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“We had the bases loaded twice with one out today, and that probably was the difference in a 4-3 ballgame,” Port Angeles coach Rob Merritt said.
“We’re really excited and really proud of the kids and the way they fought every element down here, with the travel and heat and rain.”
Port Angeles took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning on a two-out-two-strike homer run by Lucas Jarnagin that brought home Tyler Bowen.
Tulare tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth when a batter walked, moved forward on a passed ball and scored on a single to right field.
Tulare took the lead for good on a two-run homer later in the bottom of the fifth.
Port Angeles’ Tanner Lunt tried to get a rally going, opening the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run to center field, but Tulare struck out the next three batters to close out the game.
Port Angeles finished with a 3-4 record at the World Series.
They won the Cal Ripken state championship and the Pacific Northwest Regional championship in July.
“We never really did play as well as we had been playing [earlier in the summer],” Merritt said.
“We had some spurts and our guys battled through it.
“And now if they ever go to something like this again, they know what they are getting themselves into.”
Merritt was particularly impressed with his team’s home-run hitting prowess.
“I want to say we are around 44 or 45 home runs for the summer, and that’s just a crazy total,” Merritt said.
He was also impressed by the talent on display at the World Series.
“You really see better pitching here, and as we know, good pitching can shut down good hitting,” Merritt said.
“The pitchers are hitting the mid-to-upper 60s, maybe some touching the low 70s.”
“Everybody can be a fastball hitter, but these guys brought some secondary pitches and that made it tough.”
The team plans to fly home from Florida early this morning.
Port Angeles’ Sarah Methner is arranging a welcome home event for the team at the Civic Field parking lot between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. tonight.
Methner said members of the Port Angeles Police and Fire departments plan to welcome the team back to town with lights, sirens and plenty of community support.