Ravens say “Never More” to Lookout comebackBy Keith Freeman, MSBLNational.comLAS VEGAS, May 27, 2013– Gabe Orendorff’s two-out single to center field sent Deryck Christensen home from first with the final and decisive run in the top of the eighth inning as the Puget Sound Senior Baseball League Ravens posted an 11-10 victory over the California Lookouts in the Las Vegas Open 18-over championship game at Will P. Peccole Field
Orendorff’s hit came at a good time as his team, which owned a 9-1 lead in the fourth, saw the Lookouts tie the game at 10-10 in the seventh inning.
The fourth seed Ravens started the game with a four-run outburst in the first. Jamie Miller and Rudy Hernandez hit RBI singles before Emmett Woods notched a two-run single.
Justin Schoeller’s triple and an error gave the lookouts a run and trimmed the Ravens’ lead, but soon the floodgates opened in the third inning with RBI singles by Christensen and Miller. Andrew Kuehn tripled and scored on Paul Davison’s single. Orendorff doubled and came home on Hernandez’s second RBI single in the fourth.
By the sixth inning what looked like a blowout was turning into a competitive 10-4 game with momentum turning torward the Lookout dugout. Max Lotorto, Jason Tackett and Jimmy Murillo contributed RBI singles in the comeback.
“The guys came out on fire, the bats were swinging,” Ravens manager Davison said. “It’s kind of one of those things when you get a lead there’s a natural tendency to let up a bit and start coasting. That team, you’ve got to give them credit. They battled and chipped and chipped away, and before we knew it they were right on our heels.
“Our guys are focused and they’re ready to play, and they like the challenge. Rudy out there on the mound … he was gritty and he gutted it out. And we got a big hit from Gabe to win the game. It was a good tournament.”
The left-handed Thornton started on the mound for the Ravens, but he was relieved by Hernandez with two outs in the fifth. The Ravens owned a 9-4 lead when eventual winning pitcher Hernandez took over for the final four-and-a-third innings.
“Rudy is actually our starting catcher,” Davison said. “We’re lucky to have two good catchers (Steve Smith started at catcher in the championship game). Rudy can get out there and deal from time to time. He doesn’t do it a lot because we have a lot of good arms, but he gets out there and he throws strikes, and he’s focused and he knows what he’s doing. He makes tough pitches. He got us through it today.”
Reliever Dan Burkhart, who was the Lookouts’ third and final pitcher, took the loss.
“My team, they have tons of heart,” Lookouts manager Schoeller said. “Being down 9-1, we weren’t going to stop. We were going to come back and fight, but we fell a little bit short.
“We got one step closer (after advancing to the LV Open semifinals in 2012) this year. This was the strongest team we’ve ever had out here, so I knew a championship was what we should have got; falling behind early hurt us. I think if we played them in a three-game series we’d beat them two out of three.”
NOTES: The Ravens were 3-1-1 while the Lookouts went 3-2 at the LV Open. … Kuehn led the Ravens with a .643 (9-for-14) batting average while Miller, who had four doubles and 14 RBI, was next at .632 (12-for-19) and Christensen followed at .500 (9-for-18) for the LV Open.