The 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds of the Camilletti Financial Group Bulldogs had all of the makings of a big comeback in the Bulldog Youth Baseball League Championship Game.
The team from Craig had scored two runs in the third inning and four runs in the sixth to come back from a 5-0 deficit and get within two, 8-6. For the first time all game, they had shut out the Hayden Indians in their at bats, and they had the last at bats in the bottom of the fifth.
But Mark Doolin's fastball was just too good to allow the rally.
Doolin struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth to give the Indians an 8-6 victory Thursday.
As far as the Hayden players were concerned, Doolin was only a cape away from being a complete super hero.
"I knew we had it won because we had Mark pitching," Adam Rogalski said. "If he could pitch more than two innings in a game we would always win."
Bulldog coach Billy Davis knew his team would have a tough time mounting a comeback with Doolin on the mound.
"Hey Doolin, why don't you throw left handed this inning," he joked with the pitcher before the fifth.
In the 8-10 league, pitchers can pitch only two innings in a game. Doolin started for the Indians in the first inning and finished with the last.
In the first, the Bulldogs tried to bunt against Doolin and one batter was successful, but three others were unable to get a bunt down.
The Indians no-hit the Bulldogs on Wednesday night but lost 4-1. The 4-1 loss set up a second championship game for Thursday. The Bulldogs had five hits in the second game, but the Indians' offense made the difference.
"At the beginning we scored more," Daniel Engle said. "That's why we won."
The Indians scored two in the first, two in the second, one in the third and three in the fourth for their eight runs.
The Bulldogs' only runs came in the third and fourth innings.
Bulldog pitchers Joe Cami--lletti, Jake Bingham and Sammy Parker combined for 11 strikeouts in the game. The stinger was that they also walked 13 batters.
The Hayden trio of Doolin, Hockett and Isaac Bridges had 12 strikeouts and eight walks. By keeping the walks down, they kept the runs off the board.
After the game, both teams received autographed baseballs by Craig's very own professional pitcher Junior Herndon.
After the game, Greg Frent--ress, Engle and Rogalski were smiling and singing "We are the Champions."
"It was a lot of fun this year," said Frentress, who was also a part of the Hayden team that won the championship last year. "It's fun to play and be with your friends ... and WIN!"