BANGOR, Maine — It took more than four hours and 12 innings, but the Martinez-Evans team lost in the Senior League World Series semifinals 5-4 to the team from Chitre, Herrera, Panama, on Friday.
The game ended in the bottom of the 12th after Martinez-Evans held a 4-3 lead. With Panama runners on second and third, Jesse Ibarra uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Eduardo Sandoval to score from third. Catcher Jose Nogueras’ throw to Ibarra covering the plate was high and got past him. Javier Garcia came around to score the winning run.
“They rose to every occasion this game,” Martinez-Evans coach Matt Brosious said of his team. “At the end, it just didn’t go our way, but I’m proud of the guys.”
Martinez-Evans had taken the
lead in the top of the inning on a bases
loaded walk to Elliot Melton.
To even get to that point, the U.S. Southeast Region champions needed a little magic. In the bottom of the seventh, Martinez-Evans was down to its last strike with the bases loaded and trailing 2-1.
On a 0-2 count, left fielder Kyle Cartledge punched a single into right field to score Nogueras.
“At that point, you’re kind of thinking boy, it’s not looking good. What’s my speech going to be to the team after we lose,” Brosious said. “Then Kyle comes through with a big, big hit. He’s been clutch for us, as many of the other guys have been throughout the year. So, you always have confidence that your players are going to come through for you.”
The Georgians also had a chance to win it in the ninth. Brandon Hensley hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Isaiah Davila from third to give Martinez-Evans a 3-2 lead.
But, the Panamanians were able to tie it in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single, sacrifice bunt, and RBI double.
The game was marred by five ejections on Panama’s side. A player and coach were thrown out when a hitter walked up to the plate with an illegal bat in the first inning.
Then, in the 11th, another Panama player, coach and an interpreter were all ejected when the player intentionally stepped on first baseman Wilfredo Colon-Rios’ foot on a ground out to end the inning.
The loss brings an end to a summer-long adventure for Martinez-Evans.
“The whole thing has been a journey,” Brosious said. “We’ve had some ups, we’ve had some downs. We’ve grown really close as a team and become a family. The hardest part of the whole thing is that it’s over with. You kind of just wanted it to keep going, but it’s been fun.”
The game’s scoring started in the bottom of the first when Panama’s first two batters singled. One scored on a double and the other on a sacrifice fly to give them the early 2-0 advantage.
Martinez-Evans didn’t get on the board until the fifth. Luke Wiles led off with a single and Melton followed with one of his own. Wiles would score on an Even Krentz sacrifice fly.
The Georgians’ pitching kept the team in the game throughout. Starter Tyler Avret went six innings, giving up just two runs and six hits while striking out two.
Their only other pitcher was Ibarra, who pitched the last 5⅔ innings, giving up the other three runs and pitching himself out of multiple jams. He would take the loss.