By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
State Farm Insurance probably could have sold some life insurance policies to its spectators during last week’s West Michigan Baseball Association Major League championship game.
State Farm Insurance (John Sepeshy Agency) captured a heart stopping 6-5 victory over Beach No. 2 in the title game by scoring four runs in the bottom of the final inning. The State Farm team was representing the Hile League in the tournament and finished the season 13-0.
A blast by Connor Belanger gave State Farm a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Beach came in the top of the third inning and plated three runs for a 3-2 lead.
After two scoreless innings, the game progressed to the sixth, and final, inning. Beach added two more runs in the top of the sixth for a 5-2 lead.
Then came dramatics not often seen on the baseball diamond.
Needing three runs to tie and four to win, State Farm came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. Austin Jones singled then promptly stole second and third bases. Jacob Weck hit a sacrifice fly to plate Jones and that cut the deficit to 5-3.
Facing a two outs and nobody on situation, State Farm got some hits and a couple of breaks.
Camden Eigenauer hit a grounder and beat it out for an infield hit. He moved to second on a passed ball. Nick Davis then hit a grounder to second and was called safe at first on a close play. Davis then stole second to put the tying run in scoring position.
Up stepped lefthanded hitting Zach Davis, who doubled down the third-base line and the game was tied.
With the winning run on second, Reece Miller hit a full-count pitch just inside the right-field line to score the winning run.
“Our kids fought to the end and prevailed,” said head coach Scott Belanger, who is assisted by Dean Davis. “I am very proud of them playing with sportsmanship, positive attitude, courtesy and compassion for the game.
“I am also proud of the Beach No. 2 team, which also showed those same qualities in young athletes,” Belanger said. “They are a very good baseball team and well coached.”
En route to the finals, State Farm defeated Ravenna 2-0 and Beach (No. 1) 5-3.
Members of the State Farm team include: Austin Jones, Jacob Weck, Connor Belanger, Camden Eigenauer, Nick Davis, Zach Davis, Reece Miller, Tucker Chartier, Jackson Huizenga, Noah Patterson, Curtis Munson, and Nate McKeown.