There’s nothing more disappointing in baseball than a balked-in run to end a game, especially when it’s for a championship.
Standing at third base as the winning run in the District 10 Arizona Little League All-Stars Tournament, Camp Verde Juniors All-Stars player Orlando Machado faked a steal to home plate, causing the Chino Valley All-Stars pitcher to flinch, leading to the balk call.
The flinch cost Chino Valley the game and the tournament title in what was one of the more disappointing endings to a game one could see.
Nevertheless, it made Camp Verde’s comeback complete as the boys in blue celebrated a District 10 title.
Needing every minute of time before curfew, Machado crossed home plate at 12:30 a.m. Saturday, July 16.
The two teams began play at 5 p.m. Friday, July 15, in game one of the championship. Coming from the losers bracket, Camp Verde needed to defeat Chino Valley twice to earn the title.
Camp Verde won game one, 14-12, forcing game two which Camp Verde eventually won, 12-11.
In the beginning of the District 10 tournament, Camp Verde lost to Chino Valley in round one, 3-2. The loss sent Camp Verde to the losers bracket, making them have to win four games just to get back to the championship.
“It was a difficult process,” Camp Verde coach Tom McCarty said.
In game two of the championship, starting pitcher Coy Dugan toed the mound and went 5? innings pitched while giving up seven runs on nine hits while striking out six.
“I was so impressed with Coy [Dugan]. He doesn’t pitch much at all for us. But because of having to play all those games in the losers bracket, we didn’t have any pitching left. So for him to go that long, and for us to win, that was impressive,” McCarty said.
In the fifth, Chino Valley tied it 7-7 after Dugan was removed. McCarty brought in relief pitcher Zach Collins who held serve — barely.
Tied 7-7, Camp Verde scored four runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning to take an 11-7 lead, but Chino Valley came right back against Collins to score four runs in the seventh, tieing it once again at 11-11.
Machado, who was 4-5 with three runs scored, recorded a base hit and made it to third base before scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh, making it 12-11, which was the final.
“He really put pressure on their pitcher and he faked him out big time. Orlando [Machado] did a great job in this series,” McCarty said.
Another standout at the plate offensively for Camp Verde was shortstop Tommy McCarty who was 4-5 with four runs scored, hitting an inside the park home run during the four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth. McCarty added a triple as well to his stellar night at the dish.
In the end, Camp Verde was able to raise the banner after an impressive 6-1 record in the District 10 tournament at Camp Verde High School.
Camp Verde was scheduled to begin the Arizona Little League State Tournament on Monday, July 18, at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. Results were unavailable at press time.