WATSONVILLE — Great pitching, check.
Great fielding, check.
Late-game heroics, you betcha.
Toro Pony answered a late-game Mid-County grand slam with a two-run homer, to take the late lead, and the 6-5 win, and move on in the NorCal Coast Region Pony Tournament on Wednesday evening in Watsonville.
With Mid-County having already beaten Toro in the opening game of the tournament by a score of 7-4, Toro was looking to gain sweet revenge and eliminate Mid-County, and early it looked like the game could go either way.
Both starting pitchers held their respective opponents to zero runs through the first four innings, until Victor Vogt was able to hit a single in the top of the fifth inning to bring in Otis LaMacchia for the game’s first run.
Toro was able to get on the scoreboard in the same inning. They scored three runs in the bottom of the inning, two of them coming off of RBI doubles and one off of an RBI single, to take the slim 3-1 lead.
But as the game went into the final two innings both teams stepped up the scoring in a big way.
Devon Robinson was able to start the sixth inning off with a big shot into right field, and was able to easily make it to second base for the lead-off double. Then Alex Werner earned a walk to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Gavin Glaum was able to also earn a walk prompting Toro to swap pitchers to get out of the bases load jam.
The relief pitcher was able to strikeout the first and second batter he faced, but then with two outs Tate Stone-Hinds came to the plate and crushed the second pitch he saw over the left-center field wall for the grand slam that sent the Mid-County fans into a craze, and gave them a two run lead.
The game seemed at hand after the Stone-Hinds swing, but Toro did a fantastic job of stay levelheaded and coming out in the bottom of the inning swinging.
First they cut the lead to one run. After a Mid-County errant throw allowed a runner to get to third, he was brought in on a simple grounder to make the score 5-4, and Toro was just getting started.
The next Toro hitter was smacked by a pitch and an error allowed another runner on bases. Mid-County catcher Stone-Hinds did a solid job of gunning out the runner going to second base, for the second out of the inning. The next batter, however, was a different story. He took a Mid-County pitch out of the park to empty the Toro dugout and score the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.
Mid-County had one final chance in the top of the seventh and they were almost able to pull it off. Werner, Glaum and Tyler Foos were all able to get on to load the bases with only one out, but the next two batters couldn’t come through and Toro held on to the skinny one-run lead for the win.
With the win Toro is just one game away from the championship game. They’ll play the loser of the Watsonville versus Monterey (that will be played today at 5 p.m. in Watsonville) on Friday at 5 p.m. Both Watsonville and Monterey are unbeaten going into today’s game.
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