A potential run to a Southern California tournament championship title became increasingly difficult for the Glendale Babe Ruth 15-U baseball team.
The Jewel City squad came within inches of tying its opening-round contest, but came up just short in a 2-1 loss Saturday afternoon to Torrance at El Segundo’s Stevenson Field in the double-elimination tournament.
The defeat casts Glendale into a second-chance bracket contest back at Stevenson Field on Sunday at noon versus either host El Segundo or Heartwell of Long Beach.
“We came so close,” Glendale Manager Eric Mahoney said. “In fact, we thought we had the game tied.”
Mahoney was referring to the bottom of the seventh as Glendale trailed, 2-1, but loaded the bases with two outs.
On a 3-1 count, Mahoney believed his player had been grazed with a pitch, which would have brought across the tying run.
Yet, the home plate umpire called a strike and that Glendale batter eventually fanned to end a tight game and send Torrance into the winner’s bracket’s game Sunday at 3 p.m.
“It looked like our kid got hit and we were that close to tying it up,” Mahoney said. “That is just one of those exciting games that went down to the end.”
Glendale’s Orlando Diaz turned in an all-around strong effort for his squad as the pitcher tossed seven innings and allowed two runs on 100 pitches.
Diaz also drove in his team’s lone run in the fourth to knot the game at 1 on a run-scoring single, the third single of the inning.
Stephen Burke singled to start for Glendale in the fourth and was moved into scoring position on a follow-up single from Sean Holt before Diaz delivered his hit.
Unfortunately for Diaz and Glendale, District 2 champion Torrance scored the go-ahead run in the top of the fifth en route to the victory.
Torrance initially opened the scoring with a run in the first.
Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.