APTOS — After losing their first game of the Tournament of Champions on Sunday to the Santa Cruz American champ, the Padres’ backs were against the wall once again. But this time there was no magical five-game winning streak concluding in a title.
The Watsonville American Champion Padres couldn’t hang on to a three-run lead and the Aptos Little League champion Phillies eliminated them in a 7-6 come-from behind effort on Wednesday evening in Aptos.
After hitting their third two-run home run in the bottom of the third the Padres were held scoreless until the final out was tallied.
“I thought that we would have the chance late in the game,” said coach Jeff Kane. “We just needed one run to take back control of the game, but we just fell short.”
Still, for a team that was middle-of-the pack in the early goings of the season, there are no reasons for them to hang their heads after righting the ship and finishing the season with a Pajaro Valley Little League Championship.
“It was a great season,” said Kane. “To turn things around and start hitting the ball like we did, to lose the first game and come back and win five straight is very rewarding, and to win back-to-back championships is also very rewarding. We just ran into very good teams.”
Much like Sunday’s game against the Santa Cruz American Red Sox, the Pads had a shot at a comeback in Wednesday’s affair. Going into the final inning with the game tied at six, after the Pads previously led by three, the Phillies were able to capitalize on a costly error to score what would be the game-winning run.
“It’s just a part of the game,” said Kane. “Mentally they stayed in the game the whole time. Even when we got down late they still fought until the end. I’m proud of the kids and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. We would’ve loved to play another game, but you can’t play forever.”
In their 26th game of the season the Padres started the game by spotting the Phillies two runs after a bases-loaded double, but the Sandoval brothers answered right back in their turn. With James Sandoval on third after he hit a triple, Trevor hit a laser that was just able to clear the center-field wall to tie the game.
Both champs went scoreless in the second, but in the third, the runs started pouring in again. The Phillies added a run to regain the lead in the top of the inning; however, it was a short-lived advantage as shortstop Ryan Lewis hammered a deep home run to snatch the lead back. They weren’t done yet as Trevor hit a double to keep the rally going and Thomas Avila followed in the footsteps of Trevor and Lewis by hitting a two-run homer, the deepest of the three.
The Phillies were able to chip away at the Padre lead in the following innings and tied the game in the top of the fifth when they brought in two runs. One came via an RBI single and the other off of an error.
The Padres were unable to answer even with the top of the lineup starting the home fifth, and the Phillies took the lead and the win in the final inning.
“We did well,” said Kane. “Unfortunately we had to open with Santa Cruz American and then follow it up with a tough Aptos team, but I though we held our own.”
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