Portland Rockets second baseman Cameron Pratt reaches to receive a throw from catcher Will Butts as Evan Vansumeran of the Fort Wayne?Jackers (8) attempts to steal second base during the first inning of their National Amateur Baseball Federation regional game on Saturday at Carrington Field in?Fort Wayne. Vansumeran swiped the bag safely, and the Jackers went on to score all their runs in the first inning for a 7-0 win against the Rockets. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
Portland Rockets second baseman Cameron Pratt reaches to receive a throw from catcher Will Butts as Evan Vansumeran of the Fort Wayne?Jackers (8) attempts to steal second base during the first inning of their National Amateur Baseball Federation regional game on Saturday at Carrington Field in?Fort Wayne. Vansumeran swiped the bag safely, and the Jackers went on to score all their runs in the first inning for a 7-0 win against the Rockets. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
FORT WAYNE — They nearly pulled off the unthinkable.

After losing six of their final seven games of the regular season, the Rockets had won each of their first two contests in the regional tournament.

Despite being 11 games under .500 entering Saturday, they had a chance to make the world series for just the third time in team history.

Those dreams were dashed in the bottom of the first inning.

The Portland Rockets surrendered seven runs — all in the first frame — and recorded just two hits in a 7-0 loss to the Fort Wayne Jackers in the final game of National Amateur Baseball Federation regional play Saturday afternoon at Carrington Field.

With a win, the Rockets would have advanced to the NABF World Series for the first time since 2017 and just the third time in the team’s 50-plus year history.

Instead, the South Bend Royals, who the Rockets beat 3-2 Thursday and also defeated those same Jackers on Friday, were crowned regional champions based on tie-breaking criteria (head-to-head) and earned the first world series berth in team history.

Portland (9-21) went down in order on just six pitches in the top of the first inning.

Then, in the home half of the frame, Rocket starter Tyler Reynolds had trouble getting an out.

He walked the first batter he faced on a full count, and, after a stolen base, a single allowed that leadoff walk to score. Consecutive doubles made it 3-0 Fort Wayne.

A single put runners at the corners before Reynolds finally got a pair of outs — Cameron Pratt made an acrobatic running catch at second base with the infield in, and Reynolds induced an infield grounder.

But a double made it 5-0, a single pushed the score to 6-0 and a triple to deep center field marked the final run of the afternoon.

Reynolds failed to get out of the first inning, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits with the one walk on 39 pitches.

Chandler Jacks stepped in for relief, and over the course of 5 1/3 scoreless innings he gave up three hits and one walk with two strikeouts. He benefited from three double plays.

Offensively, the Rockets struggled mightily, not managing a hit until the top of the fifth inning.

Peyton Smith broke up the potential no-hitter with a single in the top of the fifth. Jared Holley had the team’s only other hit, a single in the top of the sixth inning. Prior to Holley’s single, Pratt drew a one-out walk. He, nor any other Rocket, advanced past second base.