The Newport Harbor Baseball Assn. Bronco 11U All-Stars came through with a come-from-behind victory on Tuesday night to secure a spot in the PONY Southern California Super Regional Tournament that began Friday in Whittier.
The Newport team battled back to beat the Placentia 11U 'A' team in extra innings. After losing to Mission Viejo on Sunday morning, Newport needed to win three games in a row to advance to the Super Regional tourney.
After blowout wins against Tustin on Sunday (15-4) and against Cypress on Monday (16-5), there came Tuesday's finale against Placentia with a Super Regional berth at stake. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and Newport clinging to a 6-5 lead, reliever Simon Copeman struck out a Placentia batter on a called third strike to send the overflow Newport crowd into a celebratory frenzy.
Clay Liolios started for Newport and turned in an incredible pitching performance going 4 2/3 innings while allowing three earned runs and striking out six.
Newport got on the board in the top of the second inning with Luke Hatfield's RBI fielder's choice.
Placentia came back in the bottom of the third scoring two runs to make the score 2-1. The score was tied in the top of the fifth after Copeman's single drove in Kyle Binford, who had singled earlier in the inning. Placentia stormed right back in the bottom of the fifth scoring twice to open up a 4-2 lead.
Jack Bibb's RBI single in the sixth brought the 11Us back to within one, 4-3. With the score still 4-3, Trey Genova led off the seventh inning with a single. Copeman drew a walk and Newport had runners at first and second with no outs. Catcher Braham Duncan then came through with a double down the left-field line that scored both Genova and Copeman.
Newport only needed to hold Placentia in the bottom of the seventh and the NHBA All-Stars would have their ticket to the Super Regionals.
With one out and two runners on, Placentia hit a grounder to shortstop Logan Pence who flipped it to second baseman Binford for the second out. With Placentia scoring on the play though, the score was knotted up again at 5-5.
With one out in the top of the eighth, Liolios reached base on a single. Binford followed up with a hard-hit single to right field that got by Placentia's outfielder allowing Liolios to waltz home giving Newport a 6-5 lead. That would be the final score as Copeman finished off Placentia with a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.
Liolios had two home runs for the five-game tourney to go with eight RBIs.
Genova and Bibb each homered during the weekend as well. Pence had eight hits racking up a .667 average for the tourney. Luke Bashore, Brendan Duffy, Johnny Brigandi and Chase Greer also made huge contributions for Newport on defense and offense.
With the win, NHBA improved to 26-5, heading into the 11U Super Regional tournament.
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