Over-40 Baseball playoffs: Royals down Rays to advance
Dodgers, Cardinals also move on
The Royals and Rays have played games close all year in the Eastern Baltimore County Over-40 Baseball League. So it figured their matchup in the first round of the postseason tournament would be no different.
The game didn’t disappoint, as the fourth-seeded Royals (4-2) rallied past the fifth-seeded Rays (3-3) for an 8-5 victory on Sunday at Patapsco High.
The Royals advance to play the top-seeded Astros (5-1), which had a first-round bye.
The other two first-round games were lacking in tension, with the second-seeded Dodgers (4-2) defeating the seventh-seeded Diamondbacks (0-5-1) 19-4 and the third-seeded Cardinals (4-2) defeating the sixth-seeded Orioles (0-5-1) 10-1.
The Dodgers and Cardinals will meet Sunday at St. Helena Park, while the Royals and Astros play at the Legion Post 38 field.
During the regular season, the Royals outscored opponents by only eight runs, 5445, while the Rays outscored opponents by seven runs, 45-38.
“We’re not a team that really crushes other teams,” Royals manager Jeff Patti said.
Trailing 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh, the Royals scored three runs to take a 6-5 lead.
They then shut out the Rays over the last two innings while padding their lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth.
The Royals turned double plays in both the eighth and ninth innings; the one in the ninth ended the game.
In the eighth, with a runner on first and no outs, the Royals turned a 6-4-3 double play; in the ninth, it was a 4-63 double play.
Bill Dragovich was the Royals’ second baseman, while Lloyd Fox played shortstop and Jeff Wilhelm played first.
The Royals rally in the seventh started with a walk to Bryan Wilhelm, who went to second on a balk and scored on a single by Dan Crowley.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Fox tied the game on a single center field. Mitch Stringer then singled in the go-ahead run.
In the eighth, Paul Cerebelli walked with one out, went to second on a balk, to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by C.J. Rockhill.
A two-out throwing error by the Rays extended the inning, and Jeff Jagosinski took advantage with an RBI single to send the game into the ninth with the Royals holding a three-run lead.
The Rays had led 3-1 in the sixth inning, breaking a 1-1 tie in the third as Corey Goodwin and Rob Dolly led off with singles, advanced on a groundout, and scored on a double by Sonny Weaver.
After the Royals tied the game with two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Rays took a 5-3 lead in the top of the seventh as Dolly led off with a double and scored on Ray King’s two-out single.
After a walk to Erin Hickman, King scored on a single by Steve Kessler.
Aggressive baserunning by the Royals helped them tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Stringer was hit by a pitch and moved into scoring position with two stolen bases and scored on a sacrifice fly.
Cerebelli reached on an infield single, stole second, went to third on a throwing error and scored on a twoout single by Rockhill.
The Royals lost to the Astros 15-7 during the regular season, while the Dodgers beat the Cardinals 7-3.
C.J. Rockhill of the Royals slips under the tag of Rays shortstop Josh Lamont.
Royals shortstop Lloyd Fox attempts to apply a tag to Adam of the Rays.
Royals second baseman Bill Dragovich throws over Rays baserunner Corey Goodwin to complete a double play.