Yankees Split Two Games with Astros, Sammari Pope Launches a Three-run Homer
Somebody forgot to tell the Yankees that the game was basically over.
They didn’t believe it. The Yankees, the Jason Moore-coached Recreation League baseball team, was confronted with a three-run deficit in the bottom half of the last inning on Tuesday night in LaGrange.
The Yankees trailed the heavily-favored Astros, 96. The Yankees were three outs from losing. The Astros were three outs from winning.
For these two baseball teams, the ending was unscripted and highly unlikely. The Yankees, a team with a 2-5 record, beat the talent-laden Astros with a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Yankees walked off with a 10-9 win, thanks to their persistence and some great at-bats in the 11 to 12-year-old league. The Yankees got the rally underway with a Jack Moore infield single in the sixth inning. That was followed by a Parker Poe walk, and on the tail end of that was a three-run homer over the right field fence from Yankees first baseman and pitcher Sammari Pope.
That tied the game at 99. The Astros were agitated. The Yankees were doing what no one thought was possible. No one except Pope.
The Yankees had a point to prove and a game to win at the Harris Baseball Complex.
“We wanted the Astros. We got some good hits, and we played good defense,” said Pope.
The Yankees also hung the Astros out to dry with the Pope home run.
“I swung and hit the ball on the right spot. I think I hit a fastball,” said Pope.
That three-run drive was a no-doubter. There was more to come for the Yankees, including a Wes Williams single to right field and a Dawson Foster base hit. Williams would soon be the last base runner to score in the game.
He came in on an Astros wild pitch, giving the Yankees the 10-9 victory.
“We put in the effort. We had some hope,” said Williams.
The Yankees also got a three-run inside-the-park homer from Williams in the bottom of the first inning. And that was following a four-run explosion from the Astros in the top half of the first inning, with a Cooper Stephens RBI groundout and a Jared Loggins single included.
In the bottom of the second inning the Yankees would take their first lead of the game with a 5-4 advantage. The Yankees scored twice in the inning. It was “small ball” all the way with two walks, an Astros throwing error and an RBI groundout.
“We tried our hardest, and we put pressure on them,” said Yankees catcher Dawson Foster.
It was the Astros turn to wave the hitting stick in the third inning, however. The Astros tied the game at 5-5 with a Luke Taylor RBI triple. The Astros also had hits in that third inning from Cooper Stephens, Matthew Karvelas and Loggins.
The game was just getting started. In the bottom of the fifth the Yankees knocked the smiles off the faces of the Astros players. Hunter Garrett legged out an infield hit. Tanner Freeman came back with a run-scoring double to left field for a 6-5 Yankees lead.
There was more thunder in the top of the sixth inning. The Astros tried to put the game away with a four-run spurt and a 9-6 advantage. Stephens doubled in one run. Karvelas plated another run on a groundout.
But in the bottom of the sixth inning the Yankees even topped that with a game-winning rally led by Sammari Pope, Jack Moore, Parker Poe, Wes Williams and Dawson Foster.
They refused to lose.
“We beat the second place team (in the league),” said Foster.
The Astros did come back with a 6-5 win over the Yankees in the second game of the night. That contest was the completion of a game, which began earlier this season. The seventh and final inning was played on Tuesday night.
Second baseman Matthew Karvelas and the Astros broke a 5-5 tie in short order. It was a case of some more “small ball.” Karvelas singled in the bottom of the seventh and would soon score the winning run on a Yankees throwing error.
So, the Astros won the second game and gained a doubleheader split against the vastly improved Yankees.
“We hit the ball and got on base,” said Karvelas.
The Astros also kicked their 6-3 record down the road.
“We stole some bases. We kept our head up and kept fighting,” said Astros head coach Rusty Taylor.
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