Aptos uses long balls, one in grand style, to defeat Clemmons
California head coach Dave Anderson asked his team a simple math question as they trailed Clemmons, North Carolina, 8-4 heading into the fourth inning of Sunday’s game: “If we scored four runs in the first three innings, how many would we need in the next three innings to tie the score?”
Coach Anderson received one answer of “12.” Optimistic indeed.
After a brief discussion, all 12 players eventually agreed with their coach they needed just four runs to get back into the ballgame.
And in the fourth inning alone, they got six and took a 10-8 lead.
California then tacked on an insurance run in the fifth and held on to beat North Carolina, 11-8, in front of 6,150 fans at Vounteer Stadium.
Brian Godoy’s pinch-hit grand slam tied the score at 8-8, and Andrew Biancardi hit a two-run homer three batters later that proved to be the game winner.
“(North Carolina pitcher David Morgan) put one right where I like it, and I hit it,” Godoy said.
Godoy went in to pinch run earlier in the inning, but was called back by Anderson to hit. It was a role he was not expecting to fill.
“I thought I was just going to run,” he said. “I was surprised when he told me to hit, but I was ready.”
The 8-4 deficit wasn’t the first one California encountered on Sunday. The boys from Aptos were down 4-1 in the third, but battled back just like they did in the fourth.
Justin Burns led off the inning with a walk and later scored on Kyle Anderson’s RBI single to left-center. Kevin Eichhorn, who preceded Anderson’s single with one of his own, scored on a wild pitch one batter later. Anderson scored California’s third run of the inning on third baseman Chad Gentry’s fielding error, which allowed the ball to roll into left field.
Anderson never was concerned about the mountains his team had to climb.
“We were hitting the ball pretty well,” he said. “The kids believed they were hitting the ball well and would continue to hit the ball well.
“It is a cliché, but it was a total team effort. It’s not just one guy. This is most unbelievable team I’ve ever seen.”
North Carolina took its 8-4 lead in the top half of the fourth after Alex Robertson and Christopher Sanders belted back-to-back home runs. It was Sanders’ second home run of the game.
Tyler Raymond relieved California starter Kyle Anderson after the back-to-back bombs, and held North Carolina scoreless for the remaining two and one-third innings.
“I don’t throw anywhere specific,” Raymond said. “I just throw.”
North Carolina started off hot, putting together a rally in the top half of the first that produced the game’s first two runs. After a lead-off groundout, Michael DeLuca and Alex Robertson each had singles to leftfield. Both runners then moved up one base on a wild pitch. Two pitches later, DeLuca scored on a passed ball while Robertson advanced to third. After a walk to Christopher Sanders, David Morgan hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop Andrew Biancardi. The throw home beat Robertson, but catcher Drew McCauley missed the tag.
“I have to admit I’m disappointed, especially when you have a four-run lead,” said North Carolina head coach John Scott. “But (California) earned it. They hit the ball hard all game.”
The Clemmons kids will take on Kentucky for their final game in pool play Tuesday night at Lamade Stadium. California will square off against Harlem, New York, in their pool play finale Tuesday afternoon at Lamade.