FARMINGTON — Offenses came alive in Game 20 of the Connie Mack World Series as the East Cobb Yankees outdueled the Southern California Renegades 12-6 in extra innings Thursday night at Ricketts Park.
Both squads left the bases loaded in the seventh inning — East Cobb in the top of the inning and the Renegades in the bottom.
"There's an old saying in baseball that when you have a chance to win it and you don't, it's going to come back and bite you," East Cobb coach James Beavers said. "We had a chance in the top of the top of the (seventh) inning, they had a chance in the bottom of the inning."
After the Yankees (53-5) left the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, the Renegades (42-7-2) had three players on with one out in the bottom half of the inning. A fielder's choice put up the second out, saving a run. With the bases still loaded, SoCal's JT Navarro hit a deep fly into the gap in left center that looked like it was going to drop for the hit and end the game. But East Cobb center fielder Kyle Jacobsen tracked down the ball for the out to keep East Cobb alive.
Beavers said Jacobsen's catch was the play of the game. After the play, he said, the Yankees' dugout let out a collective sigh of relief.
The Yankees, from Marietta, Ga., carried the momentum to the top of the eighth, getting back-to-back RBI singles from Carter Kieboom and Jacobsen to take an 8-6 lead. Then Joey Bark came up with a shot down the first-base line that extended the East Cobb lead to 10-6.
East Cobb wasn't done, though. In the next at-bat, Tucker Maxwell knocked a two-run home run over the right field wall to make it 12-6 Yankees.
"We had the top part of the lineup coming up, and we've been swinging the bat pretty well," Beavers said of the Yankees as they entered the eighth inning. "Joey Bart and Boom (Carter Kieboom). What more can you say about Boom? He's been squaring everything up. We're just glad to get the win. It was a hell of a game."
Kieboom finished with three hits and two RBIs, including the go-ahead RBI in the top of the eighth.
Bart matched Kieboom's plate performance, finishing with three hits and two RBIs.
Mistakes played a big part in SoCal's loss as the Renegades committed five errors.
"We made a couple errors and had a chance to win it in the seventh. We just didn't get it done," SoCal coach Si Pettrow said. "They did the right things, made the plays they needed and made the play when they needed to. That's why they won, and they're the better team today."
It was a back-and-forth game leading up to the seventh. After SoCal took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third, there were lead changes every half inning until the end of the fifth.
With the win, East Cobb advances to the finals, and the Renegades are eliminated. At 8 p.m. Friday at Ricketts Park, the Yankees will face the winner of Friday's 5:15 p.m. game between the Midland Redskins (43-4) and Prairie Gravel (27-6-2).
"I think they're excited about being here (Friday). We've talked about it all year, playing on the last day," Beavers said. "The whole goal in baseball — no matter what level you're at, from the first day of spring training — you want to still be playing on the last day of the season."
East Cobb Yankees
Leading batters: Carter Kieboom, 2 1B, 2B, 2 RBIs; Joey Bart, 2 1B, 2B, 2 RBIs
WP: Justin Evans
Southern California Renegades
Leading batter: JT Navarro, 1B, BB, RBI
LP: Izzy Fuentes