Wagner dials up City Cup championship for Slovak Club

WESTFIELD – If Slovak Club pitcher Josh Wagner pitches like he did in the Little League Baseball City Cup championship, there is no telling how far Westfield can go in All-Stars tournament play this summer.
Wagner struck out 15 batters, tossing a one-hit shutout to lead Slovak Club to a 6-0 championship win over Advance Manufacturing Friday night at Ralph E. Sanville Memorial Field on Cross Street.
“My fastball was on,” Wagner said. “I just dialed it in.”
At one point, Wagner had strung together five straight Ks, capping off the fourth inning with a strikeout. He struck out four consecutive batters before turning the ball over to reliever Joe Maffia with two outs in the top of the sixth. Maffia struck out the final batter to end the game.

Slovak Club takes a victory lap after winning their very first Little League Baseball City Cup trophy Friday night at Ralph E. Sanville Memorial Field on Cross Street. (Photo by Marc St. Onge)

It was a pitchers’ duel early.
Advance Manufacturing pitcher Joey Jubb allowed just one hit and one run through the game’s first three innings while striking out five hitters.
Slovak Club’s Robert Ninotti and Wagner each walked and advanced a base on wild pitches. Keith Drzyzga plated a run with a ground out for a 1-0 lead.
The wheels came off a bit in the fourth inning.
Ninotti, Wagner, and Drzyzga walked to load the bases in the fourth. Tom Knapik forced home a run by drawing the team’s third straight walk in the inning. Andrew Galzynski smacked a single up the middle, scoring two runs for a 4-0 advantage. Two wild pitches later made it 5-0. Jaren Beeve walked. Jack Knapik drilled an RBI single through the left side of the infield for a 6-0 lead. Gabe Hall was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat, signaling a call to the bullpen.
Advance Manufacturing relief pitcher Jack Hall came in and immediately went to work, forcing a double play to end the inning. Tyler Goodreau fielded the ball on the left side of the infield, stepping on the third base bag and throwing out the runner at home plate for the second and third outs.
Hall went on to strikeout thee of the final four batters he faced.
It is the first Little League Majors City Cup championship for Slovak Club. Previous winners include Kiwanis (2013, ’16, ’18), Sons of Erin (2014), Moose Club (2015), and Commercial Distributing (2017).
The City Cup championship caps off the Westfield Little League Baseball season. All-Star season is set to begin late next week. Wagner is one of several players who are going to be representing the Whip City when tournament action heats up.
“We’re going to try to go to Williamsport and play in the Little League World Series,” Wagner said. “It’s going to take a while because of the good teams in regionals and states. We just have to execute and do good.”

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