|10U AAYBA World Series - Team Mizuno vs Texas Barracudas|
By Robert Thomas
FLOWER MOUND -- The top half of the 10 and Under Platinum 'A' Division semifinals provided plenty of excitement between Team Mizuno Houston (Texas) and the Texas Barracudas (Cypress, Texas), with the Barracudas capping an amazing comeback in their last at-bat for a 7-6 win at the AAYBA World Series at Bakersfield Park.
The Barracudas trailed 6-0 after two-plus innings, but would score the final seven runs of the game to reach the Platinum 'A' Division title game. They will face SIII All Out (Corpus Christi, Texas) in the finals, set for 8 p.m. on Saturday.
"Our guys didn't get their heads down after being down early and we just kept fighting," said Texas Barracudas coach Mark Baker. "These kids have done such this summer and we're happy to be playing in the championship game."
Getting to that title game nearly forced extra innings, as Team Mizuno relied on some trickery to keep the Barracudas off the board in the last inning.
With the score tied at 6-6, the Barracudas appeared to have the game in hand with a leadoff double by Cowser to start the bottom of the sixth inning. However, Team Mizuno pitcher Cade Longmire, infielder John Gilbert and outfielder Logan Kliafus executed a perfect "Hidden Ball" trick to tag Cowser out at third base.
Despite the bad break, the Barracudas rallied with a two-out walk and a stolen base by Kyle Gough (2-for-3) to set up the winning run. Jacob Crawford then punched a single to right, with Gough beating the throw home to end the game.
"Jacob got the job done at the plate and Kyle just kept coming around the bases." Baker said.
While the Barracudas won at the end, it didn't look good early as Team Mizuno scored six straight runs in the opening three innings for a 6-0 edge.
John Clay drove in Ryan Neu with a groundout in the first inning for Team Mizuno, with two more runs coming in the second on a booming home run by Daniel Valderama and an RBI grounder by Logan Mostert to score John Gilbert.
The third inning saw three more score for Team Mizuno, with two of those coming on a single by Chance Canizaro to plate Ruben Aguirre and Neu.
But back came the Barracudas in the bottom of the third, cutting the deficit to 6-1 when Garrett Grier was hit with a pitch with the bases loaded to force in Cole Blanton.
Three more runs followed in the fourth inning, with Cowser and Gough ripping RBI singles to carry the frame. Cowser then scored from third on a wild pitch to cut the Team Mizuno lead to 6-4.
In the fifth inning, a Blake Wilson groundout and a sacrifice fly by Jason Michaels knotted the score at 6-6 and helped set up the wild final inning.
Wilson also got the win on the mound in relief, retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he faced and striking out three in four innings.