Never bet against a longshot. In front of an amazed crowd, the hometown boys from Layritz won a 5-4 shocker over heavily favoured White Rock/South Surrey in the semifinals of the 9-10 B.C. Little League championship on Friday at Layritz Park.
“Stunned is a very good word to describe it,” Layritz manager Dave Potter said, deflecting his team’s efforts to douse him with Gatorade. “We never dreamed we’d be in the final.
“It was a massive upset.”
The final, however, is where Layritz will be today, taking on Little Mountain at 1 p.m. for the provincial title. In another nail-biter — both semifinals were tied going into the sixth inning — Little Mountain came from behind to edge New Westminster 9-8 in the other semi.
In the final inning of the host team’s victory, Kevin Sheridan ripped a shot to the fence to lead off the sixth inning, got to third, and Dominic Bodley-Scott went in as a pinch runner. Sliding into home plate on a passed ball, fans and players alike were screaming, as Bodley-Scott scored the winning run.
The Layritz game started off well for the underdogs, when thus far undefeated White Rock went down 1, 2, 3 in the first inning, and Layritz went up 2-0. Starting pitcher Sheridan, who threw 76 pitches in a strong outing, drove in the second run.
Through three innings, Layritz stayed up 2-1, but the defensive wheels fell off in the fourth, and White Rock surged into a 4-3 lead. Sheridan tried to get the team back on track.
“I said, ‘Guys, calm down, pretend it’s 0-0.’ ”
Layritz regrouped. A double by Taine Clague had everything locked at 4-4 heading into the final inning, while White Rock struggled at the plate.
“We just didn’t hit the ball the way we could,” White Rock assistant coach Ryan Turner said.
In the earlier game, Little Mountain trailed 8-6 going into the final inning.
Manager Blair Shapiro asked his leadoff hitter, Jenmark Ramos: “Do you believe?” Ramos answered with a big smile, and promptly nailed a triple. Carson Buschman-Dormand brought Ramos home, New West walked in the tying run, and Buschman-Dormand played hero when he slid safely across the plate, as the catcher leaped to grab a high throw from the infield.