Jun 22, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorBlake Dale struck out 10 and Ethen Vaughn drove in four runs in a victory over the Giants.
Johnny Hilder stood at the plate with two outs in the top of the seventh inning on Wednesday evening at Riverton Babe Ruth Field with the bases full of Giants teammates, brimming with confidence, having launched a long home run is his previous at-bat and the season on the line.
Blake Dale stood on the mound, illuminated by late-afternoon sunshine as he gripped the ball and looked in for the sign before delivering a 1-1 pitch.
Dale unleashed a fastball which eluded catcher Ethen Vaughn and rolled away just far enough for the Giants' Ian Carruth to break from third.
However, Dale quickly covered home, received a pinpoint throw from Vaughn and applied the tag to a sliding Carruth, ending the game and the season for both clubs in the process in a 16-11 Yankees victory which secured third place for the Bombers in the Fremont County Babe Ruth tournament.
The final play of the contest was a microcosm of a wild affair which see-sawed back and forth with both squads fighting to save their respective seasons with a win after each had been defeated in opening-round action.
Each team plated a pair of runs in the first inning, with the Giants striking first against Yankees starter Derick Lange.
Leadoff man Dalten Leach singled to left to begin the frame, but was quickly erased on a Paxton Rees fielder's choice before himself advancing to second on a Damon DeVries popup.
Hilder walked, leaving runners on first and second with two outs for Cameron Kazzee, who tripled to right, bringing home Rees and Hilder for a 2-0 lead.
But, the Yankees rebounded in the bottom half of the first.
Trey Draper banged a base hit, then was balked to second by pitcher Leach before scampering home on a Vaughn single to immediately halve the deficit.
After advancing to second on a walk to Lange, Vaughn took matters into his own hands, stealing third, then home to tie the score before the inning ended and it was game on.
The Giants were undaunted by the Yankees' fightback, going on to score five runs in the second inning, highlighted by a DeVries double which scored a pair, making it 7-2.
The teams traded a run apiece the next two half-innings before the Yankees landed the big blow of the battle, plating seven in the third to gain a 10-8 advantage and a lead they would never relinquish.
Jared Lucas, Draper, Dale and Caleb Crowley all contributed run-scoring hits to the cause during the onslaught.
One final highlight came for the Giants in the top of the sixth, when Hilder sent a Dale offering well over the right-field fence out onto Major Avenue, with the towering drive taking a king-sized hop off the asphalt before bounding into the residential area across the street.
However, during Hilder's next plate appearance was when the Giants' season ended on the failed attempted steal of home.
Vaughn drove in four runs for the Yankees, while Dale added three RBI with Hilder and Kazzee each driving home a pair of runs for the Giants.
On the mound, Dale struck out 10 in four innings of work to close the game.
On Friday, the Braves will face the Angels in the championship game at Riverton Babe Ruth Field at 6 p.m.
Giants 2 5 1 1 0 2 0 -- 11
Yankees 2 1 7 4 2 0 x -- 16
Giants - Leach, 2-5; Rees, 0-3; DeVries, 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Hilder, 1-3, HR, 2 RBI; Kazzee, 1-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Cousineau, 0-2; Stover, 1-3; Carruth, 1-2; Olheiser, 0-4.
Yankees - Draper, 2-3, 2B, RBI; Vaughn, 1-4, 4 RBI; Dale, 1-4, 3 RBI; Lange, 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Crowley, 2-5; Goff, 2-3; Graham, 0-4; Lucas, 1-4; Hanger, 0-2.
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