Two days of gray skies had scared the fans away, in droves, from Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and the NBC World Series.
More of the same filtered into Tuesday as the games carried on, under clouds, and without a lot of people in the seats.
Then, something changed. The sun came out. And people began to file into the stadium a lot of them, finally accompanied by a free ticket giveway.
The El Dorado Broncos took care of the rest, defeating the San Diego Waves 4-0 to advance to the first week winners bracket final against the San Diego Force on Wednesday night, when the local favorites will play in another feature game at 7 p.m. The winner will be the first team to advance from the first week of games to Championship Week, which begins Friday.
The El Dorado Broncos, just the name, gets a good following whenever you play (at the NBC), El Dorado coach Chad Gerwick said. And you know as well as I do, that kids love to play in front of big crowds. They got a lot of people out to watch them tonight and they played really well. That was fun.
The Broncos took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning after Clayton Taylor scored on a wild pitch by San Diegos J.T. Michelson after Taylor reached on a walk. Michelson struggled with control and took the loss, going 5 2/3 innings while walking five and striking out five.
We played good defense, we just didnt swing it that well tonight, San Diego general manager Mike Studer said. And when we did swing it and put a bat on it, we hit it right at somebody.
San Diego did struggle to hit the ball, mustering only two hits, thanks in large part to the performance of El Dorado starting pitcher Christian Cox, who went 7 1/3 innings while giving up one hit and striking out three.
We just couldnt score any runs, but we kept grinding until we came out on top, said Cox, who played at Hutchinson Community College and has signed with Nebraska. I was just trying to fill it up and get guys out. Thats a big win for us because its no fun to be in the losers bracket. We want to make it to Championship Week and we had a really good crowd that helped us get through tonight.
The Broncos stranded two runners in the sixth after Tyler Ware tripled to open the inning, but added another run in the eighth when Johnny Coen walked to lead off then scored on a single by Taylor, who plays for Nebraska-Omaha.
At that point we hadnt really hit all game so I was thinking we were kind of due, Taylor said. And he threw me an outside changeup with two strikes, which is what I sit on.
San Diego stranded two runners in the eighth. El Dorado added two runs in the ninth on a sacrifice fly RBI by Mikel Mucha that scored Wade Stramp, and Jason McMurray scored on wild pitch to make the score 4-0.
The Broncos will pitch Chance Cotton on Wednesday against the Force.
Weve done a great job of executing this entire tournament, Gerwick said. Thats been big for us, doing the little things when we need them, like laying down a bunt.