In the opening game of the league championship double header, Say Hey Baseball and Alhouse set the table for what would prove to be one of the most exciting days of baseball the Ballpark has witnessed in recent memory. Ace pitcher William Fellows stood atop the mound to get things started. Say Hey Baseball’s leadoff batter Max Peterson was anxious to pick up where he left on Thursday, where he started the game with a leadoff triple. But William had a different outcome in mind and managed to miss enough of Peterson’s bat to force a pop fly that William handled himself while back peddling and reaching back to secure the ball that drifted erratically in the windy conditions–the first of many great defensive plays featured in this game by both teams. But Say Hey wasn’t ready to sit down so easily, as the next three batters reach base safely, including solid hits from Philip Sheng (a line drive into center field) and Karam Dhillon (grounder through the infield that deflected off the end of the outstretched glove of the SS) to load the bases. Cassin Coakley looked to start the scoring with a ball that looked destined to land in shallow left field, but his well struck ball caught by LF Marcus Lanzman who alertly hustled to third base and stepped on the bag for the unassisted double play.
In the bottom half of the first, Say Hey displayed its defensive prowess as well. Alhouse leadoff batter Caleb Lee faced off against Say Hey starting pitcher Max Peterson. Punching a line drive into center field, Caleb hustled to first base. Upon rounding first, he noticed the centerfield bobble the ball and took off for second in hopes of stretching out a double, but CF Fela Evans quickly recovered and delivered a strike to 2B Linus Tanabe who applied the tag to record the first out of the inning. After a walk put a runner on first, William Fellows took the first pitch he saw straight back up the middle, but the speedy 2B Tanabe snagged the ball and let his momentum carry him to second base for the force out. After the runner advanced to second on a pass ball, C Mateo Benford Garcia rifled a ball to third to throw out the runner as he attempted to steal another base.
But the first inning was the only scoreless inning of the game. Starting with the second inning, both teams’ offenses came alive. Say Hey starting the scoring when Linus Tananbe, with runners on second and third, drilled a ball to the left side of the infield for an infield base hit followed by a single from Mateo. In the bottom of the inning, Alhouse’s bats similarly came alive, as they put five runs on the board. This was highlighted by three singles to start the inning, and the first seven batters reaching base safely. In the top of the third, Say Hey did their best to match Alhouse’s offense and had a streak of five straight batters reaching safely with their own streak of three straight singles–the last an RBI single into left filed by Mason Phillips to tie the score at 5-5.
In the bottom of the third the explosive offensive display appeared ready to continue when Caleb Lee started the inning with a line drive down the third base line that two hopped its way to the fence for a standup triple. But relief pitcher Mateo Benford Garcia settled in and limited the damage to only one run–an RBI single by William Fellows.
In the fourth inning, Say Hey quickly tied up the score on a sacrifice fly by Davin Nebriaga. Their offense display wasn’t done as Say Hey rattled off four more runs, highlighted by doubles from Max Peterson and Philip Sheng.
After shutting down Ahouse in the bottom of the inning, Say Hey looked poised to continue the offensive fireworks and put the game away in the fifth, but reliever Caleb Lee had other ideas. After loading the bases, he managed to limit the damage to only one run with two strikeouts to close out the inning. On offense, Alhouse chipped away at the lead, starting the bottom of the inning with a single by Zion Lee followed by a double from Caleb to plate one run. Then a single by William Fellows, his second of the day, put a second run on the board. Putting the game within reach at 11-8 at the end of five.
In the sixth, Say Hey once again threatened to put the game away, but the resilient Alhouse defense wouldn’t let that happen. While Say Hey managed to plate an early run when the speed Fela E reached on a walk, stole two basses, and scored on a single by Philip Sheng. That was all Say Hey could manage despite loading the bases. The inning ended on their second unassisted double play of the game, when CF Arvin Hartmann raced into shallow centerfield to rob John Park of what appeared to be an RBI single, then touched second base to double up the runner and kept Alhouse within striking distance–down 12-8.
With the PCL City Championship in the balance, Alhouse managed to load the bases with one out, and scored a run on a ground ball. With two outs, runners on second and third, and the tying run at the plate in Caleb Lee, Say Hey put the ball game in the books when closer John Park got Caleb L to pop out to SS Max Peterson to end the game and give them the PCL Championship with a 12-9 victory.