WESTFIELD – It might have been the spirit of Kevin Sullivan still lingering at third base. Maybe it was the strength of five former Westfield World Series teams’ players and coaches cheering them on. Or quite possibly, a little of both.
Whatever the motivating factor, the current Westfield Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old All-Star team played with a quiet confidence, capturing their first victory of the 2019 World Series by downing Janesville (Wisconsin) 7-3 Saturday night at Bullens Field.
Westfield starting pitcher Connor Niemiec delivered a dominating effort. Niemiec came within one out of pitching a complete game, striking out 10 batters while allowing just four hits and three unearned runs over 6 2/3 innings. He hit two batters, but walked none.
“I just used my two-seamer all night and I was painting the outside corner with it because it kept tailing back,” Niemiec said. “They just kept watching it and going back to the dugout. …This was very important. I feel like we have a chance now.”
Westfield’s hopes for advancement in the World Series are now very much alive, heading into Monday night’s contest against Calgary, Alberta (Canada). First pitch is 7 p.m.
“From a confidence perspective, this is huge,” Westfield Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old manager Dick Lenfest said. “Each game we’ve played, we’ve taken positive steps.”
Westfield came out with a purpose.
Colby LaPoint drew a lead-off walk to begin the game. Jacob Mello ripped a one-out line drive up the middle. With two outs, Paul Lawry drilled a booming RBI double to left field to give Westfield a 1-0 lead.
Janesville struck back.
Janesville lead-off batter, Taye Sihabouth, who accounted for three of his team’s four hits by going 3-for-3, singled. After Sihabouth advanced to second base, Jaicey Campbell reached on a hit-by-pitch. A pickoff attempt at first base sailed by the bag, allowing Sihabouth to score and tie the game.
Westfield bounced back quickly.
In the top of the second, Zach Olsen walked and advanced on a wild pitch. Riley Heeter laid down a well-placed sacrifice bunt. Emmett Garfield followed with a go-ahead RBI single.
Westfield kept at it.
In the fourth, Westfield’s Patrick Moore led off with a single. Olsen delivered a sac-bunt. With two outs, Garfield hammered a run-scoring double to left field.
In the sixth, Niemiec reached on an infield error. Lawry followed by blasting a RBI double to left field.
In the seventh, Dylan Gibson doubled with one out. Noah Luis walked. Nick Lenfest singled, forcing an errant throw that resulted in two runs. A Mello RBI single made it 7-1.
Janesville never really threatened until a pair of two-out infield errors in the bottom half of the seventh led to two runs. They also managed to load the bases with a walk and hit batter, but Westfield reliever Jacob Mello recorded a strike out to end the game.
“(During the first two days of the World Series), it was ‘wow, we’re playing with the best teams in the country,’” coach Lenfest said. “Now it was like ‘we’ve got to win, we’ve got win.’”
And win they did. Now all that’s left to do is finish off pool play with a win against Canada to improve to 2-2.
Said coach Lenfest: “We just want to be better on Monday than we were today.”
Midwest Plains (Fargo, ND) 13, Calgary, Alberta (Canada) 3
Fargo (ND) showed just how dominant their offense can be, winning 13-3 over the Calgary, Alberta (Canada) team with 12 hits from seven different players. Andrew Kankelfritz, Drew Rerick, Connor Holm, and Jordan and Adam Leininger each had two hits for North Dakota. Boden Meier and Beckett Stimpson also added one apiece. The RBIs were spread out for Fargo with seven players adding to their offensive push. On the mound, Beckett Stimpson pitched a very strong five innings, giving up only one hit and no earned runs, while striking out two in the process. Boden Meier came in in relief and pitched one inning, letting up no hits and striking out one. Calgary had a tough time offensively in this game, but put the ball in play a lot to force the North Dakota defense to work for their outs. Combined, they only had three strikeouts, and earned six walks during the game. Mitchell Fink had the only hit for the Canadian offense, with Quaid Power, Zackary Wagstaff and Joshua Shanks all scoring the three runs. On the mound for Canada, it was a team effort, with four different pitchers combining for five strikeouts. 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 Canada, the winner was Joshua Shanks and for Meridian, Drew Rerick was selected as the receiver of the award.
Mid-Atlantic (Centre County, PA) 12, Pacific Northwest (Spokane, WA) 10
Fans were treated to another fantastic game at Bullens Field where the Mid-Atlantic champion, Centre County (PA) walked away with a 12-10 win over the Pacific Northwest Champion, Spokane (WA). Although the Washington team was chasing a lead the entire game, they responded to the runs from Pennsylvania multiple times, bringing the game very close. Heading into the bottom of the seventh, Washington was chasing seven runs and strung together multiple hits to score five runs with the bases loaded, before falling to the Pennsylvania team. Washington scattered 11 hits between eight players, with Kole LeGrant, Easton O’Neal, and Emmerson Fleck each having two hits. Emmerson Fleck and Easton O’Neal led the way with RBIs, having five and two, respectively. Combined, the Washington lineup only fanned three times total, putting the ball in play a lot. The Washington pitching staff combined for the complete game, but the Pennsylvania offense smacked the ball into play to combine for 11 hits. Tucker Stocum threw a terrific inning within the game, throwing only three pitches to retire the three outs. For Pennsylvania, Tyler Serb went 4-for-4 at the plate, scoring two runs and knocking in two RBIs. Right behind him was Weston McClain who went 3-for-4 with one run scored, and brought in five of the Pennsylvania runs. Kahale Burns, Jake Kosutt, Camron Watkins, Braedyn Kormanic, and Owen Johnson all contributed to the Washington offense by gathering hits. Pennsylvania also put the ball in play a lot, combining for only one strikeout in the 30 total at-bats their players saw. Overall, a terrific showing on offense by both teams, with Washington coming so close to the comeback in the top of the seventh. 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 Washington, the winner was Emerson Fleck and for Pennsylvania, Weston McClain was selected as the receiver of the award.
New England (Pittsfield, MA) 3, Pacific Southwest (Hawaii Kai, HI) 2
For the 11th game in the 2019 World Series, it was one heck of a show for the fans in attendance. You could feel the energy pulsing through the crowd, with dozens of Pittsfield and Hawaii fans filling the stands. Both teams struggled to string hits together, relying on walks and sacrifices to push runs across. For the New England champions, Christian Salzarulo and Evan Blake had the only hits, with Blake and Antonio Scalise having the RBIs that put their team on top. Walker Abdallah got on base twice with walks to add to the Pittsfield baserunners. Christian Salzarulo was dominant on the mound for Pittsfield, striking out four and only giving up four hits to Hawaii. For the Pacific Southwest champions, Caleb Kim, Mana lau Kong and Taylin Oana had the hits, with Kim leading the way — claiming three of those hits. Mana lau Kong was a team player for Hawaii, knocking in the only two runs they were able to put across. All three of the Hawaiian pitchers threw well, with Ka’olu Holt, Caleb Okada, and Mana Lau Kong, combining to only allow two hits and one earned run. 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 Christian Salzarulo and for Hawaii, Mana Lau Kong claimed the title.
Sun., Aug. 11
Pacific Southwest (Hawaii Kai, HI) 6, Pacific Northwest (Spokane, WA) 2
In the first game of the day, the Pacific Southwest Regional champions came out victorious over their Northern opponents from Spokane, WA. Hawaii got things moving in the first inning, scoring a run to put them on top. Washington responded, scoring a run in the top of the second to tie the game. Hawaii kept hitting, scoring five more runs to take the score to 6-1 heading into the top of the seventh. The Pacific Northwest champions put up a fight in their last at-bat with two outs, scoring one more run and leaving a few stranded on base. For Hawaii, Mana Lau Kong was on the hill for five strong innings, giving up only three hits while striking out two and letting up no earned runs from the Washington offense. Nainoa de la Cruz came in in relief, throwing two complete innings, striking out two and only letting up two hits. Offensively, Kong went 3-for-4 at the plate with one RBI. Tanner Pangan and De la Cruz each contributed two more hits for Hawaii, while Ryden Docasin added on a hit himself. Washington threw three solid pitchers, all combining to only allow three earned runs to the strong Hawaiian offense, and striking out four in the process. Avery Cherry, Drew Rayment, Xavier Hattenburg, and Emmerson Fleck each had the Washington hits with Nate Fizpatrick and Cherry pushing their runs across the plate. In the end, Hawaii came out on top, with a score of 6-2 improving to an overall 2-2 record. Washington fell to 1-2 in the pool pay of the tournament, but played a solid game. 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 Washington, the winner was Easton O’Neal and for Hawaii, Tanner Pangan received the award.
Midwest Plains (Fargo, ND) 10, Ohio Valley (Janesville, WI) 2
Janesville, WI watched the game slip away early, as Fargo (ND) kept the runs coming to earn a 10-2 win. Fargo scored 10 runs in the ballgame while holding their opponent to no runs through six innings before Janesville attempted to come back by putting two runs across in the bottom of the seventh. Jordan Leininger toed the rubber for Fargo for 5 1/3 innings, scattering four hits and striking out three while only walking one and allowing no earned runs. The Fargo offense was able to score 10 runs while only earning seven hits throughout the game. Connor Holm, Jordan Leininger, Adam Leininger, Jaxon Beiswenger, Landon Meir, Drew Rerick and Andrew Kankelfritz all claimed hits for the winning team, while also drawing 12 walks to help them claim the lead.The Fargo base runners tore up the base paths as three players stole at least two bases, with Jordan Leininger leading the way with three. The Ohio Valley champions from Janesville struggled to get runners on base, scattering five hits and walking only three times. Tre Miller claimed two of those hits, while Taylin Sihabouth, Aiden Schenk and Lucas LaBugeun each claimed one for themselves. Janesville relied on four pitchers to get them though the game, with three of them not allowing any hits from the Fargo offense. This improves Fargo to 3-0 in the tournament, while Janesville is 1-3 for the week. 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 Fargo, Jodan Leininger received the award, and for Janesville, the winner was Tre Miller.
Southwest (Meridian, MS) 21, Calgary, Alberta Canada 13
Bats were booming Sunday evening as Canada took on Meridian (MS) but Canada could not quite get the job done, losing 21-13. Both teams struggled to control their opponents offense, combining for a total of 310 pitches within the seven-inning game. Both teams brought an onslaught of hits, combining for 34 total runs in the game — a legendary high at Bullens Field. Canada combined for 12 hits, with Hunter Delf, Noah Scrimgeour, Herman Figueroa, Joshua Shanks, Holt Edwards, Cody Florendine, Aaron Krueger, Brendan Churchill, and Aeden Wheeler-Mislang all claiming a few to help their team. Scrimgeour, Figueroa, and Wheeler-Mislang each had two RBIs, racking up a few more runs for the Canadian offense. Canada threw five pitchers to get them through the Meridian lineup, scattering three strikeouts during the game. The Southwest champions put together an impressive 15 hits while earning nine runs to add to their offense. Cannon Graham led the way, going 5-for-6 with three RBIs and scoring three runs to add to Meridian’s offensive push. Brett Busbea, Mitchell Butler, Jacob Hostetler, Jacob Shelby Braxton Cornish, D’Marion Terrell, and Peryn Bland all combined for 10 hits which helped to make Meridian victorious. Butler helped his team even more by pushing four runs across the board himself. Peryn Bland was the most dominant pitcher for Meridian, shutting the Canadian offense down in the runs column, scattering three hits, striking out four and only walking one. Through 5 2/3 innings, Peryn was able to keep his pitch count relatively low, only throwing 70 pitches. Both teams saw the ball well today, keeping the opposing team’s defense constantly on their toes, but in the end, Meridian came out on top with a score of 21-13. Meridian improved to 3-0, while Canada fell to 0-3. 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 Canada, Hunter Delf was the winner and for Meridian, Peryn Bland received the award.
Southeast (Greenville, NC) 2, New England (Pittsfield, MA) 0
What. A. Game. The New England Regional champion Pittsfield faced off with the Southeast Regional champions, Greenville (NC) in the nightcap. The volume was turned up to the max on both sides of the field as the stands were filled with green and red to represent each team’s home colors. Pittsfield fell behind early by allowing Greenville to string things together to earn a run in the first inning. The score remained the same until the top of the seventh when Greenville put another insurance run across the plate then held the Pittsfield offense in the bottom of the inning. Colin Woolard commanded the mound for Greenville, going the distance, allowing no earned runs and scattered three hits, while fanning six Pittsfield batters. Woolard looked calm, cool, and collected on the mound, relying on his boys behind him to make the plays and keep the game in their hands. Collin West went 4-for-4 at the plate and scored a run, with Cole Smith, Andrew Wallen, Colin Woolard, and Marcus Byrd all adding to Greenville’s eight hits. Greenville also had a terrific eye at the plate, earning seven walks throughout the ballgame. For Pittsfield, Cam Sime and Evan Blake combined to complete the game, striking out nine batters between the two of them. Pittsfield had a few scoring chances, but struggled to string hits together and push runs across the plate. Christian Salzarulo, Tommy Mullin, and Keegan Crouse each had one hit for the New England offense but the Greenville pitcher was able to keep them with minimal baserunners. Greenville earned the hard-fought win 2-0 over Pittsfield improving their record to 2-1. Pittsfield also changed their record to 2-1 heading into the last day of pool play Monday. 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, Damon Pause was the winner and for Greenville, Collin West received the award. – Additional game reports courtesy of Annalise Eak