Rockets Power Comeback for 4-3 Walk-Off 9th Inning Thriller; Win AAA Championship & Advance to PA-State Playoff Tourney

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 10.17.35 PM
Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 10.17.35 PM
Nearly a year ago a horrendous series of events unfairly ended the Rockets second consecutive undefeated season prematurely. For all involved time has stood still, but the family that started crystallizing four seasons ago never stopped working. 

A Top 4 finish in the Public League's most talented division had everyone believing 2017 was the year of the Rocket! Yet, after an early exit from the City Tourney, courtesy of a team fired by an almost identical will to win, the Rockets took the field in search of redemption, a crack at an elusive AAA Championship and a bid into the PA State Post Season Tournament. 

The Rockets quickly found themselves down 2 to a fiery String Theory squad on a couple of unearned runs. But Captain Lukas Supovitz-Aznar came in to pitch in the 3rd, shut down the Knights and helped claw back into the game with a Double in the 4th, plating Ijustice Avery to make it 3-1. 

Aznar shut String Theory down, striking out 8, surrendering just 2 hits and 1 unearned run over 5 innings to keep it close. 

In the 6th a scary moment turned the tide. 

Senior Leon Finney was drilled in the back of the head with a wild fastball by Borgesi. After coming out of the game to see the trainer, the Rockets manufactured. Avery got another hit, Ben Simon drew a walk to load the bases and Senior Jason Greene drew another walk to make it 3-2. 

Aznar and the defense worked out of a jam in the top of the 7th as the Knights stranded the bases loaded, setting up magic hour. 

Senior Aaron Watson-Sharer battled and eventually laced a single to right field, then Sophomore Avi Cantor ripped a monster Double into the gap in right center. Sharer came in to score all the way from 1st, tying the game at 3.

Sensing the game slipping away, String Theory's coach intentionally walked Tony Brown and Avery after Leon Finney came back into the game to move Cantor 90 ft away from a win. The gamble worked for the Knights as the Rockets weren't able to get the winning run to cross, forcing extra innings. 

Finney struggled with control in the 8th, loading the bases by hitting three batters. Suddenly the momentum was in Theory's corner, but Finney reached down and found some electric stuff and struck out the side, keeping it knotted 3-3.  

SLA had another chance after Senior Arsenio Gomez worked a huge Base on Balls, but Theory's reliever Pratt got out of the jam and pushed the game to the 9th. 

Finney was dialed in. Striking out the first batter on three pitches, he then induced a slow roller to a charging Aznar at Short who made a smooth back hand and fired across to Sophomore Leo Cassel-Siskind for the 2nd out. Finney fell behind the next batter but battled right back, striking him out on three straight laser beams.

And so the stage was set for another chance to walk off their home field in Mt. Airy as winners one last time. With one out Junior Tony Brown smacked a hard single to right field and stole 2nd two pitches later. Ijustice Avery, who had been intentionally walked in his last at bat, came through with his third hit of the day, sending Tony Brown to 3rd. Avery stole 2nd on the next pitch, and the Knight's coach intervened again by intentionally walking Aznar to load the bases and pray for a double play.  

Having finished his pre-at bat ritual of wiping both hands in the dirt, Ben Simon stepped into the batter's box and locked in. The next ten minutes felt like a hundred as Simon dug in for one of his signature battles, fouling off pitch after pitch and working a full count. Then disaster struck when Simon popped up sky high along the first base line. The ball disappeared into a blinding gray sky and the Rockets bench erupted when Theory's First Basemen lost it. As the ball harmlessly landed on the grass just foul, Leon Finney screamed "They don't want it!" and Junior Alex Gomez declared "My man here, he's gonna get a hit. You watch!"

Simon stepped back in.

This is what childhood dreams are made of. 

Bottom of the ninth. Tie game. Bases loaded. Full Count. Championship on the line. Both benches screaming. An outfield of Mt. Airy Little Leaguers chanting "SLA, SLA, SLA!"

Pratt delivers the pitch and everyone takes a collective gasp.... 

The crack of the bat. The ball screaming toward the outfield. Simon punching the air as he sees it reach the wet grass. Tony Brown crossing the plate with the winning run. SLA's bench clearing and mobbing Ben "Big Daddy" Simon half way to 2nd.

As he disappears beneath a pile of humanity, the dream is reality. 

A Walk-Off Win. 

AAA Champions. 

An official bid into the PA State Playoff Tournament. 

But most importantly, Seniors- Arsenio Gomez, Jason Greene, Leon Finney, Colin Pierce, Ben Simon, Lukas Supovitz-Aznar and Aaron Watson Sharer- get a chance to wear the Rockets blue as a family again. 

After gaining composure, lining up to shake hands with a solid String Theory squad, talk almost immediately turned to getting ready for States. 

But First, "No matter what happens next, no one can ever take this away. You earned this. This is yours. This is yours for life!!!" 



Next Up: District XII Championship vs AAA Catholic League Champ Conwell-Egan (Thurs, 6/1 @ Archbishop Wood HS, Warminster, PA- 1st Pitch 1pm).