|Late rally lifts RP All-Stars to title
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 the July 27 championship game 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 on 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.
RP 20, Arizona 2
Rohnert Park, as it did throughout the tournament, used a huge inning to subdue its opponent. This time it was against Arizona as Rohnert Park scored 13 runs in the second inning in a 20-2 victory that was cut short after the top of the fourth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule. Rohnert Park also scored three in the first and four in the third.
Aidan Hickman and Kane both had stellar games at the plate. Hickman went 4 for 4, including two triples and a double, and drove in six runs for Rohnert Park. Kane was 2 for 3, including a double, and drove in five runs.
Smith, Stevenson and Jack Bandy also drove in two runs apiece. Stevenson batted 3 for 3, including a triple, while Smith was 2 for 4. Crawford also went 3 for 4 with one RBI. Michael O’Daniel was 2 for 2 with one RBI.
Crawford was the starting pitcher for Rohnert Park. He went the first three innings, allowing one hit, while striking out four with no walks. Hickman pitched the fourth inning and allowed two runs on three hits.