Duncan Repeats as Midget AA Champs in Extra-Inning Thriller

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

June 19, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – An RBI single from Spencer Martin in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Adam Sakuma from third and gave the Duncan Renegades a thrilling come from behind 11-10 win over Layritz in the 2014 Greater Victoria Baseball Association (GVBA) Midget AA championship game Thursday night at Layritz Park in Victoria.

Duncan’s Spencer Martin (centre, glasses) is mobbed by his teammates after knocking in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The win was the second Midget AA title in a row for the Duncan squad and it capped a dramatic comeback that saw the Renegades battle back from a 5th inning 9-2 deficit, as well as score a pair of runs in the bottom of the 7th to tie the game 9-9 and send it into extra innings.

Duncan started their ace Jordy Frost on the mound in the hopes that he could repeat the magic he showed a year earlier in the 2013 final, when he spun a near-perfect, complete-game, one-hitter against the Carnarvon Giants.

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Layritz catcher Alex Nelson was just a bit late with the tag as Duncan’s Blair Robertson scores the Renegades second run of the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Things would be a bit different this year however, as Layritz jumped all over Frost, knocking him around for 10 hits over the first four innings and scoring a pair of runs in the top of the 1st, two more in the 3rd and five more in the 4th to jump out to a 9-2 lead.

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Layritz’s Kris McClung was on fire early, knocking in 4 of his teams first 9 runs with a pair of timely base hits (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Leading the way for Layritz in their early dominance were Shogen Saito and Mike Potter who both had a pair of hits and scored twice, Kris McClung, with a pair of hits and four RBIs and Alex Nelson with a pair of hits and a run scored.

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Leadoff hitter Shogen Saito singled twice and scored a pair of runs to pace the early Layritz offence (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Renegades, who had added their first two runs in the bottom of the 1st inning, were able to stem the Layritz tide in the 4th, thanks to some good relief pitching by Reiya Tomida and – in what we will call the ISN turning point of the game – by a delay that ensued when Tomida and the Renegades requested some repairs be made to the pitching mound.

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After getting the mound fixed to his liking, Duncan’s Reiya Tomida would keep Layritz off the board, throwing 3 and 1/3 scoreless innings before leaving the game via ejection at the end of the 7th inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

On an earlier pitch, the first base umpire ruled it no pitch, as Tomida’s foot was not in contact with the pitching rubber, but instead was in a substantial hole that had developed in front of the rubber. The umpires asked that the hole be repaired and after it was, Tomida got out of the inning without further damage.

He also continued on in the game after that and shut the Layritz offence down, allowing no runs and giving up just a pair of 5th inning singles and a 6th inning walk, before being replaced at the top of the 8th and first extra inning by reliever Blair Robertson.

Tomida’s fine middle relief performance also allowed the Renegade bats to come to life after they had been silenced two straight innings by Layritz starting pitcher Nick Bohrender, who through the first three innings had given up the two Renegade runs on just two hits, one of which was a first inning 2-RBI single to Frost.

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Layritz starter Nick Bohrender kept Duncan at bay early and left the game in the 4th inning with a 9-2 lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In the bottom of the 4th, Bohrender walked the first two batters he faced, spelling the end of his evening. He was replaced by left-handed reliever Austin Derks who did a masterful job, retiring the first three batters he faced to end the threat and preserve the 9-2 Layritz lead.

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Austin Derks was masterful in relief in the 4th, retiring the first three batters he faced, but gave up three runs on three walks in the 5th to let Duncan creep back into the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In the next inning however, Derks would not be so lucky. He would struggle with his control and surrender a leadoff walk and then a pair of one-out walks to load the bases. Layritz Manager Dave Potter then went to the bullpen to bring in Kris McLung who promptly got Duncan batter Ty Rennie to hit a tailor-made double-play ball to second, however an error by the Layritz second baseman allowed two runs to come in and score making it 9-4. McClung then gave up an RBI double to Hayden Lachman and an RBI single to Sam Cross before finally getting out of the inning with his team’s lead now down to 9-6.

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This RBI double from Duncan’s Hayden Lachman was a key hit in the Renegade’s 4-run 5th inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Renegades would chip away at the Layritz lead again in the 6th, this time off Layritz pitcher Alex Nelson who came in to start the inning. Zach Komst and Tomida would draw back-to-back walks and would steal their way to third and second respectively. When the next batter struck out, Komst was caught leading too far off third and was picked off on a nice defensive play by Layritz. Just when it appeared that Nelson would get away without any damage, an error by the shortstop on the next batter allowed Tomida to score cutting the lead to 9-7 and setting the stage for the 7th inning dramatics.

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Layritz shortstop Shogen Saito appears to have an awkwardly sliding Zach Komst dead to rights (top) on this steal attempt, but he could not hang on to the ball and Komst was safe (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In that inning, Nelson would surrender a 1-out walk to Tyson Eliason and a single to Martin. He would then plunk Derek Hayes to load the bases for Rennie. Rennie would deliver, stroking a 2-RBI single into right field to bring home Eliason and Martin and tie the game 9-9 and send it into the extra frames.

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Alex Nelson would throw 3 and 2/3 innings of relief for Layritz, giving up 4 earned runs on 5 hits, while walking 4, hitting 2 and striking out 5 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).

At the end of the inning, there was a commotion on the Duncan bench that caught the attention of the home plate umpire and resulted, strangely, in Duncan pitcher Tomida – at least on the score sheet – being ejected from the game. As such, the Renegades went to reliever Robertson to begin the 8th.

Robertson cruised through a 1-2-3 inning, as did Layritz’s Nelson in the bottom of the 8th, but in the 9th, the visiting Layritz squad would manufacture a go-ahead run thanks to a single by Austin Derks and a 2-out RBI single from Potter, his third hit of the game.

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Blair Robertson would get the win in relief for the Renegades, giving up 1 run on 2 hits while striking out three (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).

Once again trailing in a critical situation, the never-say-die Renegade offence would go to work, this time sparked by a leadoff single from Frost, his second hit of the game. Sakuma was then hit by a pitch and that was it for Layritz pitcher Nelson, who was replaced by Mike Potter.

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Layritz’s Mike Potter looked to be the hero with this go-ahead RBI single in the top of the 9th inning (left), but he was trumped by Duncan’s Spencer Martin (left) who got the game winning hit in the bottom of the inning (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).

Kier Barnes greeted Potter with a bloop single down the third base line that scored Frost to tie the game 10-10 and after a walk to Eliason to load the bases, Martin stroked a ground ball past the drawn in Layritz infield to score Sakuma and send the Renegades into a celebratory frenzy.

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Duncan Captains Zach Komst (left), Adam Sakuma (centre, left) and Jordy Frost (centre right) accept the Midget Championship Trophy from GVBA President Fraser Campbell (right)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).

Robertson, with his two innings of relief work, gets official credit for the win, giving up 1 run on 2 hits while striking out three. Nelson takes the loss for Layritz, going 3 and 2/3 innings and giving up 4 earned runs on 5 hits, while walking 4, hitting 2 and striking out 5.

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The 2014 GVBA Midget AA Champion Duncan Renegades (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN).

GVBA Championship week wraps up Friday with the Bantam A Championship as Lambrick Park takes on Lake Cowichan. Game time is 6:30 pm at Lambrick Park. In action earlier in the week, the Gordon Head Thunder captured the Mosquito title, the Esquimalt Lions won the Pee Wee A title, and Cowichan captured Bantam AA glory. The South Island Junior finals will take place later in July.

Additional photos from this game will be available at http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/f184110214

Follow Christian J. Stewart on Twitter @cjs_photography and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/christianjstewartphotography

 

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