In a pitching and defensive battle that wrapped up quickly — the game Saturday at Riddle Field took an hour and 15 minutes — Oysters rallied and slipped past Team Hobie, 2-1, in Majors Division action at Laguna Beach Little League.
It was the second one-run victory recorded by Oysters in a week. Previously, they outlasted Rotary, 7-6, in a seven-inning affair.
Oysters 2, Team Hobie 1
For the first five innings, Oysters had been shut out in hits and runs by an outstanding performance by Hobie pitcher Grifan Fair, and trailed 1-0 heading into their final at-bat.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Sam Thornton was hit by pitch and reached base, only to be thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice grounder by Stone Riff. Down to their last out, Bryan Ludloff drew a walk to put runners at first and second. With Sammy Wogulis at bat, a passed ball allowed both runners to advance a base. Wogulis then hit a grounder to the mound and was able to reach base safely when it was ruled that the Hobie first baseman didn’t have his foot on the bag. Both runners came home to score to give Oysters the win.
Hobie scored their only run in the second inning when Evan Rubel singled and scored on the one error committed by Oysters in the game.
Fair’s performance was backed by the solid defensive play of Brett Dunlavey, Jake Kunkel and Jack Pillsbury.
Oysters used Morgan Lebby, Larry Stewart and Bryan Ludloff on the mound. Ludloff needed only four pitches to retire Hobie in the top of the sixth, setting the stage for Oysters final at-bat.
Of the 35 outs recorded in the game, only five came by strikeout.
Oysters 7, Rotary 6 (7 innings)
A 4-0 deficit against the divisions’ top scoring team didn’t deter Oysters from staging a comeback victory.
Rotary scored the game’s first four runs over the first three innings behind the hitting of Cameron Hauer, Kurt Rebone, Johnnie Stanton, Derek Strombotne and Jonathon Church. Oysters came alive offensively with two out in the bottom of the third inning behind hits by Bryan Ludloff and Kyle Jaffe, followed by a two-run hit by Larry Stewart to pull to within 4-2.
Oysters held Rotary’s potent offense scoreless until the sixth where they scored twice more to go up, 6-2, on hits by Stanton and Nick Channels.
In the bottom of the sixth, Oysters began its late rally with a double to the fence by Jaffe and it continued with singles from Stewart and Sammy Wogulis, bringing the score to 6-4.
With two out and bases loaded, Dylan Rand-Luby hit a double into the right-center field gap, scoring Wogulis and Morgan Lebby to tie the score. On the play, Hauer’s perfect throw to the plate on from his second-base cutoff position, cut down a speedy Drew Romero at the plate to deny Oysters the game-winning run and push the game into extra innings.
In the top of the seventh, Ludloff struck out two and was backed by third baseman Stone Riff as Oysters got out of the top-half of the inning unscathed.
In the bottom of the seventh, Oysters again came up big with two outs. Three consecutive walks loaded the bases, bringing Joe Redfearn to the plate. He worked the count to full before hitting a soft flair between the pitcher and first baseman who dove for the ball, snared it but had it jarred loose when he hit the ground. Redfearn raced to first and just beat the tag while Ludloff crossed the plate to score the winning run.