home run for Mifflin, cutting the deficit to 6-4 and setting the stage for the winning rally in the seventh.

West Fargo heads home from the Babe Ruth World Series with a 4-2 mark and a semifinal appearance. Mifflin County is 4-1, and heads to the championship game, where they’ll face…

PEARL CITY (HI) 12, SARASOTA (FL) 3

Pearl City went undefeated in pool play, but after they beat Sarasota 3-2 on Monday, the fans from Florida made it clear that they wanted Wednesday’s rematch. Sarasota held a one-run lead halfway through the contest, but the Hawaiians exploded for ten runs in the final three innings, make a definitive statement that they belong in the title game.

Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the fourth, Pearl City put runners on second and third with one out. Randen Kohagura’s RBI single tied the game at three, and two batters later, Josh Fournier’s RBI fielder’s choice put the Hawaiians back in front. Pearl City then exploded for five runs in the fifth to earn a 9-3 advantage, with RBIs by Lee Matsuzaki, Kohagura and Fournier helping the cause. They added their final three runs in the sixth inning; Jaron Yoshikane, who had an RBI double in the first inning, hit a two-run triple in the sixth and later scored on Matsuzaki’s sacrifice fly.

For the often-rambunctious Sarasota crowd, the only half-inning where they really had any reason to make noise was the top of the fourth. Trailing 2-0, they put the first two runners on base, and Fred D’Ariano’s RBI single plated their first run. The Floridians tied the game on an error, then went ahead three batters later on a sacrifice fly by Chase Palmer. That 3-2 lead was short-lived, however, and Sarasota managed just two more hits the rest of the game.

Sarasota came to Ottumwa with championship dreams and made the semifinals, but they head home with a 3-3 record, and without ever having won two games in a row in the tournament. Pearl City will have a chance to complete an unbeaten run to the championship, carrying a 5-0 record into their matchup with Mifflin County.

Thursday’s championship game is scheduled for 6:00, and will be played on Field 1 at the Ottumwa Youth Baseball complex.

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