Lawrenceville, GA- The Falcons held a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th, but the Tornadoes exploded for four runs in the 6th and eight more in the 8th to secure their automatic bid to the NAIA Opening Round. Fisher's playoff hopes are still alive though, as there is an opportunity for an at-large bid to the dance. The Falcons will have to play the waiting game as other conferences finish up their tournaments by Wednesday.
TC got on the board first without registering a hit as Falcons starter Norberto Ceballos (Loiza, PR) ran into some control issues early on as he hit a pair of Tornadoes. A stolen base and a Falcons error allowed Wilkin Louis to hit a sac fly to give his a team an early 1-0 lead. Fisher answered quickly though, tying the game up in the top of the second on an RBI base hit from Jonathan Rosado (Bayamon, PR) that scored John Batista (Lawrence, MA) to make it 1-1. The Falcons grabbed their first lead of the game an inning later when Mitchell Lundholm (Plymouth, MA) tagged a double to left with Ismael Perez (Brooklyn, NY) following up with an RBI single to take the 2-1 lead after three. Ceballos settled in after a shaky start holding the Tornadoes to just one hit through the 5th, keeping it a 2-1 game. Fisher added a pair of runs in the top of the 6th off of reliever Julian Fitts who shut out the Falcons on Saturday. Batista tallied his first hit of the day and moved up to second on a deep fly ball to center from Cameron Pearson (Orlando, FL). With two outs, Joshua Rogers (Highlands Ranch, CO) knocked in Batista on an RBI single to make it 3-1. Rosado added his second hit, plating Rogers, giving his team a 4-1 lead in the 6th.
The Tornadoes responded in the bottom of the inning, chasing Ceballos from the game after he gave up a pair of singles to make it a 4-2 game with the bases loaded with one out. Falcons reliever Raymundo Gomez (Lynn, MA) was able to get Emmanuel Amparo to fly out for the second out, but back-to-back singles from TC gave them their first lead since the first inning, 5-4. Coach Dulin went to his bullpen again, this time to Johann Doerrer (Dolgeville, NY) who was coming off a complete game shut out on Sunday afternoon. The hurler forced Julian Lopez to ground out, keeping it a 5-4 game after six full. Talladega brought in their ace reliever David Padilla in the top of the 7th, who has only given up only four earned runs all season. Padilla shut down the Falcons hot offense, throwing three clean innings, striking out 5 of the 9 batters he faced. The Tornadoes put the game out of reach in the 8th, tacking on eight runs on six hits, including a grand slam from Manuel Caballero, his 6th homer of the season, and would hold on for the 13-4 victory. The win sent the Tornadoes to the Conference Finals against the host institution Georgia Gwinnett, with the two teams squaring off at 3pm.
Rosado led the Falcons offense for the third straight day, going 3 for 4 at the plate while adding a pair of RBI's in the losing effort. Ceballos takes the loss for the Falcons, allowing just one earned run and three hits in the contest. Fitts gets the win for TC, his second of the tournament over the Falcons, pitching in relief, and striking out one. Oswaldo Calderon and Emmanuel Amparo each had a pair of hits to lead their team to the Championship game.