That’s all the Modesto 16-to-18-year-old Babe Ruth baseball team needed to extend its run at the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament at Wastonville High on Sunday, but those three outs seemed like a lifetime when facing a motivated team. In the end, Modesto suffered a 7-3 loss — with all seven runs coming in the final seventh inning — to San Gabriel Valley, as Modesto fell short of another World Series appearance for the second consecutive season.
Modesto was ahead 3-0 heading into the last frame. With two outs left, the team had what looked like a double-play, but an error took place — which gradually allowed San Gabriel Valley to grind out a dramatic comeback.
“They had hits in key situations, and that was the difference in that game,” explained Modesto coach Bobby Swedberg, who moonlights as a coach on the Pitman High junior varsity baseball team. “At that level, you can’t make errors and good teams will capitalize on it and that’s what they did.”
At this level, teams boast some of the best talent in their respective areas. That includes players from college. It was no different for Modesto, which had a lineup that featured Denair High graduate and Modesto Junior College player Dylan Werner and Jake Sisco, the Davis High product who was selected by the San Francisco Giants in this summer’s MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Modesto had a good run, as the team squeezed out another state tournament title after beating Hanford twice. Modesto was looking to repeat its 2008 World Series run, as well as topping the team’s runner-up finish at the regional tournament last year.Modesto started with a 1-0 win over Northern Utah in the regional opener on Thursday, but fell 2-1 to Hanford in 13 innings in the following game. Then there was that disastrous end against San Gabriel Valley on Sunday.
But Swedberg is already thinking about next season.“With some great talent in the area,” he said, “I can’t see why we can’t get back to regionals next year and compete for the World Series.”To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.