By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, Colo. – The USA Prime Mann squad spent most of Saturday trailing in its 13uD1 Vail Valley World Series game. But sailing into the championship game proved a more accurate description of their day.
At the Eagle Sports Complex against the Saddleback Cowboys Black, USA Prime scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to finally draw even before plating three more in the eighth inning, earning a 12-11 victory and a spot in Sunday’s tile game mix. In the double elimination format, USA Prime needs just one win in two chances to take home the trophy.
The sixth inning burst of production was really a slow trickle as USA Mann waited it out with four walks and a hit batter to prime the offense. A Kolt Smith single drew the team back to just one run down at 9-8, and Max Jones’ bases-loaded walk tied it at 9-all.
Saddleback (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) started extra innings with two singles – Colton Mossman drove in the runner who started on second via the tiebreaker rule, and Lance Stoll scored on an infield error.
USA Prime got a lift as pitcher Jack Sansone struck out the last two batters, and Smith started the bottom of the eighth with a loud double to the fence.
“I was just hoping to hit the ball, honestly; I haven’t been doing the best this weekend,” Smith said. “Make some contact, get that runner home for the team. Even though we were down, we were trying to get back up, stay hyped, not get down on ourselves because that just kills you.”
Jones tied the game at 11-11 with a single that brought in Smith, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. With one out, Jude Bachicha lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Nicholas Penfold with the winning run.
“I was feeling pretty confident. I was looking for my pitch at 2-2 and knew they had to come with a fastball to me,” Bachicha said. “I was right there. We play our best baseball, we will make it far.”
“That’s the way it’s been this whole year. We always seem to fall behind, and the guys just battle,” said coach Devin Reidle. “They’ve stayed in it. I have certain kids I depend on, and they came through in the end here, and really the entire game. When we needed hits, we got them.”
Brody Reidle and Isiah Sandoval homered in the third inning for USA Prime. Noah Darnell had a home run and two RBI for Saddleback.