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Dramatic comebacks give Clifton Park early edge

Bulldogs defeat teams from Texas and North Dakota

— Two seventh-inning rallies in a row have the hosts from Clifton Park poised to advance into the championship round at the Babe Ruth World Series.

Matt Alverson's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Bulldogs (2-0) a 4-3 win over Grand Forks (N.D.) in Saturday's pool play game at Clifton Common. Alverson's hit came nearly 24 hours after Brendan Calistri's RBI fielder's choice drove in the go-ahead run in a 4-3 victory over pre-tournament favorite Eagle Pass (Texas) Friday.

"That's just an example of these guys not having a good game and overcoming it," Clifton Park manager Matt Frey said of Saturday's win. "It just speaks to their character."

The Bulldogs committed three errors and blew a 3-1 lead against Grand Forks before Alverson came through with the game-winning hit.

"I was having a tough night looking for my hit," said Alverson, who was also the winning pitcher in Friday's victory over Eagle Pass. "I got a pitch I was looking for, got a piece of it and stung it as much as I could."

Clifton Park scored twice in the bottom of the second inning and added another run in the third to build its 3-1 lead. But Grand Forks (0-2) scored twice in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game at 3.

Grand Forks might have scored more runs had Clifton Park's defense not come through with some clutch plays. The biggest came in the top of the seventh when Grand Forks had runners on second and third with one out. Tony Haley lofted a fly ball into shallow right field, where Calistri ran in and made the catch. Pinch runner Keenan Berning left third for home, but Calistri threw a perfect strike to catcher Michael Gillooley to get Berning out at home plate to end the threat.

The game looked like it might go extra innings when Alverson strode to the plate with two outs and Richard Drum standing on second base. Alverson hit a sharp grounder past the Grand Forks shortstop, and Drum motored around third and scored the winning run.

The Bulldogs can clinch a berth in the championship round of the World Series with a win in one of their last two games -- Monday's game against Meridian (Idaho) or Tuesday's game against Cranston (R.I.).

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