|(Aug. 19, 2012) -- Long Beach Pony Baseball has won the Pony League World Series, clinching the world championship yesterday (Aug. 18) by beating Chinese Taipei 9-7 in Washington, PA.
It's the second World Series title for LB Pony...and especially sweet after losing to Chinese Teipei last year (and finishing third). LB Pony won the World Series championship in 2008 and finished second in 2007.
Photo via WJPA.com
To hear the tense pitches leading up to the winning strike out (called by WJPA radio's Mike Uriah), click here. For World Series championship game details, see/hear WJPA.com's robust coverage, click here.
In a dispatch on the LB Pony website, Kirk Salaya writes:
Long Beach couldn't score in the 1st in our usual visitors position, even with Will Semonsen leading off with a single and Jacob Hughey getting a one out walk. We had the Horse, Jack Williford pitching and he got off to a rocky start as the umpire had a very tight strike zone, walking 2 in the first. We also made an error on what looked like a double play ball, but with the help of a rundown play to nab a runner at third, got out of the inning without giving up a run.
The second was one wild inning. Eddie Cervantes singled to lead off and Tanner Meckes beat out a dribbler down the third base line to put two on. Riley Dent walked to load the bases and Semonsen banged the first pitch in left center for a 2 run single and the early lead. Spencer Steer then unloaded a 3 run homer to right center that put LB up 5-0, a huge lead with our pitching. Unfortunately, we had an uncharacteristic bottom of the inning, making an error, walking one and hitting another batter. China then singled in a run, followed by a blast to left center for a grand slam homer and a very sudden 5-5 tie. After another base hit, Williford was replaced by Semonsen, who got us out of the inning.
Showing the heart of a champion, we came right back in the 3rd. Williford walked and Austin Logan came in to run for him. Griffin Keller sacrificed him to 2nd and he tagged and went to 3rd on a fly out. Bryan Smith had entered the game at third base when we made the pitching change (Steer sliding over to short) and he came to bat in a crucial spot. He worked the count a bit and then hit one out in right center for a huge 2 run homer and both the LB dugout and crowd went nuts as we went up 7-5.
In the 4th, we added to the lead as Semonsen had yet another single and Steer hit his second homer of the game and third of the series, easily clearing the fence in left center, pushing the lead to 9-5. China got one back in the bottom of the inning on a hit batter, single, fielders choice and sacrifice fly.
Semonsen was throwing strikes but the strong Chinese hitters kept the pressure on, getting two infield hits in the 5th, only to have LB get out of the jam. They came back in the 6th, getting two doubles, the second one scoring the runner even with a great throw from right by Hughey.
So we went to the 7th with a somewhat shaky 9-7 lead, looking to score some insurance runs, which we were unable to do. That left it up to Semonsen and the LB defense to shut them down and get the 3 outs needed for victory and the championship. With the Chinese lineup, a 2 run deficit could certainly be made up and they started off well with a leadoff single. But Will put the hammer down, getting a groundout that moved the runner to second, then an easy fly ball to right. With two outs, he fired a fastball for a swinging strike three, ending the game and giving Long Beach its fourth World Championship to join the teams from 1959, 1965 and 2008.
The LB Pony website continues:
What a tremendous run by a great group of kids and the coaching staff could not be more proud of them. On behalf of Manager Scot Chamberlain, Coach Rick Dent and myself, we would like to thank the families for all of their support in both Watsonville & Washington:
Randy & Glenda Smith, who were simply invaluable.
The entire extended Steer family
The entire Williford family
The Wade family
The Keller family
The Hughey family, working in shifts
The Meckes family, doing the same
The Petersen family, doing the same
The Logan family
The Cervantes family
Randy Cauble and then Donald Preston trading off for Maxx
Staci Dent, Theresa, Tyler & Tristin Chamberlain and my boys Kyle & Greg Salaya for giving up time with us so we could coach this team.
Kirk & Ilene Kelley
Everyone that followed us throughout our tournament run.
LBReport.com congratulates LB Pony Baseball. You are the champions!
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