One pitch. One swing.
That’s all it took for Luke Redman of the Marlins to hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fourth to put his team up for good and lift them up to the Turlock National Little League majors championship game on Friday after trouncing the Dodgers 8-3.
Redman not only tallied half of the team’s runs with four, but also did some serious work on the mound on Wednesday, tossing up five innings and allowing only three runs in 84 pitches, as he picked up the win for his squad.
“I am very proud of him, he has been working very hard all year long and has been focused on getting to the postseason and playing like a 12-year-old. We are very proud of his effort,” Marlins head coach Craig Redman said .
“It was close at the beginning. They scored one and countered right back. Both teams gave it their all,” said Dodgers head coach Robert Tury.
Heading into the top of the third, the Marlins found themselves up 2-1, but the Dodgers would counter with a run to tie it after Cesar Onale drove in Holden Baldwin.
In the bottom half Lance Souza sunk an RBI blooper off Onale, to go up after driving in Josh Hack to take over at 3-2 heading into the fourth.
Once again the Dodgers responded in the top of the fourth, grinding it out any way they could.
Blake Barker hit a solo home run over the left field wall off Redman on a deep count and made it three apiece, but that would be the last run Redman would allow.
The Dodgers hitters were kept steady by Redman while the Marlins offense, which has been the anchor all season long, came through once again scoring five unanswered runs in the bottom of the fourth to go up until the end.
Jared Hack led off in the fourth with a solo home run off Onale, to deep center field to go up 4-3 and then a pitching change allowed the bases to get loaded with no outs to get the rally started.
“We gave up a few walks and after that grand slam it kind of opened the door for them and we fell behind and just couldn’t catch up,” Tury said.
With their third pitcher in, Barker, the Dodgers got one out, but finally on a 3-1 pitch Redman would get the hit of the game with a sweet juicy grand slam that towered over the center field wall to put his team up 8-3.
“Our kids have a good balance of playing loose and playing focused and that is kind of what we have been preaching all year long is to enjoy the moment of being a little leaguer but also making sure that the game is played correctly,” Craig Redman said. “Our goal all season long has been to make it to the playoffs and see how things shake up.”
Jack Welch would come in to relieve Redman in the sixth to cap off the offensive outburst, by tossing up a shutout inning to secure the win.
The Marlins will be playing the winner of Thursday’s game between the Pirates and Dodgers game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, but the final score was unavailable at press time.
“Both are very solid baseball teams with a solid pitching staff and all the kids can swing it, so whoever shows up Friday night will come out atop, but we have some work to do,” Craig Redman added.
“We need to pitch well and hold them off and maybe move into Friday’s game,” Tury said.