|Rohnert Park 9-unders rally to win championship
RP scores four in top of sixth to overtake Elk Grove
Rohnert Park's 9-under Cal Ripken All-Star baseball team had a relatively smooth road to the Pacific Southwest Regional championship game. It had outscored its opponents by a collective score of 84-24 in the games leading up to Saturday night's championship with Elk Grove from the Sacramento area.
RP scored 20 of those runs in its semifinal victory over Arizona earlier in the day. But against Elk Grove, Rohnert Park was forced to dig deep and rally from two runs down in the final inning to capture the championship 6-4 in Midvale, Utah.
Rohnert Park also had to fend off an Elk Grove rally that ended with the bases loaded, two outs and a full count. When shortstop Elijah Stevenson squeezed a fly ball for the final out, Rohnert Park had completed an undefeated run through the tournament.
Rohnert Park trailed 4-2 heading to the sixth. Stevenson started RP's rally in the sixth inning by drawing a walk, moving to second on a single by Carson Crawford and scoring on a double by Russell Freidheim to cut Elk Grove's lead to 4-3. Game MVP Cameron Duran then blasted a triple to score Crawford and Freidheim to put Rohnert Park ahead, 5-4. Rohnert Park tacked on its final run when Tanner Starrett's run-scoring single.
Elk Grove loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning. But Crawford induced Elk Grove's final batter to fly out to shortstop Stevenson to end the game. Rohnert Park got on the scoreboard first when Freidheim drove in Brody Smith with a single in the top of the first. Later in the inning, Ryan Kane singled in Crawford for Rohnert Park's second run.
Freidheim was Rohnert Park's starting pitcher. He went the three innings, allowed one hit, struck out five and walked two. Crawford picked up the win as he pitched three innings, allowed two hits, two earned runs, walked seven and struck out two.
Elk Grove scored once in the second and fourth innings and twice in the fifth.