The Hanford Flames looked like they were headed to their first loss at the American Legion Pacific Northwest Regional on Saturday, trailing 11-5 to the host Eugene Challengers in the bottom of the ninth inning at Swede Johnson Stadium.
The Flames didn’t see it that way, however, battling back with six runs in the ninth to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
Remarkably, Hanford scored six runs on just two hits — RBI singles by Taylor Lindquist and Ryan Colson, who brought home Colin Serkowski to tie the game at 11.
The two teams battled scoreless through the next three innings, ending the 12th frame tied at 11. The Flames did create a bit of excitement in the 12th when Hanford pitcher Colin Serkowski threw out Eugene’s Joe Schindler, the potential go-ahead run, on an attempted steal of home.
In the bottom half of the 12th, Hanford then put the winning run in scoring position when Finn McMichael stole second with two outs. Trevor Jones then reached on a fielding error that sent McMichael to third. Eugene then walked Ryan Neal to load the bases to face Jake Browne, who hit a game-winning home run the previous night. But Browne flied out to left field to end the threat.
Eugene scored four runs in the seventh, answering the two runs that Hanford scored in the bottom of the sixth in a back-and-forth game.
The Flames fell behind early but took the lead in the fourth when Ryan Neal doubled in Trevor Jones and then scored on a double-play ball for a 3-2 edge.
Hanford scored two more in the sixth, starting with another Neal double. But Eugene’s rally in the seventh put the Flames back in a hole.