Valencia would see Gadsby, but not even the junior right-hander was able to stop the calamity that was the bottom of the fourth.
After a leadoff double and a bunt single put runners on first and third, a sacrifice fly tied the game at 2.
Then came controversy when Carrico looked to have induced a double-play ball, but the throw from second was wide to first base after the Tigers runner went into second standing and to the side of the throw.
Phil Torres immediately disputed that he had to slide.
“That’s a killer at second base,” Skipper Phil Torres said. “That’s a high school rule, you have to slide.
“[The umpires] were horrible and they know it.”
Thus, with two outs, the inning marched on and runners were soon at first and second after a hit batter.
“They’re a very good team,” coach Torres said of the Tigers. “All they need is just one little crack.”
Torres then went to Gadsby. But Gadsby walked the bases loaded before further disaster struck when he induced a high chopper into no-man’s land between first base and the mound. Gadsby and Damla, the first baseman, both went for the ball and collided.
The play allowed the go-ahead run to score.
The following batter singled up the middle to score another run, but the Tigers had runners bunching up on the base paths, seemingly causing an easy out for the Falcons. But a throw trying to get the runner at first went into the outfield and it was suddenly 5-2. And the inning carried on.
Two more runs then scored on an error at second to make it 7-2. Gadsby induced a fly out to center field to end the inning, but the damage had most assuredly been done.
“In that inning, we had some good at-bats and with Gadsby on the mound, those easily could’ve been strikeouts,” Secoda said. “Being able to put the ball in play created that and a lot of luck.”
The first two batters of the fifth reached base on a walk and an error for the Falcons, but there was no rally to be had.
Valencia scored another run in the sixth for the final tally, but the heavy work had come in the fourth.
“It was just one rough inning that kept us out of it,” Joe Torres said.
Though dry eyes were hard to find amid the Falcons following the game, the magnitude of the postseason run was still tangible.
“I know we’re gonna feel this loss for a while,” Joe Torres said. “But, for a bunch of kids who nobody thought had a chance to do anything [in the playoffs], we surprised a lot of people. It means something and it means something to us seniors.”