With one swing of the bat, Brian Engell changed the fortunes of the Fairfield Yankees against the Ridgecrest Desert Dawgs.
Engell's grand slam home run capped a six-run rally in the fourth inning and sparked Fairfield to an 8-7 win over Ridgecrest on Friday at Governor's Field in the USABA Baseball World Series.
Center fielder Jon Foisy got Ridgecrest off to a promising start against Fairfield when he nailed a runner trying to go from second to third on a fly ball for a double play.
Tyler Criner, who had three hits, gave Ridgecrest a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI double. Tyler Kratz made it 2-0 in the second when he belted a homer and Criner's solo shot in the third gave Ridgecrest a 3-0 lead.
But Billy Gustiven's homer began Fairfield's rally in the fourth. Ben Nelson's RBI double cut Fairfield's deficit to 3-2, setting the stage for Engell, who launched a shot over the right centerfield scoreboard to make it 6-3.
Foisy's solo shot in the bottom of the fourth pulled Ridgecrest to within 6-4. But two Ridgecrest throwing errors in the fifth allowed a run to score and gave Fairfield a 7-4 lead. Ridgecrest pitcher Matt Freese prevented any more damage when he escaped a jam after the bases were loaded with one out.
Ridgecrest came back to tie the score in the bottom of the fifth on James Eastham's two-run double and Freese's RBI single. Ridgecrest had a chance to take the lead when it still had runners at first and third with no outs. But Fairfield pitcher Kevin Snow escaped the jam without any further damage.
Engell scored the winning run in the sixth when he singled and scored on another throwing error to give Fairfield an 8-7 lead.
Danny Eastham, Freese and Foisy all had two hits for Ridgecrest. Snow pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three for the win.
TRIPLE PLAY 7, RIDGECREST 5
Ridgecrest was the victim of another grand slam, this time by Triple Play's Andy Schmuck.
While Schmuck's grand slam turned the game around, it was a little ball that ultimately gave Triple Play the win. Triple Play broke a 5-5 tie with two runs in the sixth. Jason Clack executed a suicide squeeze that scored Tyler Jacobsen to give Triple Play a 6-5 lead.
Foisy tripled and scored in the first and James Eastham walked and scored in the second to give the Desert Dawgs a 2-0 lead. but Schmuck's grand slam came during a five-run fourth that gave Triple Play a 5-2 lead.
In the fifth, Casey Groves singled and Criner doubled to pull Ridgecrest to within 5-3. In the sixth, Steve Kittrell, who had two hits, singled and Kratz doubled. Criner followed with a two-run single to tie the score 5-5.