Game 10
Great Lakes
vs. Southwest 9

Sunday, August 21, 2005
1:00PM ET
Lamade Stadium

 
Comeback Kids
Never-Say-Die Lafayette erases seven-run deficit on its way to second straight walk-off win


By Nick Williams

The rotund, cherry-cheeked, blimp of a woman must have a sore throat because the fat lady hasn’t sung for Lafayette, Louisiana in the past two days.

After coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the sixth yesterday against Westwood, Maine, manager Mike Conrad’s Lafayette squad was down 8-1 in the third inning against Owensboro, Kentucky before rallying to score eight runs in the final four frames, including a game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth that beat the Great Lakes champs 9-8 for its second straight walk-off victory.

“It’s a tribute to these kids,” Conrad said. “I told them, ‘We’re down by seven, we need to shut them down defensively and chip away. We don’t need to get [all the runs] in one inning.’”

Lafayette scored one run in the third and sixth, two in the fourth, and four in a bloated fifth inning that saw Lafayette send all nine batters to the plate.

“I think we stunned [Owensboro] in the [fifth] when we put up four,” Conrad said. “That might have set them on their heels a little bit. We’ve got such patient hitters. They just wait for pitches that they can drive.”

The big inning started when yesterday’s hero against Maine, Connor Toups, singled with one out. A single by Andrew Stevenson and a fielder’s choice by winning pitcher Sam Scofield loaded the bases. Andreas Duplantis then singled in two to cut the deficit to 8-6.

An RBI groundout by Jordan Romero pulled Lafayette to within one run, before Alex Miller knocked in Duplantis with a single to tie the game.

That set the stage for Duplantis in the bottom of the sixth.

After back-to-back two-out singles by Stevenson and Scofield put runners on the corners, Duplantis hit a hard hopper to third. The throw from third skipped in the dirt past the first base bag, allowing Duplantis to reach safely and Stevenson to race in from third with the winning run, capping the improbable seven-run comeback.

“In Little League Baseball, there’s never a safe lead,” said Owensboro manager Ricky Hale, whose team feel to 0-2 in pool play.

Hale’s team jumped out to the early lead against Lafayette starter Jace Conrad.

Jace Conrad walked leadoff hitter Bryson Morrow and surrendered a two run shot to Dalton West, who lined a fastball just inside the foul pole in left field, staking Owensboro to a 2-0 lead only two batters into the game.

Lafayette struck back in the bottom half of the frame, loading the bases against Owensboro starter Matt Johnson.

Leadoff hitter Stevenson hit a hard chopper to short that ate up Luke Daugherty, allowing Stevenson to reach base safely. One out later, Jace Conrad tried to help his own cause when he smacked the ball past an outstretched Daugherty and legged out a two-base hit when the ball carried all the way to the wall.

After a walk loaded the bases, Toups hit an RBI groundout to second, slicing the Owensboro lead in half. The inning ended when Ryan Bergeron hit a hard grounder to Daugherty, who ranged to his right, backhanded the ball and fired to first for the out.

In the top of the next inning, Daugherty connected for his second home run in as many days for Owensboro, a three-run blast that landed in the bullpen in left field.

The play developed after Owensboro loaded the bases on two walks and a single with West again coming to the plate with another chance to do some damage. West promptly smashed a base hit that knocked in his third and fourth RBI of the game and gave his team a 4-1 lead before Daugherty’s homer made it 7-1.

Owensboro then made it 8-1 on a Morrow RBI single in the third before Lafayette again loaded the bases against Johnson in the bottom of the inning.

Two singles and a dropped pop-up by Johnson left the bases juiced with no outs. After Johnson threw two pitches (both balls) to Tyler Douglass, Hale elected to pull Johnson in favor of Nolan Miller.

“Having known Matt, I thought he was kind of melting and thought it was time to make a move,” Hale said. “I’ve never saw a pitcher who wanted to come out of the game. He wanted the baseball and he’d done a real good job. I thought if we’d throw strikes the rest if the way we could hold on.”

Miller threw a ball and a strike before Douglass hit his 3-1 offering to center for a single. The base hit scored Alex Miller, but Brenn Conrad was caught in no man’s land between third and home and was thrown out at the plate. That seemed to be all Miller needed to settle down, as he immediately struck out the next two batters to extinguish the threat.

Brenn Conrad redeemed himself in the next inning by turning on a Miller fastball and cranking it down the right field line for a two-run triple that cut the Owensboro lead to 8-4 and brought Lafayette one step closer to a comeback victory.

“These kids are battlers, they don’t quit,” Coach Conrad said. “We’ve been down in the past and had to battle back. We’re here for a reason.”

 

Game Photos


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