JAMESTOWN, NY - The thing about raising smart kids from the Columbia Basin is that they could do the math prior to Wednesday’s final pool play game with the Ohio Valley region champions from Crown Point, Ind.
The River Dogs (2-2) needed Mobile, Ala., to beat Williamsport, Penn., by nine runs or more and they had to shut out Crown Point (0-4) to earn the third seed in the National pool to advance to the bracket.
When the Rawdogs, who won their previous three games by a 28-2 ratio, clinched the National No. 1 seed with a 5-4 victory, the River Dogs weren’t going anywhere, win or lose.
The thing about raising great kids in the Columbia Basin is that they showed enough pride in what they do to go out and win the final game of the season 5-4 to wrap up their 2018 Babe Ruth League World Series.
“We did the math and we knew before the game our tournament was over, because of the result of the Alabama-Williamsport game. They beat everybody by 10 and the one game we need them to win by 10, they didn’t,” Josh Williams said in a telephone interview. “Even though we knew going in, we didn’t want to finish with a loss, which is just a bad feeling.
“Winning didn’t mean much in the standings, but it meant something to us.”
Dax Lindgren from Moses Lake had a phenomenal World Series. The left-handed power hitter that was all-Big Nine for the Chiefs, stroked a triple to drive in a run to spearhead a three-run fourth inning. Tristan Garland, Connell, drove in two more runs and the River Dogs took their first and only lead of the game at 3-1.
Where the night before against Onondaga, NY, where the lead changed hands four times in the first six innings in the eight-inning game. The River Dogs took the lead in the fourth and held on for the win, scoring five runs on nine hits.
Vance Alvarado started for Columbia Basin. The right-hander allowed one run and scattered four hits, striking out one and walking one over four innings. Peter Aspholm allowed four hits and three runs in two innings in relief and was credited with the win.
Duncan Favor and Jordan Rios came out of the bullpen and helped close things out when Crown Point closed to one run in the top half of the sixth. Favor got the last two outs to earn the save.
The Achilles heel proved to be an old friend, the River Dog defense. They got away with three errors in the final game of the tournament. But that very same defense that has been rock, solid all season cost them in the loss the night before, where they committed six errors against Onodaga, NY, in the extra-inning loss.
Had they won that game, they would have earned the No. 3 seed in the pool and remained on track to win their second national championship in the past four years.
“We made too many mistakes, plain and simple,” manager Randy Boruff said in a telephone interview. “I’m talking about baserunning mistakes. I’m talking about fielding errors and throwing errors. Defense is what got us here, but we didn’t play very well this week. We left too many people on base and didn’t hit the ball like we did at the regional tournament.
“I don’t want to sound overly critical, because it’s been a great summer and there’s some great teams here. But it all adds up when you’re playing at this level.”
Top three teams from each pool advance to the single elimination bracket, which begins on Thursday. The 2018 Senior Babe Ruth League World Series Championship will be decided on Saturday.