Basic logic would say that Chesterfield County, Va., had no business winning this game.
Then again, Melvin Gentry doesn’t care much for logic.
He’d rather take a win for his team at the Pony League World Series.
Despite facing a pitcher who broke the all-time record for strikeouts in a game and didn’t allow a hit in seven innings, Chesterfield scored three runs on three walks, two wild pitches and a passed ball in the top of the seventh inning to down Hilo, Hawaii, 3-1, at Lew Hays Pony Field in Washington Park.
“We pulled them together after the sixth inning and I said, ‘Guys, I told you if you kept it to one run, we were going to find a way to win the baseball game. Y’all kept it to one run. Now let’s go and do what we talked about.’” Gentry explained.
A lefty himself, Gentry said Hawaii’s Edgar Barclay pitched “a whale of a game,” and that might’ve been a bit of an understatement.
Besides the no-hitter, the 19th in the history of this tournament, Barclay struck out an all-time best 20, besting Carlos Rodriguez’ mark set while he was pitching for Carolina, Puerto Rico, in 1972 by one.
“I saw glimpses of it in the bullpen that he had a good fastball and a good curveball,” Hilo coach Eric Kurosawa said. “I was hoping that he would take it into the game. Obviously he did.”
Barclay was dominant – but maybe a little too dominant in the seventh.
J.T. Creed, Will Edwards and Eric Hubbard all walked. Creed and Edwards scored on wild pitches, Hubbard on a passed ball. After the third run scored, catcher Mackanzy Maesaka spiked his mask off the ground and was ejected.
“In the seventh inning, when you have to close out a game, that’s when it counts,” Kurosawa said. “We didn’t do it.”
Barclay was filthy early, striking out the first nine Chesterfield batters he faced, which turned out to be one shy of the Pony League World Series record set by Gene Morowski of Hamtramck, Mich., in 1958.
So impossible was Barclay to pick up that three of the first six strikeouts – the first nine were swinging – required a throw to first to complete the play.
Chesterfield’s Ryan Bergenhagen was equal to the task of shutting down Hawaii. He tossed a complete game, striking out eight and walking three.
Hawaii loaded the bases with one out in the second but failed to score a run. After second baseman Trayden Tamiya grounded back to the pitcher, Maesaka was chased down by Chesterfield shortstop Dylan Gentry.
The Hawaiians broke through in the third, getting a double from first baseman Shaun Kurosawa to put runners on second and third. That allowed left fielder Kegan Miura to score on – you guess it – a passed ball.
As the game wore on and Barclay continued to pile up strikeouts, Chesterfield County wasn’t shy about trying to break it up. Second baseman Colby Carnes and center fielder Reed Raikes both squared to bunt.
“The ballgame is still going until we get that last out,” Gentry said. “They fight. They’re a scrappy bunch.”
Chesterfield plays the winner of Hawaii and Mexico tonight at 8. Hawaii and Mexico’s early game starts at 12:30 p.m. … Shaun Kurosawa and Maesaka had the hits for Hilo.