It took the Fraser Valley Chiefs until their final at bat to finally take the lead.
But once they got it, they didn’t let it go.
The Chiefs scored four times in the bottom of the seventh Sunday afternoon at Baseball Central to force extra innings, then capped the comeback three innings later when Shane Younker blasted a two-out single that scored Javeed Khankashi with the winning run.
The 7-6 triumph over the host Thunder Bay All-Stars upped the B.C. representative’s record to 2-1 at the Big League Canadian Championships, tied with their opponent in second place in the six-team standings.
It’s a disappointing loss, but not one the team plans to dwell on, said starting pitcher Bryce Jorgenson, who was sailing along with a 6-2 lead before the Chiefs roughed him up in the seventh.
“We’re 2-1 right now. That’s a great spot to be. Three-and-one and we’d have been in the playoffs. So we need just one more win to get in,” said Jorgenson, after a 101-pitch outing that saw him allow five runs on 11 hits.
“Other than that, we’ve just got to come out hitting again.”
The All-Stars had their moments at the bat on Day 3 of the tournament, just not enough of them.
After taking a 3-1 lead through five, they tacked on three more in the bottom of the sixth to seemingly secure their third straight win, an inning that saw them send nine men to the plate, collect three hits and draw three walks.
But it’s the way they scored their runs – a pair of sacrifice flies and a two-out, bases-loaded walk.
After the disastrous seventh, the All-Stars had B.C. reliever Griffin Hebert on the ropes, with Kody Anton, who went 4-for-5 with a pair of runs, perched on third, Jorgenson on second and one out.
Hebert, who went the rest of the way to earn the win, bore down, striking out Zac Korchak and caught Cam Nahkala, who had three hits in the contest, looking to end the threat.
After Korchak hauled Thunder Bay out of a jam in the eighth, the All-Stars bats went limp. They went down 1-2-3 in the eighth and Hebert retired the final three batters in order in the ninth after a lead-off single and balk that sent Anton to second.
They went down in order again in the 10th.
Thunder Bay coach Jason Hart said it’s easy to second-guess things after the game. Rather than pull Jorgenson after six and turn to his bullpen, he stuck with his starter, who allowed back-to-back runners before being pulled.
Closer Mac Joblin got a quick grounder that scored a run, but then gave up back-to-back doubles and an infield single, catching pitcher Keegan Baldwin looking to end the top of the dreadful seventh.
“It didn’t work out. But those guys (B.C.), you’ve got to give them credit. They fought back and put a four-spot on us. But our guys came back and held them … Oh well. It didn’t happen this game and we need to get after it on Tuesday,” Hart said.
Thunder Bay has an off day on Monday, returning to action Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Ontario (1-1).
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