It was the final opportunity for the Iron Birds to keep their playoff hopes alive and they did just that. After taking down the undefeated Rivercats 11-4 in the season finale on Friday the Iron Birds currently sit tied in the fourth and final spot of the playoffs in the minors American Little League.
“We got behind, especially late in the game, we have not been in that situation all year, and the kids had a hard time not being familiar with that situation and battle back,” Rivercats coach Brandon Smith said. “It was brutal for them because we had a couple of kids who felt it was their fault since they had not lost a game all year so they didn’t know how to take it.”
The Rivercats struck first in the top of the third inning with three quick runs, they would only score one more the remainder of the game. The next half of the inning, the Iron Birds responded with two runs of their own.
In the bottom of the fourth, player of the game Tyler Hendrix opened the game wide open for the Iron Birds after he came through with a clutch RBI single to tie the game at three apiece. Hendrix then stole second, third and home to take the 4-3 lead after scoring four unanswered runs.
“I think they all came out and hit the ball well cause you know everybody wanted to beat these guys (the Rivercats),” Iron Birds coach Colby Browning said. “We want to play more, were ready.”
Hendrix also pitched an extraordinary game coming in the fourth inning to relieve; he tossed three strong innings and allowed only one run. Hendrix also closed the game offensively as he came away with the closing RBI single in the sixth inning to drive in the 11th and final run.
The Iron Birds could clinch the final spot in the playoffs if the Lugnuts and Hot Rods both lose today.