By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — A walk-off balk on a 3-2 count lifted Swain’s to a 7-6 win over Athletes’ Choice in the Olympic Junior Babe Ruth championship game Thursday night at Volunteer Field.
“It’s great to end up on top,” Swain’s manager Eric Flodstrom said. “The kids worked hard, we didn’t play real clean today, but some kids came up big in clutch situations. We got so much better over the season.”
Flodstrom was a little disappointed his squad didn’t get the chance to punch in the winning run with a base hit.
“In the quintessential backyard baseball moment every boy dreams about, last inning, 3-2 count, winning run on third, I would like to get Parker [Nickerson] that last pitch and win it, rather than feel like we were given the title.”
Swain’s previously rallied from a 4-0 deficit. A Trenton Indelicato RBI single drove in Elisa Dujue to open the scoring in the first for Athletes’ Choice, and timely hitting by Indelicato, Zane Glassock and Landon Jones had Swain’s trailing.
Nickerson’s RBI double and an RBI singly by John Vaara cut Swain’s deficit in half, 4-2, after three innings.
Austin Seely’s two-run single tied the score after walks loaded the bases for Swain’s in the fifth.
A batter later, Tanner Jacobsen’s plated two more runners to give Swain’s the lead at 6-4.
Athletes’ Choice rallied to tie the game in its last at-bats.
A hit batter, a dropped third strike, several stolen bases by Elisha Dujue and Hunter Robinson, and a clutch two-out RBI single by Indelicato knotted the game up once more.
Swain’s defense came through in the top of the eighth, as James Burkhardt pulled off a double play after Athlete’s Choice’s Glassock doubled and moved to third on a Landon Jones single.
Burkhardt walked and stole two bases, putting the winning run on third for Swain’s.
After Flodstrom reached base, Nickerson battled to a 3-2 count and was poised for the payoff pitch when the game-winning balk was called.
Dujue and Robinson combined on the mound for Athlete’s Choice (8-7).
Vaara, Nickerson and Flodstrom split duties on the hill for Swain’s (13-2).