Jenison’s sophomore Morgan Macek explained that she hit home runs that traveled further into the past.
However, none were bigger than the one she hit in the Junior League World Series semifinal on Friday night in Kirkland, Washington.
Macek, who beats the cleanup for the Georgetown Central All-Stars, slammed a two-run home run on the right center field fence in the bottom of the ninth, giving his team an 8-7 victory over Summerlin South Little League of Las Vegas, Nev.
Central will now play Saturday’s league game, which will be shown live on ESPN2. In addition, Vitale’s of Hudsonville, 5779 Balsam Drive, will host a watch party. Central will face the winner of Friday’s second game between South East and Asia Pacific.
“At first, I didn’t think it happened,” Macek said. “I thought it was bouncing at first because there was a hill there in the outfield.”
Macek erupted in celebration once she realized what had happened.
“I put my hands up and the first thing that came to my mind was that we’re in the World Series championship now,” Macek said. “I was nervous because we were down one. I knew I was going to hit the ball and it would go far. I just didn’t know it went over the fence.
Central was down 7-6 when he came to bat. The rules state that teams open extra innings with a runner in second place. With Central’s Claire Merritt in second and no one out, Macek trailed 1-2 on the count before breaking the home run.
“We had a choice between bunt or not,” said central coach Calvin Merritt. “She was due for a good shot. She was hitting the ball well, so we said go ahead, walk away. We gave her the go-ahead, and she got the pitch she wanted and sent it to center right. She’s a great hitter and she hit a good shot. »
Georgetown, which includes players ages 13 to 14, won an extra set game in Thursday’s quarterfinals, beating Milford, Connecticut, 2-1 in 10 innings. Friday’s game proved equally tense as Central recouped four-time deficits.
West took a 2-0 lead in the first set and led 3-1 when Central tied the game in the third with a pair of runs. West added a run in the fourth but Central answered in their fourth half. Central scored in the fifth to take its first 5-4 lead, but West rallied for two points in the top seven to regain a 6-5 lead.
But Central didn’t finish, forcing extra innings when Kaylin Reifschneider picked out Macy Alkema with two outs to tie the game at 6-6. Neither team scored in the eighth before West moved up 7-6 with a run in the top of the ninth.
“They never give up,” Calvin Merritt said. “They go down, but they’re like, ‘We get it, it’s going to be fine. There is always a chance until the last out. We’ve taken it to the end several times now, but it’s all good.
“No matter who makes a mistake, there is someone to get it back. It’s always someone different. We’ve had a few clutch plays by people who epitomize what teamwork is all about. That’s what great teams do. They work together and find a way to win.
Claire Merritt pitched all nine innings to pick up the win. Merritt also had two hits and scored three runs. Macek, Alkema and Callie Naber all had two hits apiece.
Vitales plans to hold a throwback party Sunday at 6 p.m. Stay tuned to the Georgetown Facebook page for updates.