A week of rain, heat and baseball came down to one inning. Despite committing five errors, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania was able to erase a three-run deficit to walk away with the 2016 Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series Title.
Early on, the game had the makings of a higher-scoring affair. Mifflin County took the lead in the first, but could have had a lot more. Their first three hitters walked, but a run-scoring double play and a strikeout limited the damage to one run.
This left Hawaii in an unusual position as they hadn’t trailed at any point during the tournament.
The bigger mistakes for Mifflin County came in the top of the third. After a hit batter, a sacrifice bunt and Mifflin’s third error of the game, Hawaii had runners on the corners and one out. Hawaii’s Jaron Yoshikane delivered a single to left field. It took a crazy hop that brought in not only Jayton Pang but also Michael Yamaguchi, who hustled around second to score to give Pearl City a three run lead.
However, the game started to turn for Mifflin County in the bottom of the third. Trailing 3-1, Colby Bodtorf singled to left and advanced on a free pass to Brian Yetter. Brycen Hassinger’s single to right quickly cut Hawaii’s deficit to one.
After Yetter posted the game-tying run on a Hawaii error, Hassinger hit home on Casey Conner’s RBI single to right.
Then in the sixth inning there was the shot heard around the world – or at least in Hawaii and Pennsylvania. Casey Connor belted a 320 foot solo homer to right center to put Mifflin County up 5-3. This insurance run gained importance in the top of the seventh.
Trailing 5-3 in the top of the seventh, Hawaii loaded the bases. But Mifflin County’s Colby Botdorg struck out Lee Matsuzaki to preserve the win and claim the title.
The conventional wisdom says the team which makes the fewest mistakes will win the championship. For Mifflin County, however, winning the Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series meant finding ways to overcome their mistakes.