It’s not often a team who musters just a single hit in a game walks away with a victory. Premier OKC Athletics weren’t deterred by its lack of offense on Saturday, scoring four runs in the final inning to beat Hawks Gold – Piesko, 5-4, advancing to the 13u semifinals at the 2019 Omaha SlumpBuster.
“These guys brought it from the get-go,” said head coach Shaun Corso. “They brought the energy and they never gave up, even when they only had just one hit.
“I’m an offensive coach. I love hitting and we just didn’t do it today but the guys just found a way to push some runs across the plate with their backs against the wall.”
Pitchers on both sides came out dueling.
The Hawks’ Colton King walked a batter in the top of the first inning, one of two he would surrender. His four innings of working included seven strikeouts and just one unearned run.
For Premier, Ty Parker threw the first four frames before handing the keys over to Gaven Delmas. Together, the two combined for eight strikeouts and just three earned runs.
“Ty Parker went out there and shoved,” Corso said. “He made one mistake all day. Gaven didn’t look so hot at the beginning but I went out there and told him that his teammates needed him. He got into his groove and it was fortunate the way things turned out.”
OKC struck first blood in the third inning. Only four batters came to the plate but a Seth Carlson walk combined with two throwing errors allowed Carlson to scamper home for the game’s first run.
The score remained 1-0 until the fourth inning when Evan Haeger launched a solo shot over the fence for the Hawks. Two innings later, Tanner Sonntag rocketed a two-run shot out of the park, stretching the Gold lead, 3-0.
“We know what we’re capable of,” said Carlson. “We’ve all hit well in practice a million times. We just needed to take it out on the field.”
Down to its final three outs and trailing 3-1, the Athletics needed something special.
Patient at the plate all afternoon long, OKC drew four walks in six batters, scoring a run and creeping within one, 3-2. Finally, with the game on the line, Carlson delivered the only hit for OKC, sending home Owen Hall and tying the game.
“I just had to trust myself,” said Carlson. “I just wanted to stay locked in and keep my hands back. It worked out at a good time.”
A batter later, Delmas popped up in the infield but an error from the Hawks’ catcher gave OKC two more runs to make it 5-3.
Delmas had one last job to do in the bottom end of the seventh when he returned to the mound. The Hawks crawled within one on a walk and an error but Delmas kept pounding the strike zone, eventually tallying the final swing and a miss to end the game, 5-4.
“I was just telling myself to trust my stuff,” said Delmas. “If anything, don’t worry if they got on base and move on to the next batter. I trusted my teammates and we got a big out right there.”
OKC moves on to the 13u semifinals on Sunday morning in Council Bluffs. Until then, the young men from Oklahoma have plenty of time to reflect upon one of their biggest wins of the season.
“Winning this game gives us a lot of belief going forward,” Delmas explained. “It means we know we can win close games, we know we can come from behind and it means we're not a team to be messed with.”