If Davis National 9-10 All-Star Chris D’Angelo didn’t already have a sports moment worth talking about for the rest of his life, he certainly does now.
D’Angelo hit a grand slam over the right-field fence in the fifth inning of Thursday night’s Little League District 64 tournament elimination game to cap off a memorable comeback and help give his team a 7-6 victory over Vacaville National.
The win, which came at the Davis Little League Complex, sets up a game Friday night between DNLL and Dixon — which stayed alive by beating Davis American earlier Thursday evening — at 7 p.m. The winner of that game will play Saturday for a spot in the finals.
“As soon as (D’Angelo) hit it, I started yelling ‘get out of here! Get out of here!’ He hits the ball hard all the time,” DNLL manager Aaron Difuntorum said afterward. “We’ve had him for a couple of years now. He’s always been a really hard hitter. It was incredible. He actually got stung by a bee in warm-ups, so it was kind of crazy.”
After D’Angelo’s homer — one of two on the night for the local catcher and outfielder — erased a 6-3 VNLL lead and put the locals up by one, pitcher Luke Carrell and the Davis defense retired the first three batters they saw in the top of the sixth to seal the game.
The win was made even more spectacular by the fact that the locals were down 6-0 after the first two innings. Vacaville got its scoring on a three-run homer and a couple of one-run plays.
DNLL showed no signs of life until the bottom of the third, when Nathan Faber belted a double deep into center field to score Caden Difuntorum.
D’Angelo then hit his first homer of the night in the fourth to cut the deficit to 6-2.
In its next at-bat, Davis quickly loaded the bases and scored when Carrell was walked home. Two batters later, D’Angelo gave the locals their first lead of the game.
Difuntorum started on the mound for DNLL and was replaced in the first by Will Fehrenbacher, who went on to pitch a little over two innings, striking out four batters in the process. Thompson pitched the final three frames and added two strikeouts.
The win was the perfect way for Davis to get its momentum back after a rough 7-2 loss to Woodland National on Wednesday night that landed the locals in the losers’ bracket.
“Great way to bounce back. Great way not to give up,” the elder Difuntorum said. “It was awesome.”
DNLL will play Dixon at seven p.m. on Friday.
“(Dixon) is a good team. They’re a great hitting team (and) they put the ball in play,” Difuntorum said. “We’ve just got to come and play defense and start swinging the bats even more.”
— Reach Will Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org