WESTFIELD – Fargo seized the moment, riding the arm of Drew Rerick and coming up with a few timely hits to scrape past Westfield 6-2 a Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series opener Thursday night at Bullens Field.
Rerick scattered five hits through 5 2/3 innings, striking out three batters and walking four.
“Im proud of how hard we played,” Westfield Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old All-Stars manager Dick Lenfest said. “We had some guys on base; we didn’t get that big hit.”
The opposing pitchers cruised through the first two innings.
Fargo (ND) threatened to score in the game’s first inning when No. 2 batter Adam Leininger reached on a one-out hit-by-pitch, stole second base, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Westfield starting pitcher Jacob Mello came right back though with consecutive strike outs of the No. 3 hitter, Jordan Leininger, and the clean-up batter, Jaxon Beiswenger, to end the inning.
“We really wanted to have Jacob pound the zone,” coach Lenfest said. “You can’t pitch behind these type of hitters. He went out and threw strike one, and really looked to attack.”
Drew Rerick started off on fire, retiring Westfield’s first six batters. Westfield got to Rerick a bit in the third though by displaying patience at the plate.
Paul Lawry broke up the perfect game with a walk. Rerick issued another free pass, this one to Zach Olsen. Riley Heeter plopped down a bunt single on the third base side on a high pitch to load the bases, breaking up the potential no-hitter. Dylan Gibson followed with a run-scoring walk. Nick Lenfest dropped a bloop single into shallow center field to give Westfield a 2-0 lead.
Fargo bounced back in the bottom half of the inning, taking advantage of some indecision by Westfield. Andrew Kankelfritz reached on a one-out error, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Connor Holm’s hit a slow roller toward the first base bag that resulted in a run and no out as the fielder failed to make a snap decision. Holm stole second. Adam Leininger walked. Both runners advanced on a double steal, and scored on Jordan Leininger’s flare base hit to right field.
Westfield nearly recaptured one of the runs — or more — in the fourth and fifth.
In the fourth, Connor Niemiec singled through the left side. Emmett Garfield doubled, putting runners at second and third. Rerick recovered though, forcing a fly out to third base and then a fly out to right field. Westfield attempted to score by tagging up at third base, but the right fielder gunned down the base runner to complete the inning-ending double play.
“(That was) a big double-play,” coach Lenfest said. “We hit the ball hard. If that’s a foot or two either way, we would be talking about something different.”
In the fifth, Heeter singled through the right side and moved into scoring position by advancing on a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice. A ground out left the base runner stranded though.
The game got slightly a bit more out of reach for Westfield in the fifth when errors, mental mistakes, and a RBI single from Landon Meier gave Fargo a 6-2 lead.
Lost in the inning was a nice stretch of pitches from reliever Niemiec, who came in to strike out the Nos. 3 and 4 batters before Fargo tacked on that final run.
“There’s a lot of pressure on these guys,” coach Lenfest said. “All these other teams have been through these tournament games — we have not. …We’re the little engine that could. We’re not the biggest team, but these kids have the biggest heart.”
Adam Leininger received the Ron Tellefsen “Player of the Game” award for Fargo. Heeter was the recipient for Westfield.
Westfield will look to rebound when the Whip City’s 13-year-old All-Star squad returns to action against Meridian (Mississippi) Fri., Aug. 9 at Bullens Field at 7 p.m.
Janesville (Wisconsin)-Calgary, Alberta (Canada) kick starts the day’s four-game slate at 10 a.m., followed by Greenville (North Carolina)-Spokane (Washington) at 1 p.m., and Centre County (Pennsylvania)-Hawaii Kai (Hawaii) at 4.
New England (Pittsfield, MA) 2, Mid Atlantic (Centre County, PA) 0
At the first game of the 2109 World Series, both teams put on a great show for many fans that were watching from the stands. The tournament started off beautiful, with blue skies and a nice breeze to welcome teams from all over North America to the Whip City. Evan Blake was dominant on the mound for Pittsfield, throwing 5 2/3 innings, striking out eight in the process and giving up only seven hits. Brayden Gutzmer finished off the game throwing 1 1/3 innings, striking out two and giving up no hits. Blake also had a booming triple to begin the offensive push. Antonio Scalise and Owen Salvatore also had doubles, with Salvatore bringing in the winning run. Braedyn Kormanic started off strong on the mound for Pennsylvania, pitching 4 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, and giving up only three hits while striking out two. He was followed up by Tyler Serb and Kahale Burns, who combined to only let up three hits while striking out three. Camron Watkins went 2-for-2 for Pennsylvania, with Kahale Burns adding to the offense by going 2-for-4. Both teams played great through the entire game, but in the end, Pittsfield came out with the win, 2-0. At the end of the game, one player from each team is selected as the Ron Tellefson “Player of the Game” based on skills and sportsmanship. For Pittsfield, the winner was Evan Blake and for Pennsylvania, Kahale Burns took home the pin.
Southwest (Meridian, MS) 3, Ohio Valley (Janesville, WI) 2
Game 2 of the World Series was a tight match-up defensively between both teams, with the score ending up 3-2 in favor of Meridian, MS over Janesville, WI. In the first inning, Meridian got their offensive start when Braedyn Busbea drew a walk, advanced on a wild pitch and stolen base, then stole home. Busbea led on the mound, allowing just six hits and two runs over seven innings, mixing in six strikeouts in the process. Also, Peryn Bland went 3-for-3, Brett Busbea was 2-for-4, Jake Shelby was 2-for-3 with a RBI and run scored, and Jace Wiggins was 3-for-3. Cannon Graham went 2-for-3 for Meridian and was also the Ron Tellefson player of the game for Meridian. For Janesville, Denver Hughes went 2-for-3 to lead the way for the Ohio Valley offense, followed by Charlie Class, Aiden Schank and Nick Gregg who were each 1-for-2, with Class having the only RBI. Both teams played a very clean game, with zero errors being committed by either team, but in the end, Meridian came up with the win over Janesville.
Denver Hughes was named the Ron Tellefson “Player of the Game.”
Southeast (Greenville, NC) 8, Pacific Southwest (Hawaii Kai) 2
The third game of the 2019 World Series started off close, before the Southeast Regional Champion, Greenville, NC, was able to pull away with a surprising 8-2 win over the Pacific Southwest Champion, Hawaii Kai, HI, who boast several players from the 2018 Little League championship squad. Hawaii had two booming doubles from Mana Lau Kong and Ala’i Williams to lead their offense, with Williams drove in one of the Hawaii runs. Nainoa de la Cruz also drove in a run for Hawaii. Caleb Kim pitched four solid innings on the mound for Hawaii, giving up seven hits and only walking one. For Greenville, Davis Hathaway led the way offensively, driving in two runs and walking twice. Alex Popovich, Andrew Wallen, and Colton DuRant all pitched in with an RBI as well to add to the Greenville offense. Collin West also contributed offensively, going 2-for-3 and scoring two runs. Andrew Wallen went for a strong five innings on the mound for Greenville, giving up four hits and striking out three. Collin West came in to finish out the last two innings of the game and gave up one hit, while striking out two. At the end of the game, one player from each team is selected as the Ron Tellefson “Player of the Game” based on skills and sportsmanship. Davis Hathaway earned “Player of the Game” honors for Greenville; Caleb Kim was selected the winner for Hawaii Kai. – Additional game reports courtesy of Annalise Eak