Bears halt the Lightning to win Memorial Day Tourney crown
The Wertsch Vision Associates-sponsored Bears jumped out to a big 9-0 lead and then withstood a late rally by Barolo’s Lititz Mutual Insurance Company’s Lititz Lightning to capture the Majors Division’s Memorial Day Tournament championship with a 9-4 victory on Monday, May 30 in Warwick Little League action at the Wilbur Field complex.
The game featured two of the top pitchers in the division, as the Bears’ Nate Hess faced off against the Lightning’s Drew Greenawalt. Both pitchers were nearly perfect through the first three innings, with neither giving up any runs.
Then Hess helped his own cause by lacing a triple to center field to start the fourth inning. Stephen Poliski plated Hess with the game’s first run with an RBI ground out to second. After Patrick Quinn worked a walk, he moved to third on Jacob McCracken’s single to right. McCracken stole second base, and one out later, Damien Ferreri drove in both runners with a single to left field, stretching the Bears’ lead to 3-0.
Hess kept the Lightning at bay with another good pitching performance in the bottom of the fourth inning, and then the Bears got the bats rolling again in the top of the fifth. Connor Cowher started things off by lining a single to center field, Ryan Aukamp followed with a base hit, and then Hess added yet another single, bringing Cowher home. A walk to Poliski and an error that allowed Quinn to reach base safely played two more runs. After a couple of strikeouts, Ferreri came through again with a two-run single, driving in Poliski and Quinn to push the lead to 8-0.
Hess continued to pitch shutout ball in the bottom of the fifth and then the Bears added another run in the top of the sixth, as Hess ripped a leadoff double and scored on Quinn’s RBI single.
Barolo’s Lightning came alive during their last at-bat. After a quick out, Eric Garner started the rally with a single. Hess then came out of the game due to reaching his pitch limit and Cole Barolo greeted reliever Aukamp with a blast over the left-center field fence to cut the Bears’ lead to 9-2.
Jared Evans and Chad Meeder followed with base hits, and after a second strikeout, Bryan Heckman singled both players home to cut the Lightning’s deficit to 9-4. Aukamp then retired Foster Lobb on a groundout to the shortstop to end the game and give the championship to the Bears.
Earlier in the tournament, Ryan Esbenshade had a double, two singles and scored a run to help the Bears win their quarterfinal and semi-final games. Michael Alfano and Zach Weidner contributed at the plate and played stellar defense all weekend long, and Wilson Bushong helped the Bears during the semi-final game with a great catch on the run in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was a true team effort for the Bears, as all players contributed both offensive and defensively.
Scores from other games in the tournament were as follows:
Game 1: Ensinger Graphics (Ensinger), 14-4, vs. B.R. Kreider & Son, Inc. (Morgan);
Game 2: Wertsch Vision Associates (Aukamp), 7-2, vs. Warwick Autopark (Todd);
Game 3: Ensinger Graphics (Ensinger), 7-6, vs. Lititz Mutual Insurance (Barolo);
Game 4: Kreider & Son, Inc. (Morgan), 13-11, vs. Warwick Autopark (Todd);
Game 5: Lititz Mutual Insurance (Barolo), 7-6, vs. Kreider & Son, Inc. (Morgan)
Game 6: Wertsch Vision Associates (Aukamp), 11-7, vs. Ensinger Graphics (Ensinger);
Game 7: Lititz Mutual Insurance (Barolo), 9-3, vs. Ensinger Graphics (Ensinger);
Game 8: Wertsch Vision Associates (Aukamp), 9-4, vs. Lititz Mutual Insurance (Barolo). More BEARS, page B-4