Junior Major League's Thursday night thriller
Eli’s Tavern Braves squared off with the defending champion Pirates, sponsored by Precious Pet Sitting, in a Thursday night thriller in Milford’s Junior Major League Minor Division.
The game had all the ups and downs of the most classic baseball game and ended in dramatic fashion.
Ryan Samson took the mound for the Braves, and although the Pirates made him work, throwing 45 pitches, he struck out five and held the Pirates scoreless through the first two innings.
The Braves got off to a quick start in the top of the first inning, sending nine hitters to the plate and scoring six runs.
Key RBI hits included a drag bunt by Ben Kraft followed by a scorching liner to center field by Cal Wrigley to drive in two runs. Ryan French drove in the final run of the inning.
The Braves tacked on another run in the second when Liam Fedigan drove in Lenny Ialeggio to extend the lead to 7-0.
In the third inning, the talented Pirates mounted a rally. After reaching on an error and a walk, Mary Rodrigues and Declan Wywoda scored on a solid single by Mike Kwolek to the outfield gap.
The Pirates worked the Braves’ multiple pitchers into five consecutive walks, resulting in three more runs and ended the inning cutting the lead to 7-5.
The score remained the same, as the Pirates’ pitchers Jake Stash and Declan Wywoda stymied the Braves hitters, retiring six in a row with four strikeouts.
The Braves turned to Kian McEnerny on the mound in the fourth and he matched the Pirates pitching, holding the Pirates scoreless for two innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Braves’ Johann Chen delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single over the head of the third baseman knocking in Ethan Toledo and Devin Calvin. That extended the lead to 9-5.
However, the Pirates again rallied in the top of the sixth with an amazing display of their own.
With two outs and bases loaded, the Pirates scored a run on the savvy speed of Conner Chirico, who reached home plate on a dropped third strike before the Braves catcher could tag him out.
Samuel Griffin kept the game alive sprinting safely down to first base and bringing up the top of the lineup.
Mary Rodriguez promptly hit a single, followed by a double by Wywoda to drive in four more runs and take an 10-9 lead.
The Braves’ Anthony Brassel made a catch in center field off the bat of Cody Dineson to end the inning and keep it one-run game.
The crowd and momentum supported the Pirates ace on the mound looking to close out the game, before the Braves’ leadoff batter Liam Fedigan laced a single down the first base line and promptly stole second base.
Samson then drove a 1-1 pitch to center field, which tipped off the glove of the center fielder for a double, bringing Fegidan home with the tying run.
The Braves’ Kian McEnery hit a single squarely past the second baseman, as Samson scored the game-winning run. The final score was 11-10.