Torrance beats Eau Claire for third place
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. – For the first couple of innings Saturday morning, Torrance, California looked like it had no interest in playing in the Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series consolation game.
But over the middle three innings, the Pacific Southwest Region champions hit the ball as well as any team all week.
And they were rewarded with a third-place finish.
Tsukasa Shimokawaji went 3 for 3 with a double and two runs scored to lead a 13-hit attack as Torrance beat Eau Claire, Wisconsin 10-4 at Diethrick Park.
California trailed 4-0 early, but scored all 10 of its runs and had all of its hits in the middle three innings.
Shimokawaji doubled to lead off the third inning and scored on an error; hit an RBI single before his pinch-runner Raveen Nair scored in the fourth inning; and singled before scoring again in the fifth inning.
In the fourth, Jay Flores and Anthony Guerra both singled with one out before Shimokawaji’s RBI single. Matthew Gonzalez followed with a sacrifice fly for the second out ahead of Jason Salmon’s RBI single that made it 4-4.
Torrance took the lead for good with a six-run fifth inning, benefiting from a pair of Eau Claire errors. Nori Mori led off with a hustle double to left-center field and went to third on Aiden Bui’s sacrifice bunt. Tadashi Tiomico then hit an RBI pop-fly single that fell in between two of Eau Claire’s outfielders.
After stealing second, Tiomico scored on an error that allowed Jacob Faamasino to reach first. Eau Claire’s Austin McGraw then relieved starter Aaron Gust and pinch-runner Noah Gomez stole second. Flores singled to left field to put runners at first and third. McGraw then picked off Flores for the second out, but Guerra hit an RBI single ahead of back-to-back singles by Shimokawaji and Gonzalez to load the bases.
Guerra then raced home on a wild pitch before a dropped fly ball down the right-field line allowed the final two runs to score.
Noah Sandoval – Torrance’s Ron Tellefsen Player of the Game – settled down after a four-run second inning to throw 6 1/3 innings of six-hit ball. He struck out just one, but retired 11 in a row at one point before walking Eau Claire’s Tyler Barrows with one out in the seventh inning.
Jaiden Hasanuma relieved and got the final two outs to secure the win.
NOTES: Zach Shipman, Ethan Prell, Aiden Pankratz and Aiden Becker – his team’s Ron Tellefsen Player of the Game – all had singles during a four-run second inning for Eau Claire. Pankratz’s hit drove in a run while Gavin Thompson also walked to force in a run for the Ohio Valley Region champion.