MONTROSE — Phillip Palmer couldn't help but use a cliché to describe what his Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans Major All-Star baseball team was able to do against Tujunga in a District 16 tournament consolation bracket game.
Jewel City found itself down three runs on three different occasions Saturday at Montrose Community Park, but never pressed the panic button en route to a 10-9 victory decided on a two-run single from Colin Kieffer in the bottom of the fifth.
Palmer praised his team's resilience, as it overcame five errors — while Tujunga played error free — to save itself from heartbreak for the second day in a row after it fell to Burbank, 8-7, on a walk-off home run Friday.
"It's one of the strange things about this game because to this point we have played really well, almost flawless defense," said Palmer, whose team will play Foothill, which it already defeated in the tournament, 8-2, on Thursday, today at 5:30 p.m. at Montrose. "I think it's really a show of how good they are that they can overcome those things. It's such a cliché, but they believed they could do it and they proved that they could."
There were plenty of Jewel City heroics in the game, most notably Steven Gonzalez coming in to pitch in relief and getting the final two outs of the game with a runner at third.
"I was nervous," said Gonzalez, who also went two for three with two runs batted in. "[Coach] told me to throw a changeup, but I said I wanted to throw a fastball, so I did. I just relaxed and waited until the batter was ready and I just threw."
Tujunga's Kyle Edwards reached second base to lead off the top of the sixth inning when he hit a high fly ball to center field that was dropped when the outfielder slipped at the warning track.
Edwards moved to third on an Aurelio Colon groundout to shortstop, which prompted Palmer to make the move to a reliever. Gonzalez struck out the next two batters to end the game and Tujunga's season.
Jewel City took its first lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Anthony Ascencio and Matthew Moyer reached based with consecutive one-out walks and Gonzalez drove Ascencio home when he boomed a RBI double over the Tujunga right fielder to bring Jewel City within one run, 9-8.
Kieffer followed it up with his two-RBI line-drive single to right field to put Jewel City ahead for the first time in the game and for good.
"I started out not doing too well pitching, but at the end when I got that hit it just felt like we had a really good chance to win the game," said Kieffer, who added his team never gave up hope. "Last game we were down five runs and we came back with five runs. We felt like we could do it again."
Kieffer gave up three hits, four walks and hit two batters with four strikeouts through the first four innings on the mound, but went two for three with three RBI at the plate.
Tujunga took its first three-run advantage in the top of the first on three walks, a hit batter, two wild pitches and a passed ball.
Jewel City evened the score with a run-scoring single from Darrien Green (two for four, two RBI), which was followed with a two-RBI single from Fredy Sanchez.
A two-RBI single from Charlie Roca and a bloop single from Edwards restored Tujunga's three-run cushion in the top of the second, 6-3.
Gonzalez cut the deficit to 6-4 with a line drive to right field in Jewel City's half of the second, but Edwards pushed it back out to 7-4 in the fourth with a single to left field that went under the glove of Jewel City's left fielder to score Roca, who reached on an error.
Jewel City rallied to tie the game at 7 in the bottom of the fourth on RBI singles from Colin Kieffer, Green and Flynt Clayton.
Consecutive errors in the top of the fifth put Tujunga back in front, 9-7. Lucas Solis grounded to shortstop with two outs and runners at second and third, but the Jewel City first baseman dropped the ball to score a runner and another came home when the first baseman's throw home was dropped by the catcher.