Erik Van Meetren was 4-for-6 with four RBIs on Sunday as Bishop Gorman defeated Brooklawn (N.J.) 14-10 to stay alive in the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C.
The Titans play Midland (Mich.) at 2 p.m. PDT on Monday.
Van Meetren hit a two-run single in the top of the ninth to give Gorman a 14-10 edge, and the Titans almost needed it.
“I just stayed hard up the middle,” Van Meetren said. “I was looking fastball but he threw me a curveball so I battled and went the other way.”
Brooklawn loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth on two walks and a single by Steve Wilgus.
Brooklawn’s No. 3 hitter, Joe Brooks, then hit a liner toward the gap in right center, but Johnny Sewald made a diving catch to end the game.
“I got on my toes and got a good jump on it,” Sewald said. “I just dove and made a catch. I wasn’t thinking about what happened if it got past me. I was just looking to make a play.”
Gorman (49-9-1) opened up a nine-run lead in the fifth before Brooklawn (45-6) began to chip away.
The Titans scored four runs in the third on RBI singles by A.J. Van Meetren and Trey Hoppel and a two-run single by Michael Blasko to make it 5-2.
Gorman added six runs in the top of the fifth on a two-run single by T.J. White, RBI singles by Hoppel, Erik Van Meetren and A.J. Van Meetren and a sacrifice fly by Sewald.
Gorman starter Cody Roper had allowed just two runs on four hits through four innings, but with the big lead the Titans turned to the bullpen.
Roper threw 74 pitches and might be called on to throw again should Gorman stay alive in the tournament.
“I figured a little risky strategy to take him out of the game but with his low pitch count he might be able to bounce back in two days,” Gorman coach Nick Day said.
That’s when Brooklawn began to cut into the lead, scoring eight runs over the next three innings to cut the lead to 12-10.
Hoppel threw 3 1/3 innings to pick up the win, but allowed eight runs, six of them earned. The Titans eventually had to turn to White, who thre 1 1/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts to earn a save.
“He actually didn’t pitch bad,” Day said of Hoppel. “Balls just kind of fell for them. It got close at the end, so we brought in T.J.”
White was 2-for-4 with four runs, and A.J. Van Meetren, Blasko, Hoppel and Justin Jones each added two hits for the Titans, who had 15 hits, all singles.
“We got some clutch hitting today,” Day said. “We were hitting with guys on base. Today we seemed to cash in when we had guys on base.”
White and Jones each had two stolen bases, and Gorman stole six bases as a team. The Titans have 41 stolen bases in seven regional and World Series games. White has stolen 13.
“That’s our philosophy on the bases,” Erik Van Meetren said. “We want to put pressure on them and keep them worried about us. It causes chaos and bad throws.”
Wilgus went 4-for-6 wiht a double a home run, two runs and two RBIs, and John Brue was 4-for-5 wiht two runs and two RBIs for Brooklawn.