Pirates win Minor League, tourney
- Published: July 31, 2008
The Pirates maintained their season-long lead during the final week of play to win the Minor League regular season championship with a 13–1 record. The team narrowly escaped a strong Reds team during the post-season tournament last week before going on to defeat the second-place Indians for the post-season crown.
The final week of play began with the Reds defeating the Cubs 8–6 on Monday, July 21. Christian Werner, April Riddell and J.T. Clark scored a pair of runs each, with Ethan DeWine and Keanan Onfroy-Curley each scoring once. The Reds won their second official game of the week by forfeit on Wednesday, July 23, when the Yankees couldn’t field the minimum number of required players, even though the Yankees on hand did win the unofficial scrimmage game by a score of 6–5.
Wednesday also saw the Indians get their first of two regular season wins for the week with a 13–5 victory over the Dragons. Liam Weigand led the Indians by going four for four and scoring four runs, including a third inning, three-run home run. Fielding Lewis also smashed a three-run homer and scored twice more, while Edward Johnson also scored three runs, including a solo home run in the second. Dragons Tony Marinelli and Jake Savage each scored a pair of runs while Danny Grote crossed the plate once. Defensively, Laura Chase single handedly put out four Indian runners and teamed up with Desirée Clark for two other outs.
The Pirates won their final regular season game 9–1 over the Cubs on Friday, July 25. Jared Scarfpin smashed a two-run home run with an RBI in the first, followed by Isaiah Taylor’s home run to put the Pirates up 3-0. The Cubs’ only run came in the second when Kennedy Harshaw knocked in Amanda Perkins who had doubled earlier. The Pirates added six more runs in the third, including one from rookie Jason Lansing, who scored on his first ever hit.
The season’s final game saw the Indians rally in the bottom of the fifth with two runs to edge the Reds 7–6. Ethan DeWine, April Riddell, J.T. Clark and Christian Werner all scored in the first to give the Reds and early lead. The Indians responded with four runs and a homer from J.T. Clark in the third to put the Reds up 6–3. The Indians pulled within two in the fourth before their sting in the bottom of the fifth, when with two outs, Fisher Lewis singled and Liam Weigand hit a two-run home run for the win.
The post-season tournament opened on Saturday morning with the Yankees advancing with a 10–3 win over the Dragons, despite being short several key players. Joe Thorp led all scorers with four runs, Ian Chick scored three times, Liam Weigand crossed the plate twice and Kenny McKinley added a single run. Brothers Taran and Zane Pergram each scored once for the Dragons while Jake Savage added the other run. Grant Reigelsperger was tagged out just short of home plate after a great defensive play by the Indians following his hard hit ball to left field.
Meanwhile, every Reds player scored in their 16–7 win over the Cubs to advance to the second round. Ethan DeWine, April Riddell, Andrew and J.T. Clark, Christian Werner and Christian Elam all scored twice, while Jack Runyon, Dylan Rainey and Lauryn DeWine all scored once.
The Indians won their semi-final game to advance to the championship game with a 5–0 win over the Yankees, who were again short on players. Fielding Lewis scored twice, with brother Fisher, Nathan Hardman and Liam Weigand all scoring once.
The other semi-final turned out to be the closest and most exciting game of the tournament when the Pirates rallied for nine runs in the bottom of the last inning to edge out the Reds 17–16. The Reds led until the final inning, with Ethan DeWine putting them out front with a lead-off home run, followed by four other runs. The teams held each other scoreless for a period before the Reds went up 13–8 in the fourth with scores from Werner, J.T. and Andrew Clark and Weymar Osborne, and positioned themselves for an upset with three more runs in the top of the last inning.
But in the bottom of the fifth, rookies Amani Wagner and Jason Lansing began the incredible Pirate rally. Wagner singled, followed by Lansing’s first ever double. Aaron Sherwood and Nate Gillman-Baggett then both singled, knocking in Wagner and Lansing. Jared Scarfpin then doubled, sending Sherwood home. Veteran Isaiah Taylor then smashed a triple to left, sending Gillman-Baggett and Scarfpin across the plate. Augie Knemeyer’s single scored Taylor, and Joey Plumer’s hard hit triple then tied the game at 16 by scoring Knemeyer and Aiden Cooney. That set up Devon Perry, who knocked in Plumer for the winning score with a hard hit grounder between second and third. It was an exciting win for the Pirates and a heart-breaking loss for the Reds.
Hot off their exciting semi-final win, the Pirate bats continued their offensive that evening, which resulted in a 15–1 decision over the Indians in the tournament championship under the lights. The Pirates scored five runs in the first, the third and the fourth innings, with Scarfpin and Taylor scoring three times each. The usually tough Pirate defense, missing in action against the Reds, also returned to hold the hard-hitting Indians to only a single run scored by Nathan Hardman in the fourth.
The Indians finished the regular season with a record of 10–3, two-and-a half games behind the Pirates, followed by the Yankees at 7–8, the Reds at 6–9, the Cubs at 5–10 and the Dragons at 2–12.
The teams appreciated their coaches, parent volunteers and others who helped out with the season, especially Tina Fox, Dave Conley and others with the Village of Yellow Springs. Final results, standings and statistics can all be found on the league Web site at www.leaguelineup.com/ysoyouthbb.