May 24, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorBoth the Dodgers and Cardinals won their games with their respective last swings of the bat.
Garrett Raymond and Alex Brown did what all baseball players dream of, whether playing wiffle ball in the backyard or standing in the on-deck circle of a major league ballpark.
On Tuesday at Saban Little League Complex, both stepped into the batter's box with the game on the line, only to drive in the winning run and be mobbed by joyous teammates -- king of the diamond -- if for only a moment.
Raymond and Brown shared that crown, as each came through in the clutch with respective walk-off hits in their team's victories, with the Dodgers beating the Tigers, 9-8, in seven innings, and the Cardinals defeating the Rockies, 2-1.
However, one took quite a bit longer to develop.
On the northwest field, the Dodgers and Tigers engaged in a back-and-forth slugfest, which lasted until the lights were already beginning to take effect on the field, while the contest on the southwest side of the park was played crisply in under two hours while the sun still blazed in the western sky.
The Tigers opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the second, as Nathan Mills and Sean Carruth came around to score after drawing walks.
But, the Dodgers struck for six runs in the bottom of the second inning on the strength of back-to-back-to-back bases-on-balls, followed by a hit batter, allowing Austyn Marques, Justin Newberry, Zander Hinckley and Sean Smith to cross the plate for the Big Blue Wrecking Crew to take a 6-2 lead.
Christopher Reinig connected for a home run in the fifth inning to go with another run scored by Tyler Sheets, and it was 8-5 after five innings of play.
The proceedings really heated up in the form of a Tigers fightback, fueled by three runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game 8-8.
Nathan Holloway led off the frame with a single, then stole a pair of bases before scoring on a double by Nathan Hutchison, who later scored along with Tanner Reinig.
The Dodgers threatened in the bottom of the sixth, only for the potential game-winning run to be thrown at at the plate when Raymond was tagged by Hutchinson in a cloud of dust around the dish, which meant extra innings were required.
The Tigers failed to score in the top of the seventh, then it was the Dodgers' turn for late-inning heroics in the bottom of the frame.
Casey Crippen led off with a single, followed by consecutive walks by Hernandez and Pehton Truempler to load the bases for Raymond, who was already 3-for-3 to that point in the contest.
Raymond worked the count to 2-1 before unloading on the next offering, sending a frozen rope to deep left field, which one-hopped the fence and cleared the bases for a walk-off double and a 9-8 victory.
Cardinals 2, Rockies 1
On the southwest field earlier in the evening, it was Brown who played the role of hero for the Cardinals in a stirring 2-1 win against the Rockies, with a walk-off single to drive in Carter Noseep with the game-winner in the bottom of the sixth inning.
However, it was the Rockies who struck in the first inning after Ryan Florence banged a base hit, then scored on a double by Uriah Hines for a quick 1-0 lead.
It was the only run of the game until the bottom of the fifth, when the Cardinals' Garret Neil singled, then scored on a single by Jason Vincent to deadlock the game at 1-1.
After the Rockies failed to break the stalemate in the top of the sixth, the Cardinals came to bat with the chance to claim victory.
Noseep doubled with one out, then was driven in by Brown on an 0-2 pitch, providing the Cardinals with the win.
Tigers 0 2 1 0 2 3 0 -- 8
Dodgers 0 6 0 2 0 0 1 -- 9
Tigers - T. Reinig, 1-4; C. Reinig, 2-4, HR; Sheets, 0-2, 2 BB; Stanley, 0-3; Mills, 1-3, BB; Carruth, 0-2; Holloway, 1-3; Hanger, 0-2; Hutchison, 1-3, 2B.
Dodgers - Hernandez, 0-2, 3 BB; Truempler, 0-2, 3 BB; Raymond, 4-4, 2B; Frazier, 1-3, 2B; Murray, 0-2, 2 BB; Marques, 0-2, 2 BB; Newberry, 1-3, Crippen, 1-2; Hinckley, 0-3; Smith, 0-1.
Rockies 1 0 0 0 0 0 -- 1
Cardinals 0 0 0 0 1 1 -- 2
Rockies - DeVries, 1-2; Chatfield, 2-3; Florence, 1-2, Draper, 0-1; Hines, 1-2, 2B; Anderson, 0-3; Weber, 2-3, 3B; Stevens, 1-3, 2B; Amechi, 0-2; Murfitt, 0-1; Farnier, 0-1.
Cardinals - Neil, 2-3; Vincent, 2-3; Hauck, 2-3; S. Brown, 0-3; Noseep, 2-3, 2B; Tophaum 0-1; A. Brown, 1-1; Coons, 0-2; Saltsgaver 0-2; Mason, 0-2.
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