Warwick 9 year-olds take second in District 23 Little League Tourney
Riding well-balanced efforts from their offense and pitching staff, Warwick’s all-stars advanced to the District 23 Little League nine-year-old tournament championship game at the Wilbur complex last Sunday.
Unfortunately, their hopes for a title fell just short while suffering a hard-fought 6-5 loss to Octorara in the final game.
"We had our chances, we could’ve won both games we lost," manager Reid Miller said. "But it was a great group of kids. My expectations were that they would play well and they did."
Warwick jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on consecutive hits by John Seibert, Robbie Heckman and Trey Miller. Then Octorara answered with a three-spot to take its first lead of the game.
It remained a 3-2 contest until the fifth inning when Warwick scored three times to pull back in front 5-3. Leadoff batter Camron Hess reached base and scored on Seibert’s RBI double. Later, Trey Miller added an RBI base hit to give Warwick’s its two-run cushion.
But Octorara continued to fight and it scored one in the fifth to make it a one-run game. Then in the bottom of the sixth, Octorara put together a two-run rally to earn a walk-off 6-5 victory. John Seibert pitched superbly in the game as Warwick came up just short of the championship.
But Miller could not have been more proud of his players for their performance.
"You couldn’t ask for anything more," Miller remarked. "We played five days in a row through that 100-degree heat. They came out every day and worked hard. We only had 11 kids and the last three games, we only had 10. So there was no resting. To play five days in a row without a break and through that heat, that’s a pretty good group of kids. And I can’t say anything more about the league. The fields were in great shape. The whole community helped out. It was really good."
Earlier, Warwick opened tournament play with a wild 13-12 win over Cocalico. They trailed 12-9 going into the bottom of the sixth when they scored four runs to pull off the dramatic victory. Ryan Shirk led off the inning with a single, Seibert doubled and Heckman delivered a single. Then with Heckman on second base, Connor Evans came through with a clutch two-out single to tie the game. Colin Brubaker followed with a base hit and then Collin Beech knocked in Evans with the game-winning run to complete the dramatic come-from-behind win.
Miller pointed to his squad’s tremendous on-base percentage as an indication of their offensive abilities in the tournament. Overall, they scored 59 runs in six games.
"We had some talent on that team," Miller remarked. "Our on-base percentage was ridiculous. For awhile, our lowest kid was, like, .420."
Next, Warwick suffered its first loss of the tourney when they dropped an 8-5 loss to Octorara. Warwick yielded six runs in the first inning and fell behind 8-0 early in the game. But in the fifth inning, Warwick scored four runs to get back in the game, highlighted by Heckman’s bases-loaded triple. Warwick added another run in the sixth and had the bases loaded with two outs, but a line drive to center off the bat of Trey Glass was caught to end the game. Unfortunately for Warwick, they left 12 runners on base in the six-inning game.
Warwick, however, bounced back nicely with a 20-2 drubbing of Conestoga Valley in its next game. They jumped on CV for 12 runs in the top of the first and never looked back.
Beech finished 2-for-3 with a double and triple, Seibert was 4-for-4 with two doubles and a triple, and Anthony Sivillo went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles.
Miller started on the mound for Warwick and was followed by Beech, Evans, and Glass. Combined, they held CV to just two runs on four hits while striking out seven. Overall, Warwick pitched five or six kids in the tournament and all of them stepped up.
"Our pitching was outstanding," Miller said. "After the first inning the first time we played Octorara, it was phenomenal."
In a rematch with Cocalico in its next game, Warwick won easily this time, scoring four runs in the first and cruising to a 10-0 win. Beech led the offensive attack, going 2-for-3 with a home run and double.
Seibert started on the hill and was dominant while giving up just one hit and striking out four. Heckman and Beech each threw one shutout inning in relief to preserve the one-hit shutout.
In the semis, Warwick beat Solanco 6-1 with another strong pitching performance. Heckman started and was followed by Beech, Miller and Evans as they combined on a two-hitter with 13 strikeouts.
The offense was keyed by Seibert, who blasted a three-run homer over the left field fence to blow open a close game. Logan Hann had a hit in front of Seibert’s shot and Ryan Shirk finished 3-for-3 in the game to help send Warwick to the championship game. More ALL-STARS, page B-3