GLENDALE — Three runs behind and three outs away from an unthinkable early elimination in the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament in Watsonville on Sunday afternoon, the San Gabriel Valley 16-18 Babe Ruth baseball team staged a dramatic seventh-inning rally to pull a 7-3 win over Modesto from what had seemed like sure defeat.
Having lost the double-elimination tournament opener to Watsonville on Friday, SGV needed a win Sunday to stay alive, but, despite a solid five-inning start by Crescenta Valley High sophomore starting pitcher Nate Rousey — one of three current or former Falcons on the team — it didn't look long for the tournament going into the seventh inning.
"We hit the ball hard all day and didn't have thing to show for it," said SGV Coach Phil Torres, who is also the baseball coach at Crescenta Valley. "[Rousey] really pitched well. He held it together and kept us in the game."
Rousey, who allowed three runs on five hits over, while striking out five to no walks, came up with the first hit of the seventh inning when he singled to follow a leadoff walk drawn by shortstop Martin Rodriguez. Ryan Henley then singled to load the bases with none out.
Following a strikeout for the first out of the inning, catcher Jerry McClanihan bounced what Torres described as a perfect double-play ball that was booted for a run-scoring error.
Matt Page then singled in two runs and CV sophomore Troy Mulcahey drove in the go-ahead run with a single of his own. Garrett Tuck provided the knockout blow with a three-run home run to make it 7-3.
Rousey's only rough spot came in the fourth inning when he picked off a runner with two outs, but it was ruled a balk. The inning continued with a single and then a three-run home run.
SGV must win two games today to remain alive in the tournament. First it will play either Sacramento or Utah at 5:30 p.m. and if it can win that game, there will be another directly after at 8 p.m.