Entering the Liberty District baseball tournament, the Yorktown Patriots were anxious to prove they were better than their standing as the No. 4 seed.
In an off-and-on drizzle the night of May 19 at Barcroft Park, Yorktown (13-10) did just that, rallying from a 3-0 first-inning deficit to edge the No. 2 seed South Lakes Seahawks, 4-3, in dramatic fashion to finish 3-0 in the high school competition and win a district tourney for the first time since 2012.
Patriots' slugging catcher Ben Koomey supplied the winning blow with a long two-run homer to right field in the top of the seventh inning, putting Yorktown in front 4-3. Left-hander Aidan Henning, who pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to get the win, retiring South Lakes in order in the bottom of the frame as the Patriots celebrated with a dog pile near first base.
Koomey's blast, his fourth homer of the season, came off a low inside fastball with John Merlene, who walked, on first.
"That was a good pitch to drive," Koomey said. "He threw me a curve on the first pitch, so I was looking for a fastball. I've never had a big [winning] hit in that type of contest before."
Yorktown, which upset top-seed McLean in the semifinals, won despite having just two hits, both by Koomey, and striking out 12 times. The two hits were enough because of the pitching from Henning and starter Michael Lowen, who got angry and stingy after a rocky 43-pitch first inning.
"They just hit in the first inning," Yorktown coach John Skaggs said. "When Michael came off the mound he was angry and said, 'That was on me and I've got it from here.'"
Yorktown scored its other two runs in the third inning with the help of a throwing error on a pickoff attempt of Tanner Wall at first after he drove in a run with a groundout.
In the bottom of the fifth, Yorktown made a key inning-ending defensive play when second-baseman Will Porter took a relay throw from right fielder Brenden Materese and threw to Koomey, who tagged out a South Lakes runner trying to score on a hit.
"It was a perfect throw. Plays like that can change a game," said Yorktown senior outfielder and district Player of the Year Carson Wood, who has eight home runs this season. "There are a lot of seniors on this team and this is real exciting to pull this off our senior year."
Wall, another senior, agreed. "We had some senior goals this year and this was one of them. We put together a good team win. Lowen really came out and battled back after that first inning, Henning made big pitches and we put together some big plays."
Yorktown moves on to the 6A North Region tournament with a five-game winning streak, two being one-run wins over South Lakes.
"We returned a lot of players this season so this is the type of season we wanted," Skaggs said.
Yorktown finished 9-12 last season and did not qualify for the region tourney.