Corning slips past Manila 5-4 in regional final
Corning proved to be a thorn in the side of Manila once again Monday afternoon when they squeezed past the Lions 5-4 in the finals of the 3A Regional Championship. It was the second time in a week Corning defeated Manila, having beaten the Lions in last week’s district semifinals at Lake City.
Manila jumped on top with two runs in the first, but the Bobcats quickly answered with a pair of runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. Corning took the lead for good with a run in the second inning, and tacked on single runs in the fifth and sixth to take a 5-2 advantage going into the seventh inning of play. Manila rallied for two runs in the final frame, but fell short as the Bobcats claimed the regional crown.
Winning pitcher Sammy Smith limited the Lions to just two hits, one an RBI single by Brett Sweatman, while Jeremiah Perez had Manila’s only other base knock. Brock Birmingham scored a pair of runs. Sweatman finished 1-1 and was intentionally walked three times.
Ethan Navarro absorbed the loss, working six innings, giving up four runs, all earned, on six hits. Navarro struck out six and issued four walks. Sweatman pitched one inning, giving up one earned run on one hit.
Manila vs. Riverside
The Lions advanced to the finals with a 6-4 victory over conference rival Riverside earlier in the day. Sweatman smashed a pair of solo homers while Abraham Lopez picked up the win on the mound.
Riverside held a 1-0 lead after the first inning on Gavin Stone’s base hit. The Lions answered when Sweatman crushed a leadoff homer in the top of the second. Manila scored four runs in the third with the help of a Rebel error and a pair of wild pitches. Lopez had the big hit in the inning, a two-run single.
Larry Tilley sliced the Lion lead to 5-2 when he slammed a solo homer over the left field fence in the bottom of the third. Tilley struck again in the sixth inning when he hammered a two-run homerun, this time over the centerfield wall, some 350 feet from home plate, closing the gap to 6-4. The Rebels threatened to score more, loading the bases with one out, but a double play ended the threat.
Sweatman homered again in the top of the seventh, and shutout the Rebels in the bottom of the inning to pick up the save.
Lopez pitched 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win. The freshman hurler gave up four runs, all earned, on seven hits. Lopez struck out three and walked three. Sweatman worked the final inning and two-thirds, allowing no hits and no runs, striking out one and walking three.
Stone took the loss, pitching three innings. The Rebel ace allowed five runs, just one earned, gave up five hits, struck out five and walked two. Dillon Turner pitched the final four innings, giving up one run on three hits.
Sweatman finished 2-4 with two homers, two RBI and three runs scored. Abraham Lopez went 3-4 with two RBI. Michael Jorgensen had a pair of hits and scored a run. Brock Birmingham singled and scored once. Brady Clark scored one run.
Tilley led the Rebels at the plate, going 3-4 with a pair of homers, three RBI and two runs scored. Braden Overman delivered an RBI single while Matthew Fraser doubled and scored a run. Stone and Izzy Garcia both singled.
Riverside vs. Clinton
In the third-place game, Riverside battered Clinton 12-1. Tilley blasted his third homerun of the day and fourth of the regional to lead the Rebel offense. Tilley added a double, drove in four runs, and scored twice. Dillon Turner had a pair of hits and drove in two while Overman singled twice, had an RBI, and scored a run. Cannon Smith went 2-3 with two runs scored. Stone had an RBI single and scored twice. Preston Nichols and Charlie McClure both singled and scored a run apiece. Garcia had an RBI and scored twice while Fraser scored a run.
McClure pitched four shutout innings of two-hit ball to earn the win. Fraser pitched the final inning, giving up one run on one hit.