Win title game over first-place team
The Brewers upset the Indians 5-1 to win the Philipstown Little League Majors Championship in a well-played game at the North Highlands baseball field on June 14.
The Minors championship game is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, June 17.
The Indians had earned a first-round bye by finishing the season in first place. They entered the title game with a 9-5 record, including a split with the Brewers (3-10) in their two regular-season meetings.
Some well-placed hits and aggressive base running helped the Brewers jump to a three-run lead in the top of the first inning. Indians’ pitcher William Bradley then settled down to pitch four consecutive scoreless innings.
Brewers’ pitcher Julian Ambrose was dominant, retiring the first nine batters he faced. In the bottom of the fourth, after a walk gave the Indians their first base runner, Bradley boomed a triple that landed just short the fence in deep right center field, breaking the shutout.
Tension mounted when a walk and stolen base put the tying runs in scoring position but Ambrose bore down, striking out the next two batters.
A sacrifice fly by the Brewers’ Evan Tighe and Thomas Tucker’s towering triple added two insurance runs in the top of the sixth. Roy Smith came in from the bullpen in the bottom of inning and closed out the game, a repeat of his performance in Saturday’s semi-final.
Photos by Michael Turton
On June 10, the Majors division played its first round of playoffs. The second-place Yankees (3-9) faced the third-place Brewers (2-10) for a chance to take on the first-place Indians on June 14.
In previous meetings with the Brewers, the Yankees prevailed. This time, the teams were featuring their No. 1 pitchers, Julian Ambrose for the Brewers and Hunter Erickson for the Yankees. The Yankees also featured power hitting Milo Shuk, who already had one long home run to his credit this season.
Both pitchers worked scoreless first innings, Erickson pitching around a two-out triple from Ambrose. In the top of the second, the Brewers broke through. Tighe beat out a grounder to shortstop and a series of patient at bats and aggressive base-running produced three runs.
That’s where it stood through the next three and a half innings with pitchers Ambrose (relieved by Smith, who worked a one-two-three fifth) and Jake Higbee holding their opponents at bay.
The Mets put together a serious threat in the bottom of the fourth when Higbee singled and Jordan Albertson blasted a double to put runners on second and third with no outs. Shuk strode to the plate and the infield and outfield played back. In his previous at bat he had driven shortstop Smith into short left field to snare his bid for a seeing-eye pop-up single.
This fielding configuration set the stage for the defensive play of the game. This time, Shuk hit a low looping line drive over the pitcher’s head. With Smith at shortstop playing deep, it looked like a sure infield hit, but Smith flung his body headlong toward the ball and snared it just before it hit the ground. Ambrose then completed four innings of shutout ball by striking out the next two batters.
In the top of the sixth, the Brewers pushed across an insurance run. With Ambrose on third, Conrad White came through with a liner up the middle to knock in the fourth run.
The bottom of the sixth continued the Smith defensive clinic. The first batter, Erickson, slammed a ball up the middle which Smith snared on one bounce to throw to Jake Hotaling at first. Higbee continued his strong offense by working a walk. Albertson, who had hit a double in the fourth, sent a towering pop fly in front of home plate. Smith came off the mound, coolly called off his catcher and snared it for out number 2.
The final out of the game occurred when on a tough comebacker, Smith dove for it, knocked it down and threw to first.