Orioles Defeat Cardinals to Capture Little League Majors Division Title
Orioles pull off dramatic, come-from-behind victory for league championship.
In a dramatic, come-from-behind victory, the Orioles defeated the Cardinals, 9-6, to capture the 2012 Sudbury Little League Majors Division Championship Saturday at Featherland Park.
Trailing the Cardinals 5-2, the Orioles sent 11 players to the plate and scored seven runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a decisive 9-5 lead. Jack Coletti (BB, RS), Nate Nickerson (RS) and Adam Thomas (SB, 2 BB, RS) each drew a walk from Cardinals’ pitcher Will Fletcher (2 IP, 3 Ks, 1 H, 42 pitches) to load the bases. Ivan Orup (1 IP) came in to relieve Fletcher and promptly got Brendan Frain on a pop fly to shortstop for the first out.
But the Orioles’ offense was just getting cranked up when Archie Stewart (2-3, 2 RS, 2 RBIs) slammed a long single to left centerfield that scored Coletti and Nickerson, and Thomas came home with the tying run on Alex Gullotti’s (1B, HR, 3 RBIs) base hit to centerfield. Haydn Herrema (RS) drew a walk to load the bases again, and teammate AJ Cataldo (RBI) followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Stewart and gave the Orioles a slim one-run lead. But three more runs on back to back singles by Harrison Reiter (2 RBIs) and Thomas Griffin (2-3, 2 1B, RBI) extended the Orioles’ lead and eventual victory.
The Cardinals staged an attempted comeback rally in the bottom of the inning when the first two batters - Thomas Bacon (1B, BB, RBI, RS) and Kyle Smith (2 1B) - banged out consecutive singles. With one out, Jacob Pullen’s (1B, RBI) run-scoring base hit cut the Orioles’ lead to three. Orioles’ reliever Stewart (1 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 K, 37 pitches) shut the door on the Cardinals by getting the final two outs.
The teams traded leads early in the game. Cards’ starting pitcher Pullen (3 IP, 35 pitches, 2 hits, 2 ER) set down the side in order on seven pitches in the first inning. Defensive gem of that inning went to rightfielder Coletti who dived and caught a line drive by Pullen. Will Fletcher’s RBI (2B, RBI, RS) double scored Conor Lachman (RS) from second to put the Cards on the board early, but in the top of the second, Orioles’ Gullotti tagged Pullen for a two-run home run over the left centerfield fence to give the O’s a 2-1 lead. Orup (2-2, 2 1B, 2 RS, RBI) made a spectacular diving catch in centerfield of a fast-dropping hard hit ball by Reiter in that inning.
The Cardinals loaded the bases in the bottom of the second when Orup beat out an infield hit and Greer Fried (2-2, RBI) and Jack Fletcher each drew a base on balls. But Orioles’ Thomas escaped that inning allowing just one run on a bases-loaded walk to Thomas Bacon, and on the strength of great defense behind him. Orioles’ shortstop Frain had two putouts in that inning. Thomas was the starting pitcher for the Orioles, going 2 2/3 innings, recorded two strikeouts and scattered two hits.
Pullen and Will Fletcher kept the Orioles off the board for the third, fourth and fifth innings with great pitching and tough Cardinals’ defense. Thomas Griffin had the lone hit for the O’s in those three innings, and teammates Vinnie Richard, Thomas and Cataldo all reached base safely but were left stranded.
In the third inning, with two outs, the Cardinals scored two runs. Ben Hankey came home on a passed ball and Fried’s run-scoring single plated Orup.
Orioles’ Haydn Herrema made a great defensive play at second by stopping a hard hit ground ball and firing to first baseman Gullotti in the fifth for an out.
Orup’s base hit in the bottom of the fifth scored Will Fletcher for the Cardinals’ fifth run. The Cardinals were without Conor Lee in the sixth because of a shoulder injury. The Orioles’ Coletti helped seal the victory with another great catch in centerfield off a sharply-hit ball from Lachman. Orioles’ relief pitcher Stewart was credited with the victory, pitching 1 and 2/3 innings and did not allow an earned run.
American League Championship Game
Orioles 11, Athletics 10
Adam Thomas’ base hit to right field in the bottom of the eighth inning scored Jack Coletti with the winning run as the Orioles defeated the Athletics 11-10 in a thrilling game to capture the American League Championship. Vincent Richard singled to get the rally started in the eighth, then Coletti reached based on a fielder's choice. Nate Nickerson advanced Coletti on a groundout to second and set up Thomas’ walk-off, game-winning hit. The Orioles' pitching staff of Archie Stewart, Brendan Frain, Thomas, Thomas Griffin, and Alex Gulotti was strong, with Gulotti giving up only one run in the final three innings. For the A's, Joseph Sziabowski made an unbelievable game-saving catch in right field in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded to send the game to extra innings, and then pitched well under pressure in extra innings. Max Durante had four hits and in his pitching stint, limited the Orioles to three runs over two innings. William Stone had three hits and four runs batted in, and also pitched well against a tough Orioles’ offense. Kunaal Verma reached base three times and scattered two runs in three innings. Other offensive contributors for the Orioles included Frain (3 1B, RBI, 2 RS), Haydn Herrema (2 1B, RBI, RS) and Stewart (1B, 2B, RBI, 2 RS). Richard finished with three hits on the day.
Tuesday, June 12
Phillies 6, Giants 5 (no game summary available)
Monday, June 10
Orioles 6, Athletics 2
The Orioles defeated the Athletics in final game of pool playoffs behind solid defense and timely hitting. The game remained scoreless for two innings until the Orioles’ offense came alive and scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning with key at bats from Thomas Griffin (2 1B), Jack Coletti (BB, RS), Brendan Frain (1B, BB, RS, RBI) and Archie Stewart (2 1B, 2 RBI). The Athletics countered with one run in the fourth, but the Orioles padded their lead with two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to take a 6-1 lead. The Athletics’ rally in the sixth inning came up short as they could manage only one run. The Orioles’ pitching staff of Adam Thomas (2 IP, 0 ER), A.J. Cataldo (1+ IP, W), Thomas Griffin (1+ IP, 0 ER) and Alex Gullotti (1 IP, 0 ER) combined for five strikeouts. Cataldo also added a long double off the fence in the fourth. For the Athletics, William Stone (0 ER, 3 Ks), David Andrysiak (1 ER, 2 Ks), and Kunaal Verma (0 ER, 2 Ks), pitched well. At the plate, the Athletics put the ball in but couldn't get it past a tough Orioles’ defense. Peter Lindblom and Jake Madden each base hit and drew a walk, and Kunaal Verma reached base three times.