"Three-peat" was the phrase of the day Saturday, as the West Coast Dawgs won their third consecutive Beep Baseball World Series Championship. But the win did not come without a battle.
"It was crazy," said Lex Gillette, West Coast Dawgs player who received the game ball. "We had to come out and play a lot harder than we did in the other games. It was definitely a nail-biter."
The Dawgs came out hard in the first inning, scoring five runs to Taiwan’s two. The next few innings were low scorers, but the Dawgs slowly increased their lead to 9-4 in the top of the fifth.
And that’s when Taiwan worked its magic. With some deep hits and quick runners, Taiwan scored six runs, taking the lead.
"They hit a lot of bombs out there, and when they do that, there’s no chance," said Dawgs coach Don Robinson. "But on the balls that are hit in the fielding area, you have to get those."
The Dawgs finally got out of the inning, but they'd lost their lead, 10-9. They then scored two runs, and pulled back into the lead, 11-10.
"In this game, you have to play with what the other team gives you," Robinson said. "And when you don’t do that, that’s when you lose. I think I get more nervous than the players. I could feel my chest thumping (during the fifth inning)."
In the top of the sixth (the final inning in beep baseball), Taiwan scored one run to tie the game. The team had one deep hit to right field, but Gillette stopped the ball and got an out, keeping the game even at 11-11.
"You get a real adrenaline rush, especially when you have close games like this," said Gillette, who was diagnosed with retinal detachment in 1992.
And in the bottom of the sixth, with one out, Gillette hit the game-winner, grounding it to the shortstop, but beat the throw. Gillette is no stranger to a full-out sprint, as he won a gold medal for track and field in the Beijing Paralympics.
"When Lupe got put out, I said to myself that I needed to go up there and concentrate on the pitcher," he said. "That’s what I did."
Gillette was awarded the game ball because of his performance throughout the game.
"I think he made a key put out in the fifth inning and he went four-for-four," Robinson said. "He’s a terrific player. We’re glad he’s on our side."