SHELBY, N.C. — Gauthier & Amedee was in desperate need of a spark plug, and Robbie Podorsky delivered on the first day of the American Legion World Series.
Podorsky stole three bases, including home, in the bottom of the third inning to ignite a rally that led to an 8-5 come-from-behind victory over Petaluma, Calif.
After walking and stealing second and third base, Podorsky bolted for home and slid in headfirst to beat the throw from the mound. The play put Gonzales-based Gauthier (47-4) on the scoreboard. G&A went on to score all eight of its runs in the inning.
“I hadn’t done that before this season, but two others guy on our team had,” Podorsky said of stealing home. “I figured out he (the pitcher) was winding up, and that gave me time to get to the plate.”
The play fired up the Gauthier & Amedee dugout.
“I’ve challenged each of our guys to be a spark plug,” Gauthier & Amedee coach Justin Morgan said. “We were down 4-0, but we were not going to start swinging for the fences. We were going to play our game, which is small ball. You could feel the momentum change in our direction.”
With the win, Gauthier & Amedee advances to play Wilmington, N.C., a 5-0 winner over Branford, Conn., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Podorsky finished 2-for-5 at the plate, while Collin Delaune was 2-for-2 for G&A, which finished with nine hits.
Austin Tanner got the win, scattering eight hits in eight innings. Tanner struck out six. Devin Speligene got the save, yielding one hit in the ninth. Madison Nickens had a two-RBI hit in the pivotal third inning.
Pordorsky squeezed home another run in his second at-bat of the inning. Delaune also knocked in a run with a bunt.
“Austin Tanner didn’t have his best stuff today, but he battled and gave us a chance to win,” Morgan said.
“Austin showed today he can work through it when he’s not at his best and find a way to win. That’s what quality pitchers do.”
“In a game like that, when a team puts up a big number like that, more (likely) than not they’re going to wind up winning the ballgame,” said Petaluma coach Casey Kilroy. “We played well enough except for that one inning.”
Petaluma (32-14) got two hits apiece by Robert Busse and Weston Bryan. The California champions built their early lead with help from a two-run, inside-the-park home run by Ryan Haug.