After falling 6-1 to the Mets on Monday, the Briarwood Pirates bounced back Tuesday with a thrilling 7-6 walk-off win. The victory sets up a winner-take-all Championship Game on Thursday in this best of three series. Facing deficits of 3-1 early, and 6-5 late, the Pirates stayed the course and are now one win away from a third-straight Major Championship.
“That was a great game by these kids,” said Pirates’ Skipper Carlos Escobedo. “They kept battling all game long. All season long I’ve been telling them as long as you fight through the whole game and play 100 percent, there’s a good chance we will come out on top.”
After trailing 3-1 after the first inning, the Pirates tied the game 3-3 in the third inning and took a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning when Toby Esqueda launched a two-run home run to left-center field.
“The first pitch was a curveball and I fouled it off, but the second pitch was right down the middle,” recalled Esqueda on his home run at bat. “I just tried to get all of it on the barrel and was fortunate enough to get it over the fence.”
In the next immediate half inning the Mets would claw right back. The usual suspects got on base as Justin Forster lead off with a single, Jacob Smith reached on an error and then Jason Benson singled home a run to cut the deficit to 5-4. Two batters later, Aristotle Valdellon picked up an RBI groundout to first base to tie the score 5-5. That set the table for Jesse Martinez, who smoked a line drive to center field, scoring Benson and allowing the Mets to take a 6-5 lead.
“Jesse has struggled this year and as a coach you just love to see a kid come through at the end of the year,” remarked Mets’ Assistant Coach Ruben Camacho. “He had two hits today, he probably had maybe three or four all year. For him to have two hits in a big game like that, and that last one with two outs, my heart leapt for that kid. You just want to see all the kids do well. That was a clutch hit.”
It would be a short-lived lead for the Mets, though, as the Pirates tied it back up in the bottom of the fifth. Mateo Escobedo led off with a single and would score on a bad-hop single by Kai Imahara. The Mets, though, would shut down any further Pirates rally with a terrific 4-6-3 double play started by Dylan Camacho stopping a hard hit one-hop ball before feeding Benson at shortstop, who then made a strong throw to first base.
The Mets would get a clutch double play of their own in the bottom of the sixth. With a runner at second, Benson fielded a ground ball at shortstop, looked the runner back and made another strong throw to first. The runner at second then took off for third but stopped and would be tagged out in a pickle. With two outs and nobody on, the game looked ticketed for extra innings. However, Andrew Taffas singled, Esqueda was walked intentionally and then came the final play of the game.
Nathaniel Sanchez hit a little squibber just past the mound but not quite onto the infield dirt. In a scramble to try and get an out, the throw would wind up going into left field, allowing the winning run to score.