The Rangers defeated the Red Sox in the Turlock American Little League championship game on Thursday night by a score of 5-4. The newly crowned champions now await the winner of the National Little League title game.
This was the fourth meeting of the season between the two squads, with the Red Sox taking two out of the first three contests. All three games were tightly contested as they were each decided by two or less runs, and Thursday night’s game was no different.
Drew Vercammen was the starting pitcher for the Rangers and found himself in a bit of trouble in the first inning when the Red Sox were able to grab a run after a triple and RBI single. Regardless, the Rangers offense used hits and were able to capitalize off of a Red Sox error to take a 2-1 lead.
The lead was short lived as Elijah Tavarez of the Red Sox blasted a home run to make it a 3-2 game, which garnered praise from Rangers manager Mike Vercammen.
“He hit a fantastic home run,” he said. “It was one of those home runs you just had to stop and stare.”
Vercammen and his coaching staff were then faced with the decision of whether to take Drew out of the game. They ultimately decided to leave him in.
A Rangers sacrifice fly in the fifth inning made it a tie ballgame, but the evened score was once again short lived as the Red Sox strung together a pair of hits to take a 4-3 lead.
In the final frame, the Rangers offense rallied again with singles and a big triple to retake the lead at 5-4. Drew Vercammen went out to close the game in the bottom of the sixth and proceed to retire the Red Sox batters in order, clinching the championship for the Rangers.
“It was a battle from the first inning until last out,” Mike Vercammen said. “It was it was back and forth. It was drama was like it was the best one of the best games I've ever been involved with. It was fun.”
Coach Vercammen also praised his team for the way they were able to stay composed after a few defensive miscues.
“There were times where we had some mistakes here and there and they could cost the game, but luckily those mistakes didn't really hurt us. I told the kids that it proves you’re a good team when you can survive mistakes because everyone’s going to make mistakes,” he said.
The Turlock Little League Championship game is scheduled for June 4, with the Rangers waiting patiently to find out their National League opponents.