Lansing Reds battle back from multiple deficits to capture zone tourney title
That's all the Lansing Reds could do entering the final inning of its zone tournament championship Wednesday.
Trailing 9-6 to the Kansas Senators of Topeka, the Reds had three outs to either score three runs for a tie, or win the whole darn thing with four.
The frame started with nothing but belief in each other, and it ended in celebration. Following a RBI single from Gabe Burgoon and another score off a wild pitch, Sage Herrera stepped to the plate.
After seeing a couple pitches, he lofted a short pop-up behind first base. The Senators' second baseman raced over, rested underneath the ball, yet lost it in the sky.
The ball then fell harmlessly in fair territory and the Reds' equalizer crossed home plate moments later. Herrera then stole second and third. Two walks later, the Lansing catcher raced home when a wild pitch clamored to the backstop.
Topeka was late to react and in unbelievable fashion, the Reds secured a 10-9 victory and a 2013 American Legion “A” Zone 2 title.
“We told the kids to keep fighting all game,” Lansing coach Mike Williams said. “Never give up and just believe in each other and the kids did that. I'm real proud of them.”
In two prior days of tourney games, the Reds went unblemished to enter Wednesday's finale undefeated. However, that momentum quickly dissipated when Topeka posted four runs in the first and two in the second.
Despite the slow start, back came the Reds and with solo runs in the second and fourth, plus four big ones in fifth, Lansing had evened the game at 6-6.
It wasn't going to be that easy though.
The Senators answered with three of their own in the sixth and found themselves within three outs of taking the win in the bottom of the seventh.
But it wasn't meant to be as Lansing's team resiliency shown too bright.
“This was a team win, no doubt about it,” Williams said. “No individual stood out. We just fought and clawed together and walked away winners.”
Lansing will now play in the American Legion “A” State Tournament next week with starting times, location and match-ups to be announced.