After winning three straight games to advance to Sunday’s championship match, the RiverRats dropped a heart breaker to the Western Carolina Angels, 4-3 at Duncan Park.
This was the second meeting between the two of the tournament, with the RiverRats having taken a 9-4 win in the first contest.
The Angels put up two runs in the top of the first inning and the RiverRats answered with three when Debo Woods smashed a two-RBI triple into deep center field and stole home on a passed ball.
A couple of relatively quiet innings later, the Angels received an RBI single into left field, knotting the game at 3-3.
Ryan Vaughan singled into left field in the bottom of the fourth with one out before Ethan Bailey drove out to the first baseman. Vaughan, who had a lead off of first, was tagged out for the double play and the RiverRats returned to defense.
Brandon Seay replaced Cameron Hall on the mound and held the Angels scoreless over the course of two innings before they struck in the top of the seventh when a hit to left field with two outs plated a run. Vaughan fielded the hit and made the relay to home plate. The runner was safe and the hitter tried to sqeeze out an extra bag, rounding second, when the RiverRats catcher, Woods, gunned him down for the third out.
However, the damage was done. The run counted and the RiverRats were down to their final three outs.
A ground out and a fly out to center field brought Bryson Gault to the plate. Gault smacked a shot into the outfield but a diving catch took away the hit and delivered the RiverRats their first loss of the tournament.
The RiverRats are 16-4 on the season with two championships and two first runner-up finishes.