The outcome looked bleak for Bay County, Mich., as it entered its final at-bat in the opening game of the Pony League World Series trailing by four runs.
But experience is irreplaceable.
In its seventh straight trip to the Pony League World Series, Bay County took advantage of a pair of errors and two wild pitches to tie the game. Then, in the top of the eighth inning, Cole Prout launched a three-run homer 50 feet over the right-centerfield fence to give Bay County an extra-inning victory, 8-5, over Yaguate, Dominican Republic Saturday morning.
“I came back in after we scored those four runs and said, ‘Let’s just win this thing, 6-5. They did better than that,” Bay County coach Dan Revette said. “It’s big beating an international team, especially a team like that. They are good.”
Bay County advances to play Chinese Taipei at noon today in a winners’ bracket game. Yuguate will play Vienna, Austria in an elimination game at 5 p.m. today.
The home run by Prout lifted him out of a self-described drought after striking out in his first two plate appearances. Revette had Prout, Bay County’s leadoff hitter, bunt in the fifth inning to refocus his attention on watching the ball hit the bat.
“I was struggling a little bit,” Prout said. “But before I went up the final time, Blaise Millar told me that every at-bat is a new day. I went up there with that mentality, got a good pitch and swung. I really just couldn’t believe it.”
The home run spoiled Yuguate’s series debut, two innings after it scored four runs to take a 5-1 lead. Rikendy Martinez hit a run-scoring double to break a 1-1 tie, Erick Hernandez hit an RBI single and Cesar Garcia homered to right for two more runs that concluded the scoring in the sixth.
The lone scoring from Bay County prior to its four-run seventh inning was a solo home run by Micah Irrer in the second inning. In the four scoreless innings between its runs, Bay County stranded five baserunners.
“We left a lot of guys on base,” Revette said. “But for us it just hasn’t been one kid. It’s been all 15 of them. They just kept going.”
Yuguate had an opportunity for a walk-off victory when it loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning but failed to score. Bay County pitcher Colin Sackrider struck out two batters to extend the game into extra innings.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Prout said. “Whenever we get down, the game is never over. Today, that mindset paid off.”