Reese Catchings wanted to do something he would remember for a long time when he stepped to the plate to leadoff the top of the sixth inning in the District 54 TOC title game Wednesday night at Ronald Feist Park in Granite Bay.
After hitting a game-tying home run, which catapulted his team to an 11-6 win over the Woodcreek Red Sox, it’s safe to say Catchings and all his teammates won’t forget what he did.
The home run was Catchings’ second of the game and his seventh in the last three days, after hitting three in Monday’s 9-7 win over the Roseville West Angels and two in Tuesday’s 7-6 win over the EDH Marlins, including the walk-off, game-winning blast in the bottom of the sixth inning. In Wednesday’s championship game, Catchings also pitched five innings and struck out nine and walked one; allowing only two runs on three hits.
“I knew I had to do something that I would remember for a long time,” Catchings said of his first at bat of the sixth inning.
Catchings’ home run, a no-doubt-about-it shot to center field, tied the game at two and pumped up his team to pour it on and that’s exactly what the Indians did, scoring nine more runs on five hits and four walks. Matt Oseguera, Ethan Lepore and Brock Fowler followed with singles; Fowler’s knocking in Oseguera to give the team a 3-2 lead. Aden Quan then walked to load the bases and Jaden Holmes forced a run in with another walk. Aden Smelser drove in a run on a fielder’s choice, and after Gino Brunolli flied out for the second out of the inning, Logan Fontana drew a walk and Catchings was intentionally walked to force another run across the plate.
Oseguera then cleared the bases with a grand slam, and Lepore followed with another home run, making the score 11-2, as both players picked up their second hits of the inning.
Woodcreek rallied for four runs in the bottom of the inning on a RBI single by Danny Miles, followed by a three-run home run by Royce Alvarez, but the game eventually ended when Fontana picked a runner off first base for the final out. Fontana played magnificently behind the plate, throwing out two other would-be base stealers. After Catchings walked the leadoff batter, Lepore came in to finish the game on the mound.
The Red Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, scoring once on a wild pitch and another run on a RBI single by Alvarez, who had three hits and four RBI to lead his team.
The Indians’ only run prior to the sixth inning came on a solo home run by Catchings in the fourth.
Indians’ coach Dan Lepore was impressed by his team.
“Prior to the sixth inning, I got the team together and said ‘this is where the fun happens,” Lepore said. “You could feel the energy change in the dugout, and we got the result we got. We battled and never panicked. After our first practice this year, I felt we had a bunch of nice kids who could play baseball, and it was up to the coaching staff to make them a little bit meaner. I think we did that. I love the way they battled this year and during this tournament.”
Catchings had a good feeling about the team.
“I thought we could win it,” Catchings said. “This team is so good. We’ve got a great foundation of players who all could hit, and we had some good pitchers and we played defense.”