Everything was going well for Kelso and then its house imploded.
Torrance, Calif., beat Kelso 8-4 with a sixth-inning rally Friday at the Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series at David Story Field.
The rally was compounded by an error at first base which extended the inning and allowed the go-ahead run to reach scoring position. A deep fly ball to right-center field plated one run before a double sent another run in. A passed ball added one more. The inning’s fourth run crossed on a fielder’s choice.
The backbreaking inning turned what was a solid showing from Kelso into a second loss in the tournament.
“I’m pretty sure they weren’t expecting to see that from a host team,” coach Pat Connors said. “They were in a barn-burner, and they had to score late to beat us. If they don’t, then we win that game. That’s neat to see these guys respond.”
Kelso starter Ryan Cooney was cruising until the sixth frame, having allowed four runs in five innings with five strikeouts. His numbers doubled in the sixth, where he finished the day with 91 pitches.
“Ryan was outstanding tonight,” Connors said. “He had those guys guessing. At the end it was the three bunts that beat us, and they were beautiful bunts. And sometimes, a hit is a hit, even if it’s a bunt. … He was phenomenal, he was on point, and that’s what we’ve come to expect from him.”
The offense was lively, too, as Masyn Allison drove in four runs while Tommy Brandenburg plated two runs in the third inning. Brandenburg was 2 for 2 and Brady Burns went 2-3.
“Tommy is a very disciplined hitter and a phenomenal baseball player,” Connors said. “He works hard and stayed inside the ball a couple times today. We worked a lot of counts, got them in our favor, and took advantage of them.”
After scoring four runs and loading the bases in the third, Kelso was forced out of its groove and Torrance responded by adding two runs — tying the score at four runs apiece during the fourth inning while setting the table for its big sixth inning.
Kelso faces Concord, N.H., at 4 p.m. Saturday, and it will enter the day having received a specific message from Connors.
“We strive to play to play baseball the right way, represent ourselves, represent our team, and represent our town,” Connors said. “Someone is going to win, and someone is going to lose, but if you give it your best effort and limit the mistakes and have great at bats, you’re good.”