Riding a wave of solid pitching and timely hitting, the Rays did thaeir part in turning the bracket upside down with the extra-inning 4-2 win over the Braves, who was the team with the division’s best regular season record.
The victors jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first. Maxx Ramirez and EJ Kelly got on base via an error and a base hit to start things off, with both later scoring via a Braves error and a bases full walk.
The lead stood until the home fifth, when the Braves’ Garret Laine clubbed a two-out, two-run shot to tie it up.
After a scoreless sixth, the Rays put together a two-run rally in the seventh. With one out and Mikey Camargo aboard on a walk, Marco Pezzini and Carlos Renteria hit back-to-back singles, with Renteria’s hit scoring Camargo and advancing Pezzini to third. Pezzini then scored the second run on a wild pitch.
For the winners, Renteria and Ramirez combined on the mound to hold the Braves to three hits, while allowing just two walks and notching 15 strikeouts in seven innings with Ramirez picking up the win in a relief effort.
The Rays advance through the winners bracket to face the Giants on Friday, while the Braves will face an elimination game on Tuesday against the Cubs.
In other Pajaro Valley Little League Playoff action:
•Giants 6, Astros 2: The Giants, having drawn a bye, rode the strong pitching of Isaac Gonzalez to a playoff win. He went five and two thirds innings, allowing only four hits, two walks and striking out eight Astros.
The winners picked up a first-inning run with Able Martinez taking third on a Luke Bruce single, and scored the game’s first run on the same play via a miscue in the Astro outfield.
Joseph Ramirez led off the bottom of the second for the Giants with a hit, later scoring the game’s second run on a fielder’s choice. During the third, Johnny Ceballos plated the game’s third run with an RBI single.
The Giants then pulled out to a comfortable margin with three fourth inning runs, with Ceballos driving in two more courtesy of a double.
In the fifth, the Astros managed to put together a two-run rally off of a Luke Meyers triple.
The Giants will play against the Rays on Friday in the winners bracket, and the Astros will trying to stay alive in an elimination game against the Padres today.
• Yankees 12, Cardinals 8: The Yankees rallied to tie it with a five-run sixth, only to see the Cardinals pull it out 12-8 in extra innings.
Key hits in the game-tying rally were the second of two Jasper Teixeira doubles as well as a two-run double from Brandon George.
After a scoreless seventh, the Cards put up four runs, aided by two hits, singles by Hainuka Florez and Donovan Mendoza, a walk and four Yankee miscues.
The Cards now advance to a Game five winner’s bracket showdown with the Giants on Thursday, while the Yankees face an elimination game versus the A’s.
•Giants 9, Dodgers 8: After spotting the Dodgers a five-run first, the Giants battled back to win it in the sixth.
The Dodgers five-run first was highlighted by a Luke Keaschall double, and RBI singles from the bats of Derek Quintana and Nathan Rodriguez.
The Giants chipped away with solo runs in the first and third to shave the margin to 5-3 before the Dodgers put up two more in the fifth courtesy of a triple by Keaschall.
In the fifth, the second RBI double of the game by Magdiel Cardenas closed the gap to 7-6. He then scored the tying run courtesy of a Dodger’s error on the same play.
After the Dodgers tallied a solo run in the top of the sixth to retake an 8-7 lead, the G-Men rallied with two of their own to win it. With one out, Robbie Ditlevsen and Nathaniel Brouse hit back-to-back singles.
Ditlevsen, having reached third on Brouse’s hit, then stole home to tie it, with Brouse also stealing second on the play. After stealing third, Brouse then came home on a wild pitch to win a wild game.
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