A two-out, two-strike comeback in the top amateur tournament in America is something that only happens once in a lifetime, right?
For the second time in two years, the Peninsula Oilers were down to their last strike in an elimination game at the National Baseball Congress World Series, yet came back to taste victory.
Peninsula came back from a 9-2 deficit after six innings and a 9-5 hole in the ninth inning to post an 18-9, 10-inning victory over Prairie Gravel at the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan.
The game mirrored an elimination game in 1999 when the Oilers trailed by two runs in the ninth inning with two strikes, two outs and nobody on base. Peninsula scored six runs in the inning to win the game.
The big hero in a game of heroes for the Oilers was Danny Garcia, who finished 4-for-6 with two home runs, four runs and six RBIs. With the Oilers facing the run rule in the seventh, Garcia launched a two-run home run to keep the game alive.
Then, with two strikes on him and the Oilers trailing 9-7 in the top of the ninth, Garcia had a two-out triple that scored two and tied the game.
By the 10th inning, a shocked Prairie Gravel team could only stand by as the Oilers piled on nine runs and sent 13 hitters to the plate.
The Oilers wasted little time denting the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Garcia reached first on an error, then stole second base.
He took third on a sacrifice fly by Jeremy Reed, then scored on an infield single by Luke Simmons.
However, Prairie took advantage of some wildness by Oilers starter Philip Tribe to take the lead in the bottom of the second.
Tribe walked Scott Conant and Dean Devine and the two scored on a two-out double by Alec Porzel.
The Oilers came back to tie the game in the top of the third inning on a leadoff home run by Garcia, but Prairie sent 10 hitters to the plate in the bottom half of the third and took a 7-2 lead.
Prairie extended its lead to 9-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, putting the Oilers in danger of losing due to the run rule at the NBC. If a team is behind by six runs after seven innings, the game is over.
But Garcia came through for the Oilers in the top of the seventh, hitting a home run with Jackson Coleman on first base to make the score 9-4. The Oilers tacked on another run in the inning when Reed scored on a ground out by Jason Walker.
The real heart-pounding action began in the top of the ninth with the Oilers trailing 9-5. Peninsula loaded the bases on a walk by Simmons, a single by Jason Walker and a hit batsman by Randall Shelley.
Simmons scored when John Kaye walked, Walker scored on a sacrifice fly by Brad Carlson and Shelley and pinch runner Ricky Vallasquez scored when Garcia tripled.
After reliever Stephen Copeland pitched a scoreless ninth inning, the Oilers offense continued to roll, picking up nine runs in the top of the 10th inning.
The big blow in the inning came when Reed launched a 385-foot, three-run home run to the opposite field.
The Oilers continue play today with a 4:30 p.m. ADT game against a yet-to-be-determined opponent. The game is on 920 AM.
Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters 9, Oilers 6
The Foresters roughed up Oilers starter Josh Scott and bumped Peninsula into the losers bracket in a game that began at 2 a.m. Monday in the Midwest and didn't end until after 5 a.m.
Scott played with the Mat-Su Miners in the Alaska Baseball League this season and posted numbers good enough to earn him all-league honors.
However, he struggled in his debut with Peninsula, lasting just two innings and yielding six earned runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman.
Meanwhile, the Oilers offense could not take advantage of the wildness of the Foresters pitchers. Santa Barbara walked 11 Oilers and put seven Oilers on first by hitting them with pitches, but Peninsula left 18 runners on base.
The Oilers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Luke Simmons singled to score Jeremy Reed and Jason Walker lived up to his name and walked to score Hunter Brown.
Santa Barbara came back in the bottom of the first to take a 3-2 lead on a double by Vince Kolbe that scored three runners.
Peninsula rose back on top of the game in their half of the second when Simmons, who would finish 4-for-6 with three RBIs, singled in Danny Garcia and Reed.
However, Santa Barbara took the lead for good with three runs off Scott in the bottom of the third.
After the second inning, Foresters pitchers Matt Sorensen, Scott Tallman, Gerrit Simpson and Caris Gray were able to shut Peninsula down.
Tallman picked up the win with two innings of relief, while Gray got the save.
The Oilers got their last two runs in the seventh inning, when Garcia doubled in Brad Carlson and Reed grounded out to allow Joe Hietpas to score.
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