In the first five innings of the 2011 Big League World Series final game Wednesday in Easley, it seemed as if the South Carolina District 7 team had the title in the bag. The last two innings had the team and their fans on the edge of their seats.
The Puerto Rican team gave the Greenville team a run for its money in a close game that ended with District 7 winning, 9-7.
Puerto Rico, the BLWS champions in 2010, played a strong series of games this past week, remaining undefeated until Wednesday night.
"Obviously, for the first six innings, the game went exactly the way I wanted it to," District 7 coach Jeff Young said. "The last inning got away from us a little bit, but we were able to persevere and come back and get the big out that we needed."
District 7 scored the first three runs of the game in the top of the second inning, all unearned. In the top of the third, Weston Jackson and Corey Thompson scored two earned runs. Jay Lizanich added the fifth earned run in the top of the fourth.
Puerto Rico maintained a strong defense through most of the tournament, but committed several errors in the championship game.
"Puerto Rico brings an outstanding team with them every year," Young said.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Puerto Rico began to revive, scoring its first three runs of the game. Harold Diaz led the way with an earned run. Michael Perez followed suit with a strong home run. Kevin Siaca finished the inning off with an unearned run.
Down to the wire, Puerto Rico rallied for another four unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh. And with two outs on the board and two runners on base, it was anyone's game.
District 7's Glenn Batson fielded a fly ball for the final out.
"As a whole, the tournament was a great success," Young said.
Tournament director Jon Humphrey said he couldn't be happier with this year's turnout.
"It was awesome," Humphrey said. "We had great baseball, eight days worth of great baseball."