FARMINGTON — The Southern California Renegades struggled to generate any offense, but Brock Lundquist changed that with one swing of the bat.
Lundquist's solo home run to lead off the fifth inning sparked the Renegades as they came back to defeat D-BAT Leach 4-2 in Thursday's Connie Mack World Series elimination game at Ricketts Park.
Southern California entered the bottom of the fifth inning trailing 1-0, but Lundquist turned on a 2-2 fastball and deposited it over the left field wall.
"I got a good look at a fastball," Lundquist said. "Then the team came up behind me and put us in the lead. The feeling was amazing that inning."
Lundquist's blast provided the Renegades with a jolt of energy as the next three batters came up with base hits.
Joe Prior followed the home run with a single and advanced to third after a double by Darren Miller.
Renegades leadoff hitter Frankie Rios then gave Southern California a 2-1 lead with a single to score Prior
Southern California tacked on another run during the inning when Miller scored on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Patzlaff.
Renegades head coach Si Pettrow credited D-BAT starting pitcher Jake Elliott for keeping the Renegades' bats silent for the first four innings.
"Their pitcher did a great job keeping us off balance, and they got some great infield play," Pettrow said. "Brock broke the ice, then the other kids started to come through."
D-BAT opened the scoring in the top of the second inning with a leadoff home run by Niko Buentello, then threatened to add to the lead in the third inning after Southern California's starting pitching Chris Castellanos walked the first two batters. Pettrow was forced to go to his bullpen and bring in reliever Chris Dixon.
"He was going to pitch tomorrow," Pettrow said of Dixon. "We thought C.C. (Castellanos) would do a good job, but he couldn't get the ball down. We still have four or five guys who haven't pitched, so we'll be fine."
Dixon came on and threw four scoreless innings of relief before allowing a run in the seventh inning.
"It was one of the biggest outings of my life," Dixon said. "I was just trying to throw strikes."
Lundquist gave Dixon a little more breathing room with his second home run of the game in the bottom of the sixth, pushing the Southern California lead to 4-1.
"I'm going up there and thinking the same thing -- get a fastball," Lundquist said. "I just found a way to drive it out of here."
D-BAT scored a run in the seventh, but the rally fell short and they were eliminated by the 2012 CMWS champions.
"These kids had blast. Obviously, we're disappointed because our expectation was to win this," said D-BAT head coach Pat Leach. "It's the best group of kids I've had, and you can't beat the experience of playing in front of these crowds. We wanted to bring a little more to this tournament but came up a little short."
Southern California advances to face the East Cobb Yankees for the championship today.
After a loss to East Cobb on Wednesday, the Renegades will need to beat the Yankees twice to repeat as CMWS champions.
The Renegades are no strangers to sweeping a doubleheader to win the title, though. They accomplished the feat to win the 2012 championship.
"We're built on playing doubleheaders every day, so it doesn't bother us," Pettrow said. "We got a chance to play for the championship, and we'll leave it all on the field."