Dramatic Win Puts TJC In Championship Game - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/22/07

Dramatic Win Puts TJC In Championship Game

The TJC Apaches are a team of destiny.  At least it seemed that way tonight.  Every time it looked as if they were down and out, they would battle back, and in the end, they pulled out a miraculous 6-5 win. 

This was a game that was postponed Monday night after only a half an inning.  It was delayed again Tuesday until 7pm.  The starting and stopping seemed to throw off the Apaches rythm.  A hit by pitch, passed ball and error led to two Joliet runs in the top of the second.  The Apaches though, got a run back on a two-out rally in the bottom of the second.  They tied it with another run in the third.  It stayed that way until the 7th, when another error and bases loaded walk gave the Wolves the 3-2 lead.  In the bottom of the 8th, Jordan Rutenbar and Brock Lemire picked up timely hits, and Bud Kidder was intentionally walked to load the bases.  Mike McCollum was then hit by a pitch to force in the tying run.  Jose Molina followed with a high chopper to the right side, where the third baseman couldn't make a play.  Lemire scored the go ahead run.  So the Apaches entered the top of the 9th with the 4-3 lead.  Kyle Denney was brought in to close things out.  After a strike out and a walk, Billy Donaho booted a grounder to first that would have been the second out.  Instead, another walk by Denney loaded the bases with two outs.   With the home crowd on their feet and the Wolves down to their last strike, Tim Victor sticks his bat out and bloops a shot to the opposite field that drops in for a hit.  The crowd was stunned into silence as two runs scored to give the Wolves the 5-4 lead.  But TJC wasn't done.  After Davis Page's bloop single, Clint Stroud and Randall Moore struck out.  Now it was the Apaches down to their last strike.  With Page on second, Lemire crushed a shot to left center.  He threw his hands up thinking it was a game-winning two run homer.  But it died, giving the left fielder a shot at it.  He hesitated right before slamming into the wall, allowing the ball to drop in.  Page scored to tie it at 5-5.  A passed ball moved Lemire to third.  And on a 2-1 count, Kevin Els hit a screaming liner up the middle.  The ball went in and out of the shortstops glove, and Lemire scored from third with the game-winning run.  He was mobbed by teammates at the plate.  The Apaches had just pulled out the improbable 6-5 win to advance to the World Series Championship Game.

"These guys, I'm so proud to be their coach," Groth said afterwards.  "They never quit.  This is a classic battle.  It's one of the best games I've ever been associated with.  I've been around baseball for a long time.  This was absolutely an electric crowd and we drew so much energy all night from them.  Please come out Thursday at four and help us win a national title."

The Apaches must now wait for an opponent.  Because it's a true double elimination tournament, Joliet will play the winner of Wednesday afternoons game between Brookdale and Herkimer.  The winner of the Joliet game advances to Thursday's championship game.  A win by TJC and it's over.  But a TJC loss would force a final game Thursday night at 7pm.

Tickets for the 4pm TJC game Thursday are $5 for adults, $3 for students with and I.D., $2 for children 9-14, and free for children 8 and under.  Also, any Little League player in uniform gets in free! 

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