The ‘We not me’ motto that has carried Milford Lou Gehrig Little League to success the past three seasons, added the codicil that reads ‘Next man up’ in its District 4 semifinal game with Milford International at Ralph Clarkson Field on Thursday night.
Lou Gehrig took an early lead and built upon that advantage to earn an 11-1 victory.
Lou Gehrig will next play Max Sinoway Little League out of North Haven for the 12U championship on Saturday at 4 at Ralph Clarkson Field.
Max Sinoway defeated Orange, 8-4, in its semifinal.
“The kids are battle tested, having won as 10s and losing in the semis as 11s,” manager Rob Hansen said. “Going into this season we hoped for this kind of success.The kids have bought into the we not me philosophy. Just like today, every win has been a team win. One through thirteen on the roster we are a collective and every game another player answers the bell.”
Lou Gehrig improved to 6-1 in district play after banging out 15 hits, with nine batters contributing to the base hit total.
Ethan Long and Zach Worzel each had three hits and drove in two runs.
Nolan McKenna-Hansen had a single, a double and an RBI.
Brian Goglia had a hit and two RBIs.
Kasen Lanese had two singles.
Brendan Buchner, Hunter Hoxie, Gavin Kaminski, and Jeanero King all had hits.
“We always count on our pitching and defense,” said Hansen, who is assisted by Kevin Long and Mark Kaminski. “Our bats are really heating up for us now — usually you only hope for two of the three (at one time). We’ve only allowed two runs in our last four games.
“Tonight, if one ball drops either way for them or us, it’s an entirely different ball game.”
Lou Gehrig’s Declan Wywoda got the start and pitched out of jams in the first two innings.
Milford International’s Justin Gentallan and Cal Wrigley each hit two-out singles to center in the top of the first, with Gentallan motoring to third on Wrigley’s hit.
Buchner at shortstop then made a fine play on Brendan Fallon’s grounder to retire the side.
Gentallan started for Milford International and had his breaking ball working, as Lou Gehrig batters kept pounding the ball into the dirt. That was all they needed.
Lanese opened the frame with a single over Nate Seluga’s head at shortstop.
Wywoda walked, and after Gentallan got the next two outs in the infield, Long singled off his glove to plate Lanese .
Chase Bryant’s high chopper went into the outfield to make it 2-0.
Milford International put another two-out rally together in the second.
After Wywoda struck out the first two batters, Vin Hine singled to right and Zach Trevathan doubled to the fence in left-center field.
Another strikeout by Wywoda left them both in scoring position.
Buchner and Hoxie singled with one out in the home second. Worzel knocked in the run for a 3-0 lead.
The frustration for Milford International didn’t wane in its third at try — it increased 33 percent.
After stranding two runners in each of the first two frames, they loaded the bases in the third.
One out later, Wrigley had a great at bat that culminated with his ripping the seventh pitch he saw for a hard single to left,
Gavin Kaminski made a fine catch in left for the second out, but Jaden Prosser also had a good turn at the plate and reached on an error.
Buchner again made a great play, this time on Joe Cichowski’s low liner.
He scooped up the ball and beat the Prosser to the second base bag.
Lou Gehrig threatened again in the fourth, but Fallon threw out a runner attempting to steal.
McKenna-Hansen kept the inning going with a two-out single and Kaminski followed with a base hit to right field.
Ron Mastroni came up with the ball and fired to third, where McKenna-Hansen somehow danced around the glove tag.
He later scored on a wild pitch and it was 4-0.
Milford International got on the board in the fourth.
Jake Jasminski singled with one out for the sixth hit off Wywoda, who turned around and posted his fourth strikeout.
The fleet-of-foot Seluga beat out a bunt for a base hit and Gentallan worked his team’s second walk.
The fire-balling left-handed Worzel came on in relief here.
Wrigley stood in and ripped a 1-2 pitch into left field for an RBI single.
Worzel put the third out in the book on strikes and struck out the side in the fifth.
Lou Gehrig took the score to 8-1 in the fourth, with Worzel (double), Long (RBI single), King (single) and McKenna-Hansen (RBI double) leading the attack.
Buchner reached on an error in the home fifth.
Base hits by Lanese, Wywoda, Worzel and Goglia brought home three runs and by rule shortened the game by one inning.
“This group has had three weeks to get to know each other,” said Milford International manager Pat Fallon of his team’s 4-2 run in districts. “They are a quiet bunch and for the first few days it was hard to get them to talk (to each other). We did some team building, things jelled and this has been a great experience.”
Lou Gehrig and Max Sinoway has met once this postseason, with the North Haven bunch winning a 9-0 decision ten days ago.
“They are talented, they are deep,” Hansen said of the 6-0 Sinoway team. “This is a great group of players we have and the goal was to get to the championship. Now, we’re looking forward to that opportunity.”