Midland storms back to Connie Mack three-peat
FARMINGTON – The Midland Redskins rose from the ashes of consolation play, reminding the amateur baseball world of their Connie Mack World Series championship pedigree.
They fought and scrapped all week to stay on the mountaintop, beating the Southern California Renegades twice (5-4 in eight innings in Game 1, 9-2 in nine innings in Game 2) today for a CMWS three-peat and title No. 16.
“It’s amazing. I haven’t been on a team like this my whole life,” center fielder Bryce Matthews said. “We never give up, no matter what the outcome is. We wanted it. We knew we had to play them twice today. We just gave it our all.”
In the top of the eighth inning in Game 1, with SoCal only one win away from the title, Matthews beat the throw to the home plate and scored the go-ahead run.
“Every time something goes good, everybody’s loud and obnoxious, just enjoying the moment. Once I scored, I had a feeling we were going to win that game,” said Matthews.
Matthews felt the momentum shift in Midland’s favor as the afternoon progressed, and rightfully so.
Again tied in extra inning during Game 2 (2-2 in the top of the ninth), Midland’s offense roared.
Jaret Godman’s two-run single started breaking the game open, and Andrew Pinckney put the finishing touches on Midland’s comeback by crushing a two-run shot over the left field wall, flipping his bat to the Midland dugout’s delight.
Once Midland got the final out in the bottom of the ninth, pandemonium ensued at the pitcher’s mound.
“Everyone wanted it as bad as the guy next to them did. We just found a way to do it both games. We just grinded every at-bat, didn’t give any at-bat away,” said Godman, who was named the CMWS tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Just four days earlier on Tuesday, Midland was in danger of going home early after losing 10-6 to the Colton Nighthawks in the second round of the winner's bracket.
“We just flipped a switch and ended up grinding through the whole tournament,” Godman said.
Midland kept grinding and fighting, all the way to the championship series, still needing two wins over SoCal.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.