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Babe Ruth World Series: Quarterfinals Recap

By Jason Van Arkel, August 17, 2016

With pool play completed and the six-team bracket set, the intensity was ramped up a notch Tuesday at the Babe Ruth 13-year-old World Series in Ottumwa. Every game from here on out is win or go home, and both games came down to the final inning.

WEST FARGO (ND) 9, SPOKANE (WA) 5

Whether or not West Fargo gets past the semifinals, they’ve proven you can never count them out. One day after scoring five runs in the seventh and coming up one run short in their final game of pool play, the boys from North Dakota entered the top of the seventh trailing Spokane 5-1. With their backs against the wall, the first six West Fargo batters reached base, cutting the margin to 5-4. One out later, Lance Oster hit a two-run double to put West Fargo in front. After the second out, Alex Urlaub cracked a three-run homer to complete the eight-run rally. Urlaub then tossed a scoreless bottom of the seventh to end the game.

For Spokane, it was a bitter end to a strange contest. In the first inning, they had their first run taken off the board on appeal after the runner failed to touch third base. The boys from Washington scored a run that counted in the second, then after some controversy over a balk call in the third, they added four more runs to take an ill-fated 5-0 lead. West Fargo got its first run in the fourth, but saw its rally snuffed when the third out was called due to runner’s interference.

West Fargo has now won four of its five games in the tournament, and more importantly, they’ll face Mifflin County (PA) in the semifinals on Wednesday. Spokane heads home having gone 2-3 in the World Series.

SARASOTA (FL) 5, WATERFORD (CT) 3

Just like Spokane, Sarasota started its game by building up a 5-0 lead. Unlike Spokane, Sarasota didn’t let it slip away, but they had to survive multiple comeback attempts by Waterford.

The boys from Florida scored in the first inning on Gabe Copeland’s RBI single, tacked on in the third with an RBI groundout, then scored three runs in the fourth, thanks in part to RBI hits by John Schroeder and Fred D’Ariano. Sarasota would not score again, however, and Waterford started down the comeback trail in the bottom of the fourth. A double steal brought home the first run, and Luke Sokolski’s RBI double made the score 5-2.

Sarasota began walking the tightrope in the fifth inning. Waterford loaded the bases with one out, but Sarasota brought in sidearming reliever Aiden Troy, who got a strikeout and a groundout to keep Waterford off the board. Troy’s day on the mound ended in the sixth after Waterford loaded the bases again, this time with no one out. Copeland came on to pitch, but an error on a grounder made it 5-3.

Then the Sarasota defense rose up. Waterford’s Mike Marelli hit what he thought would be a sacrifice fly, but right fielder Adam Porter, who had just entered the game, made a perfect one-hop throw to the plate to gun down Anthony Tonucci for the second out. Moments later, Copeland picked off Trey Brennan at second base to end the threat and preserve Sarasota’s two-run lead.

Waterford wasn’t done yet, as they put their first two hitters on base in the bottom of the seventh. Copeland, however, retired the final three batters to earn the save and advance Sarasota to the semifinals.

Sarasota improves to 3-2 in tournament play, and they’ll face Pearl City (HI) in Wednesday’s semifinals. Waterford ends its trip to Ottumwa with a 3-2 record.

Both of Wednesday’s semifinal games start at 5:30, with West Fargo-Mifflin County on Field 1 and Sarasota-Pearl City on Field 2. The championship game will at 6:00 on Thursday, on Field 1.

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