NORTHEAST GLENDALE — While Tommy's and Bistange were locked in a close game for the first three innings of Tuesday's Tri-Cities Minor Baseball Tournament winner's bracket contest at Scholl Canyon Park, the ultimate measuring stick for the two Foothill Little League squads proved to be pitching depth.
Tommy's bullpen was able to shut down Bistange's lineup over the fourth and fifth frames, while its own hitters strung together eight runs in that span to run away with an 11-5 victory in a game called after the fifth because of a two-hour time limit.
"Once we got deep into our pitching, they didn't have any pitching left," said Tommy's Manager Dave Bernal, whose team's only two hits came from winning pitcher David Bernal. "That's the key to this league is having pitching."
Bernal took the mound for Tommy's to begin the top of the fourth inning with his team trailing, 5-3, and struck out the side after a leadoff walk.
He struck out two more in the top of the fifth and worked around a two-out single with a groundout back to the mound, all in 35 pitches.
"That was the biggest key, him getting through it with 35 pitches, because we need him for the next game," said Dave Bernal, whose team will face Foothill Two Guys in another winner's bracket game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Tujunga.
Meanwhile, Tommy's put up the one-inning maximum five runs in the bottom of the fourth by taking advantage of two walks and three errors committed by Bistange.
Jacob Magas, Bernal, who singled, Austin Lee, Andre Hernandez and Brandon Anderson all scored in the frame.
Bistange made three pitching changes over the last two innings trying to find a stopper, but things only got more out of hand.
Three walks to begin the bottom of the fifth loaded the bases for Tommy's and Carl Dinger, Demetrios Trigonis and Kenny Lumpkin would all come around to score even though Tommy's did not record a hit in the frame.
"Our guys started out hitting the ball really well, I'm really proud of them," said Bistange Manager Aaron Pabst, who got hits from Connor Johnson, Davis Mieliwocki, Trent Lousararian and Jack Bollert. "They wanted to win and they've improved a lot."
Bistagne did draw first blood, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out walk to Lousararian followed by an error.
Hernandez tied the game in the bottom of the second inning on a swipe of home plate in a double steal and Anderson scored from third on a wild pitch moments later for a 2-1 lead.
But Bistange came roaring back in the top of third inning when Mieliwocki singled to third base and scored on a three-base throwing error to tie it up.
Two batters later, Lousararian doubled to deep left field to plate Matthew Vilches, who had walked. Two more runs would score on an error to give Bistange a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the third, where Tommy's got one run back on an RBI groundout by Ryan Katoka.