The Cobras’ rallying cry is “you have to believe,” and after defeating the Yankees 11-10 Sunday to even the Raphael Jackson Double A Baseball finals at two games apiece, many are starting to believe in the league’s newest team.
The winning hit came off the bat of veteran Jose Rivera with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but a lot of the credit in getting this victory has to go to young lefty Joshua Torres. He came on when the Yankees were looking to blow the game wide open and did a great job in limiting them to a lone run that scored more as a result of a mental lapse by the Cobras’ management than the pitching effort of the youngster.
Mackeel Rodgers’ sacrifice fly got the Yankees on the board in the top of the first to take the early lead, while the Cobras came up empty in their half of the inning. The Cobras took the lead in the bottom of the second after the Yankees failed to score in the top of the inning, scoring two runs on three Yankees errors to take a 2-1 lead.
After the Yankees again failed to score in the top of the third, the Cobras were at it again, plating four runs on a two-run double by Angel Torres Sr., an RBI double by Justino Navarro Sr. and an RBI single by Joshua Torres to extend their lead to five runs at 6-1.
The Yankees got back in the scoring column with four runs in the top of the sixth on RBI singles by Omari Eastman and Dwayne Harvey and two Cobra errors to cut the lead to one at 6-5. The Cobras failed to score in their half of the inning.
The score would stay that way until the top of the sixth, when the Yankees plated three runs to take an 8-6 lead and were beginning to taste the championship. They scored three runs on an RBI single by Eastman and two errors. The Cobras again had no answer in the bottom of the inning.
A passed ball scored the Yankees’ ninth run in the top of the seventh, and they now led by three at 9-6 as the Cobras once more came up empty in their half of the inning.
The Cobras, however, came alive in the bottom of the eighth, erupting for three runs against the Yankees’ best hurler, Leroy Simmonds, to tie the game at nine after the Yankees failed to score in the top of the inning. A two-run single by Justino Navarro Jr. and a Yankees error accounted for the three Cobra runs, to the delight of their raucous fans, who were now dancing in the stands to a hot merengue beat.
The crowd was momentarily silenced in the top of the ninth when Eastman delivered a tie-breaking double to give his team a 10-9 lead. The run came after Joshua walked the leadoff batter. He was promptly removed from the mound and replaced by his father, Angel Torres Sr., who was obviously having arm trouble. Eastman’s RBI double came against the senior Torres, who was quickly replaced by Joshua once again, who prevented any further damage.
The stage was now set for the bottom-of-the-inning heroics by Rivera. Angel Torres Jr. led off the bottom of the inning with a triple and scored on an RBI single by pinch hitter Jose Guerra to tie the game at 10. The Cobras then had the bases loaded with two outs when Rivera stepped to the plate, and the big man delivered. He ripped a fast ball from Simmonds through the hole between third and short for the game-winner, and the party was on in the stands as the fans celebrated their team’s comeback, series-tying victory.
Joshua got the victory in relief while Simmonds got the loss for the Yankees. Top hitters for the Cobras were Torres Jr., 3 for 5; Navarro Jr., 3 for 5 with two RBIs; Torres Sr., 2 for 4 with two RBIs; and Rivera, 2 for 4 with the game-winning RBI. For the Yankees, Eastman went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and Harvey went 2 for 4 with an RBI.