In perhaps the most incredible comeback in WWBA history, the East Cobb Braves overcame a 10-1 deficit to defeat the Florida Bombers and win the 2009 World Wood Bat Association 18U national championship.
The game started peacefully enough, with Bombers RHP Ben Lively and Braves RHP Ryan Newell trading zero’s for the first 3 innings.
Newell’s command and his teammates defensive skills failed to show up for the top of the 4th inning and the Bombers scored 9 runs on only 4 hits. DH Mike Revell, SS Michael Broad, LF Zeke DeVoss and C Michael Ohlman all drove in runs with the four hits, as East Cobb went through 4 pitchers trying to get out of the inning.
The Bombers added another run in the top of the 5th inning and entered the bottom of the inning with a 10-1 lead and looking at winning by the “8 after 5” run rule with 3 more outs.
That thought quickly vanished when DH Blake Crohan, EH Stetson Allie and C Brett Armour went triple, double, double to start the bottom of the 5th. A single by LF Brandon Roberts scored Armour to make the score 10-4 and after an out, 3B Miles Head lofted a ball off the top of the left field fence to score Roberts and make it a 10-5 ball game.
SS Tyler Dial , the 10th hitter of the inning, doubled off the top of the left centerfield fence to score Head and 1B Eric Arce, who had singled. Crohan walked in his second at bat of the inning, bringing up Allie, who slammed another double to score 2 runs and tie the game. Armour put the Braves on top 11-10 with a single and left the packed stands shell shocked on both sides.
Braves manager Kevin Baldwin said after the game, “I’ve never seen anything like that in baseball before. I was just hoping that we wouldn’t get run ruled after 5 innings.”
With 2 innings to go, most fans and observers thought that there were probably a few more runs left for both teams, especially since both squads pitching staffs were gassed after 10 games in the past 7 days, but both innings passed quickly. Baldwin brought in 2B Zach Alvord to close out the game and Alvord did so in style, striking out 4 in the final 2 innings to earn a spot at the bottom of the Braves dog pile.
The Braves Eric Arce, a 2010 C/1B from Lakeland (FL) HS, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Championship. Arce’s performance ranked with some of the top such efforts in WWBA history. The left handed hitter finished 16-28 during the event with 7 doubles, 4 home runs, 15 runs scored and 13 Rbi’s.
Florida Bombers RHP Ben Lively, a 2010 grad from Gulf Breeze, Florida, was named the Most Valuable Pitcher. Lively threw a complete game 2-hitter during pool play and held the Braves to 3 hits and 1 run through 4 innings of the championship game.