The Pasadena Saints baseball team already had one close defeat on its ledger yesterday when it stared at a 3-2 deficit with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. But Justin Greshko, with a little help from the opposition, prevented the day from being a total loss.
Greshko drilled a pinch-hit double to left-center field that scored Darryl Keith with the tying run against Brooklyn. Then, in their next at-bat, the Saints evened their record in the Continental Amateur Baseball Association 18-and-under World Series at 1-1 when a throwing error by Brooklyn shortstop Danny Price led to a 4-3 Pasadena victory at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.
With two runners on and none out, Steve Matchuck hit a sharp grounder to Price, who stepped on second for the force and threw over the first baseman's head trying to turn the double play.
The Saints' morning included a 1-0 loss to Indiana in the opener of the round-robin tournament. Meanwhile, Brooklyn had rallied from six runs down to defeat Tennessee, 9-6, and appeared to have another win safely tucked away.
Instead, Keith lined a one-out single to left in the seventh and advanced to second on a groundout. Greshko, who played the entire first game at shortstop, batted for Sean Fleming and pulled an inside fastball just beyond the reach of diving Brooklyn left fielder Eddie Brown.
"He hasn't really hit much for us this year," said Pasadena coach Tom Cains. "That was just a nice shot."
Greshko said he choked up on the bat, looking to "punch the ball." What he did was choke some of the life out of a Brooklyn team that sealed its own fate in the eighth with two walks and the decisive error.
"Coming back in such a close game and being able to win it gives everybody confidence," said Greshko, 17, an Old Mill senior.
"You lose by one, it's a heart-breaker," Cains said. "Then you come back [for the second game] and the other team gets on you for one and you're already thinking, 'Geez, another 1-0 ballgame.' But I've always told these kids that I'd rather have a one-run ballgame than a six-run ballgame."
Especially when the outcome falls in your favor, an occurance that seemed unlikely when Brooklyn (23-1) scored single runs in the third and fifth innings off Pasadena starter Jason Siemer.
The Chesapeake High School senior walked seven, but allowed just one earned run and three hits in six innings. He turned the game over to eventual winner Jason Holman in the seventh, and the hard-throwing right-hander blanked the visitors on two hits.
"By bringing Jason in, who throws much harder, we thought that would give [Brooklyn] something different to look at," Cain said.
"I'm just glad our team was able to come back," said Siemer, who permitted at least one base runner in every inning, but usually fought his way out of trouble. "I would have felt worse if we had lost and it was because of me.
"I didn't really throw much in high school this year, but [the Saints] need me now because we're short on pitching."
They were long on luck.
Down, 2-0, in the fifth, the Saints had runners on second and third with two outs when Scott Rey lofted a fly ball to shallow center. Brooklyn's Frank Santora tried to make a chest-high catch, but the ball popped out of his glove and two runs scored.
Brooklyn pushed across an unearned run in the sixth, before Pasadena battled back for the win.
Today the Saints (22-15-1) face Ohio I at 10 a.m. in Harmans, then drive to Glen Burnie to take on Washington II at 2 p.m. at Sawmill Creek Park. Wednesday the Saints play California at 11 a.m. at Arundel High and Tennessee at 8 p.m. at Sawmill Creek Park. Thursday is reserved for rainouts and tiebreakers.