|Beating a team three times is hard enough. Beating that same team four times is even more difficult, as Bike Connection discovered Saturday in its 15-14 triumph over Tickets Express in the championship game of the Palo Alto Little League City Tournament at Middlefield Park.
One question remains, however: Can Bike Connection beat Tickets Express for a fifth time this season?
That question will be answered Sunday when the same teams meet in a championship challenge game at Middlefield Park. Game time is 1 p.m.
A lot of fathers will be spending their Father's Day at the ballpark, especially after Saturday's wild game.
Bike Connection, which suffered its only tournament loss to Tickets Express last Sunday (6-3), had to win today or the title went to Tickets.
Bike Connection appeared to have things wrapped up early with a crazy 9-0 explosion in the top of the first, highlighted by nine hits – the big one a two-run homer by Jack Witte.
The game, however, was far from over –- even when Bike Connection took a 15-4 lead in the top of the fourth. After Andrew Ball and Alvin Kim both singled and David Ball was safe on a error (with a run scoring), winning pitcher Kenny Jones singled. When the leftfielder misplayed the ball, Jones raced to third but overran it and got caught in a rundown.
A throwing error, however, allowed Jones to score and it was 15-4. Tickets Express was perilously close by losing by the 10-run mercy rule.
Down to its final two outs before having the game called in the bottom of the fourth, Tickets Express battled back. Michael Strong single and Nick Wells single. Alec Wong then crushed a three-run homer over the centerfield fence for a 15-7 game. Tickets scratched out three more runs in the inning and suddenly it was 15-10.
After Bike Connection went down in order for the first time in the top of the fifth, Strong led off the bottom of the frame with a walk and Wells slammed his third two-run homer of the game. When Austin Kron and Bowen Gerould both scored on wild pitches, Tickets had closed to 15-14.
With one inning remaining, Tickets Express had a very real possibility of winning the city title.
Bike Connection opened the top of the sixth, getting a single from Jacob Hoffman. Wells, however, came on to pitch and retired the next three batters – two on strikeouts.
Tickets Express got the tying run on when Strong led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. Wells, with four hits and six RBI already, ran the count to 3-0. Instead of taking a possible ball four, Wells went after a low delivery from Jimmy Smale and grounded to second -- forcing Strong. Wong was then hit by a pitch. Instead of having the bases loaded and none out, Tickets Express had runners at first and second with one out.
Kron flied to left for the second out and Gerould grounded back to Smale, who threw to first to put the finish on the wildest game of the Little League season.
The teams combined for 29 runs, 31 hits and 10 errors. Smale led Bike Connection with four hits and three RBI while Witte added three hits and four RBI. Wells had four hits and six RBI while Kron and Gerould both had three hits. There were five home runs hit in the game, which lasted more than 2 1/2 hours.
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