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Rookies Walk-Off Naturals For July C 16U Title

The 2017 HSBN Boys of Summer July C 16U champion Hof-Fitz Rookies.

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Most every ball player has envisioned what they will do should they ever come to the plate with a chance to win the game. Monday night Hof-Fitz Rookies infielder Alex Maya realized that moment and delivered a hero’s result, smacking the winning hit in the bottom of the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and down to their final out, Maya controlled his hands and swung cleanly through the ball to drive it deep into the right-center field gap to clear the bases and lift the Rookies to a 10-9 walk-off win over the Hof-Fitz Naturals, in the HSBN Boys of Summer July C 16U championship at Len Koch Field.

The Rookies (3-0) entered the final frame trailing by three runs. Tyler Novick got it going with a single on a liner to left field, but was erased on a fielder’s choice in which Aiden Williams just beat the throw at first. Ethan Zimmerman and Quentin Hensel were both hit by pitches that loaded the bases, and Shane Keleher worked an RBI walk to push the first run of the inning across. Two batters later, Maya came up and delivered the hit of his dreams to end the game and earn the tournament title.

Both teams also earned a berth into the Boys of Summer Champions Tournament at the end of July.

Were it not for the selflessness of one teammate, the outcome likely would have been different. With the game time nearly reaching its limit with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Brice Montiel sacrificed himself on the first pitch for the final out that left enough time on the clock to start the seventh inning and afford the Rookies three more outs to mount their rally.

The Naturals (1-1) took advantage of that maneuver by adding two more runs in the top of the seventh to stretch a close lead into a three-run advantage. Nick Pompile walked, Kyle Morse singled and Alejandro De La Vega also walked to load the bases. Judson Cheek lined the ball over the leaping second baseman to drive in two runners for a 9-6 lead.

The Rookies closed out the inning by turning a 7-6 double play on a liner to left field, their third double play of the contest.

Four runs in the top of the fourth helped put the Naturals in control right away. Matias Munoz walked and DJ Glasgow singled to immediately put some ducks on the pond. Landon Moore then reached on an error that loaded the bases, and Morse drew an RBI walk that put the Naturals on the scoreboard. De La Vega followed with a gap-shot that drove in two more runs, before setting off a successful double-steal that brought Morse home from third base.

Montiel got the scoring going for the Rookies to get a run back in the bottom of the first. He connected for a gap-shot to nearly the same part of the field that served him so well later on, pulling up for a double before coming in on an RBI single through the right side from Williams.

Colby Collins walked and scored on an error to extend the lead for the Naturals in the fourth, before the Rookies put up five runs to take a 6-5 lead. Keleher was hit by a pitch and Jake Fagan reached on a fielder’s choice, before walks to Maya and Jacob Mays got a run in. Ben Destin then delivered a two-RBI single through the right side, before finding himself at third following a walk to Montiel and an RBI walk to Williams. Destin then timed things up, broke down the third base line and successfully stole home for the go-ahead run.

The Naturals answered immediately to take the momentum right back, scoring two runs in the top of the fifth. Glasgow was hit by a pitch and later scored on a throwing error, and Chris McKenna singled and later scored off a wild pitch for a 7-6 lead.

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