The Aptos Marlins celebrate the game-winning hit by Josh Barry (blue helmet) on Saturday at Harvey West Park in Santa Cruz. (Glenn Cravens/Register-Pajaronian)
SANTA CRUZ — If Josh Barry was going to get another opportunity, he was going to take full advantage of it.
He indeed got that second opportunity and delivered for his teammates.
Barry hit the game-winning single that brought home three runs, and the Aptos Marlins defeated the Santa Cruz American White Sox 6-5 on Saturday in the winners bracket finals of the District 39 majors Tournament of Champions.
With the win, the Marlins will play in the championship, scheduled for Tuesday at Harvey West Park.
It looked like a foregone conclusion that the White Sox were going to dispose of the Marlins and advance to the finals thanks to a 5-2 lead.
But an error started an improbable rally.
With one out, Jack Ahnlund hit a short-hop grounder to the shortstop, and it was bobbled twice, allowing Ahnlund to reach base safely.
Alex Lingenfelter then took four straight balls to get on base and move Ahnlund to second.
After a fly ball to the first baseman, Johnny Staka worked a walk to load the bases.
Max Pepperdine took a strike to start, but then didn't get another good pitch and didn't swing. His patience was rewarded with a bases-loaded walk, and Aptos trailed 5-3 as Ahnlund came in from third to score.
Barry got his opportunity to shine. He took the first two pitches and then swung mightily on a 1-1 count only to foul it back. On the next pitch, he hit a line drive to centerfield, and everyone was running. Lingenfelter and Staka both scored, and Pepperdine went to third base.
Pepperdine started creeping home, and a White Sox defender threw to third hoping to catch him. The throw sailed wide, and Pepperdine came home with the winning run.
The players in the dugout all congregated near the pitchers mound to mob Barry, who delivered in the clutch.
• Santa Cruz American 9, Pajaro Valley 4: The Giants scored five runs in the top of the sixth inning and held off one final rally in the bottom of the inning to eliminate the Padres from the tournament.
Tyler Clark went 2 for 3 as he scored a run, and Trevor Sandoval went 1 for 3 with 3 RBIs.
The Padres grabbed the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly. They then took a 3-0 advantage in the bottom of the third inning.
Santa Cruz American scored in each of the final three innings — two runs in the fourth, two more in the fifth and five in the sixth.
For the complete article see the 06-19-2012 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-19-2012 paper.
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