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Archive for Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Late homer lifts Royals to 9-7 victory

Holland smacks two-run shot to push Royals past Yankees in final inning

June 21, 2006

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The situation is every baseball player's dream: Two outs in the final inning with the winning run on base.

That was the case when Royals clean-up hitter Josh Holland stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third against the Yankees on Thursday.

Elijah Penny was standing on second, just waiting to cross the plate and put his team ahead. Penny soon coasted home as Holland sent the ball soaring towards the fence. As the Yankee outfield pursued the ball, Holland rounded the bases to add the exclamation point on the Royals' 9-7 victory.

"I watched it and I saw the center fielder go, 'Where is it?'" Holland said.

The Royals and Yankees squads that took the field at Holcom Park were a Parks and Rec Jhawk Baseball League version of the professional clubs, and pride was on the line in the back-and-forth battle.

"We needed to win this one because these kids all go to school with the other kids," Royals coach Randall Johnson said. "They needed to have bragging rights next year."

The Yankees sent five batters to the plate in the top of the first, but couldn't produce any runs - allowing the Royals to strike first in the bottom of the inning.

Royal Terrell Burnett swings for the fences at Holcom Blue Field on Thursday. Burnett had a walk and two stolen bases against the Yankees in a 9-7 Royals victory.

Royal Terrell Burnett swings for the fences at Holcom Blue Field on Thursday. Burnett had a walk and two stolen bases against the Yankees in a 9-7 Royals victory.

The Royals rallied with two outs to post the five-run maximum. Preston Randall drove in the first two runs with a single up the middle that scored Terrell Burnett and Holland. Thanks to a third walk in the inning and three more hits, the Royals put up three more runs in their half of the first.

The Yankees used a pair of walks to their advantage in the second inning. Cameron Pratte and Micah Perala led the inning off with back-to-back walks and were soon rewarded. Steven Hodges sent a bloop single to center field, allowing Pratte and Perala to score. The Yankees loaded the bases later in the inning, but the Royals escaped with no further damage done.

The Yankees carried that little bit of momentum into the bottom of the inning and surrendered only one run to the Royals. Kameron Johnson got the inning started with a walk and stole his way to third base. When he swiped third, the Yankee catcher overthrew the base and Johnson was able to score the Royals' lone run of the frame.

Royal Jon Doll prepares to take off for home in the bottom of the third against the Yankees in Jhawk League action. He would score the tying run on a Elijah Penny double as the Royals went on to win 9-7.

Royal Jon Doll prepares to take off for home in the bottom of the third against the Yankees in Jhawk League action. He would score the tying run on a Elijah Penny double as the Royals went on to win 9-7.

The Yankees made their bid for the victory in the third, reaching the five-run limit to take a 7-6 lead. The Yankees benefited from five straight walks to start the inning, but the highlight of the scoring came on a Luke Lesslie single that drove in Noah Weaver and Fletcher Koch.

In the bottom of the third, the Royals again mounted a two-out rally. Jon Doll led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third, but the next two batters were retired. Penny came to the plate next and responded with a double to score Doll and tie the game. Then came Holland, and with one swing of the bat, the Royals claimed victory.

"Josh, he crushed that ball," Johnson said. "I told them all if they hit it over the fence, I'd buy them pizza. I told Josh he's still about 50 feet away from hitting that over the fence, though."

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