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MWV claims district title after lengthy finals battle

Joshua Spaulding image
by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

THE MOUNT WASHINGTON VALLEY 10U team celebrates its District Eight championship on June 28. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 03, 2017
FARMINGTON — In a district finals battle that saw three games spread over the course of three days and two different fields, two weather delays, a seven-run last at-bat rally to win and plenty of action all around, the Mount Washington Valley 10U team defeated Kingswood two games to one to capture the district eight title.

The final pitch was thrown on Wednesday, June 28, two days after the first pitch of the best of three finals was thrown.

Kingswood and MWV opened the tournament on Monday, June 26, and MWV got out to what seemed like a comfortable 9-3 lead heading to the bottom of the sixth inning.

Kingswood was not quite as comfortable, however, as they rallied to score seven runs in the last inning and walked off with the 10-9 win.

Caden Laing led off the fateful inning with a walk and stole second. One out later, a groundout by Grayson Gilpatrick moved him to third, putting MWV one out away from clinching the first game.

However, a base hit from Ben Libby drove in a run and then Evan Harrington was hit by a pitch to put another runner on base. A stolen base and throwing error resulted in another Kingswood run crossing the plate and after Jack Larson worked a walk, MWV made a pitching change, with Johnny Pandora taking the hill. Hayden Eastman then reached on an error to drive in another run and then Cole Butcher also reached on an error, plating two more runs and Kingswood was within a run at 9-8. Trevor Eldridge worked a walk and MWV made another pitching change, with Jacob Brown taking the hill.

He was greeted by a base hit from Laing to tie the game and then Nate Cloos reached on an error, plating the winning run as Kingswood took game one by a 10-9 score.

Kingswood started game two much like they finished game one, with the offense clicking, as they scored two runs in the top of the first inning.

With two outs, Libby had a base hit and stole second. Harrington beat out an infield hit and also stole second and both runners came around to score on a base hit by Larson for a 2-0 lead for Kingswood.

Laing got the start on the hill for Kingswood and the left set MWV down easily in the first inning. KIngswood got a one-out walk from Eldridge in the top of the second inning but MWV catcher Chase Barbour gunned him down stealing second. Laing followed by reaching on an error but he was stranded at first base when MWV starter Brown got a grounder back to the mound to end the inning.

MWV took the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Brown and Ari Souza had base hits to start the inning but Brown was eliminated at third when Barbour grounded to short. Souza was also cut down at third when Logan Ramsey's grounder in front of the plate was pounced on by Cloos and he fired to third for the out. However, a stolen base and a wild pitch plated one run and after Dylan Hooper worked a walk, Noah Hembree reached on an error, allowing two more runs to score and MWV had the 3-2 lead.

A nice play from Pandora at first helped keep Kingswood off the board in the top of the third, though Harrington did reach on an error. Brown got out of trouble with a strikeout to end the inning.

MWV added to the lead in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Pandora singled and then Dakota Moss doubled. A base hit from Brown plated both runners and one out later, a base hit from Barbour drove in another run for a 6-2 lead. Cloos helped get his team out of the inning by throwing out the runner stealing second.

Brown set Kingswood down in order in the third, including a pair of strikeouts but Laing answered back with a solid inning as well. After a leadoff hit by Ramsey, two consecutive force plays and a fly ball to center ended the frame.

Laing led off the top of the fifth with a base hit but Barbour gunned him down stealing second. Gilpatrick reached on an error, Libby had a base hit and Harrington was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs, but Pandora snagged a line drive to end the inning.

MWV closed out the game in the bottom of the fifth. Evan Cicero started the inning by reaching on an error and he scored on a base hit from Pandora. Eldridge took over on the hill for Kingswood and after Pandora was caught stealing, Moss, Brown and Souza all reached base to load the bases. Sawyer Hussey reached to drive in one run and then walks to Ramsey, Hooper and Hembree drove in three more runs and a base hit from Allain finished the game off with the 12-2 win.

That meant the teams had to come back the next night for a third and deciding game. Rain during the day had made the field unplayable, so the game was moved to the second field at the Farmington 500 Club.

Souza got the start on the hill for MWV and though Giplatrick reached on an error with one out in the first, she worked around trouble.

MWV got on the board with two in the bottom of the inning against Eastman. Allain had a base hit to start and then a walk to Cicero and Pandora getting hit with a pitch loaded the bases. Moss then delivered a base hit for a 2-0 lead. After Brown worked a walk, the teams were pulled from the field for thunder and lightning.

When they came back, Eastman got a strikeout, a grounder to short and another strikeout to end the inning with no further damage.

Kingswood responded with two in the top of the second inning. Larson opened the inning with a walk and Eastman reached on an error. After a pair of strikeouts from Souza, a base hit by Laing delivered both runners to tie the game at two. Cloos followed with a double, but a nice play by Brady Campbell at second base on a line drive ended the inning.

MWV put up five in the bottom of the inning. Campbell had an infield hit to start and then Gabe Shaw worked a walk and Allain beat out an infield hit. One out later, Pandora was hit by a pitch again to plate one run and then Moss stroked a two-run double for a 5-2 lead. Brown worked a walk before Souza grounded to short for a force at the plate. Barbour walked to plate another run and Hooper was hit by a pitch to make it 7-2 before the inning was over.

As MWV was warming up, more lightning came through and this time, it didn't let up, as the teams were told to head out and return the next night.

So on Wednesday they were back at it, picking up where they left off. Souza surrendered a one-out double to Harrington in the top of the third and he took third on a groundout by Larson but she got out of the inning on another grounder.

Cloos took over on the hill in the bottom of the third for Kingswood and after Shaw reached on an error to open the inning, Allain had a base hit and then a double from Cicero drove in both runners. Pandora walked and Moss reached on a fielder's choice, driving in another run. Brown walked and then Souza reached on an error to plate two more runs, though she was tagged out between first and second. After a walk to Barbour, Cloos got a strikeout and line drive to second to end the inning.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Liam Moore and Laing worked back to back walks and Allain took over on the hill for MWV, getting a strikeout. Gilpatrick then worked a walk to load the bases and Libby lined a shot toward right field, but Pandora was able to snag it before it reached the green, ending the game with the 12-2 win for MWV.

MWV advanced to the state finals in Lancaster, which started this past weekend.

The MWV roster includes Alex Allain, Evan Cicero, Johnny Pandora, Dakota Moss, Jacob Brown Ari Souza, Sawyer Hussey, Logan Ramsey, Chase Barbour, Gabe Shaw, Noah Hembree, Dylan Hooper and Brady Campbell. The team is coached by Andy Pepin, Rob Campbell, Christian Pandora and Jason Cicero.

The Kingswood roster includes Nate Cloos, Grayson Gilpatrick, Ben Libby, Evan Harrington, Jack Larson, Hayden Eastman, Cole Butcher, Liam Moore, Caden Laing, Owen Eldridge, Trevor Eldridge and Sam Keniston. The team is coached by Jeff Cloos, Joe Sanft and Brian Laing.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or sportsgsn@salmonpress.com.

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