NBC Baseball

NBC World Series: Liberal rallies in ninth to top St. Joseph

The Liberal radio play-by-play announcer calls first baseman Blake Bergeron a lumberjack.

At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, that description fits. It doesn't give Bergeron any credit for his speed, however.

"He's a big boy, but he's a big boy that can move," designated hitter Joe Vaskas said.

Bergeron proved that with his dash from first base to score the winning run in Sunday's 7-6 win over St. Joseph (Mo.). The BeeJays remain unbeaten and move into the winners bracket final on Tuesday. Liberal scored twice in the bottom of the ninth after giving up three runs in the top of the inning to fall behind 6-5.

"We have no quit in this team," Bergeron said. "We were down one and we were scratching for one. Then Joe ended up coming up big."

Vaskas smashed a double off the third baseman's glove, down the left field line, bouncing off box seats near the wall in foul territory. Nick Cocking scored from third to tie it. Bergeron, running with two outs, never slowed. He scored with a tumbling, dusty slide and teammates engulfed him on the hot artificial turf at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

"It took a funny bounce down the line, and I was going," he said. "I've got speed for my size."

Liberal manager John Martin didn't consider using the stop sign from his spot at third base.

"I was sending him all the way," he said. "We tied the game, and right there we got a little momentum."

The BeeJays will take plenty of momentum into Tuesday's game against an undetermined opponent. They are 4-0 and average eight runs a game. Vaskas, who doubled twice and drove in four runs Sunday, is batting .500. Bergeron has two homers and nine RBI.

"Everyone plays as a family on this team," Vaskas said. "I've played on a lot of teams in my past, and nothing's come close to what this team has. That's real rare, because we just come in for the summer."

Liberal did most of its damage with a five-run third inning. Bergeron drove in a run with a double. Vaskas followed with his first double. Marc Gomez and Richard Bohlken also drove in runs and Liberal took a 5-2 lead.

The Mustangs, who fell to 3-1 and play again on Wednesday, cut the lead to 5-3 in the sixth.

Liberal reliever Tomas Cruz sandwiched two outs around a walk before things went bad. He walked Ryan Hook to put two runners on. Johnny Coy hit a sinking line drive to center field. Gomez dove and missed, allowing a run to score. Two more walks tied the game 5-all. Tony Jandron's single scored Coy with the go-ahead run. The Bee Jays ended the inning cutting down Brent Seifert after he rounded third and then tried to return.