Compiled by Mike Madera
Special to the Voice
With two outs and the tying run on third base, Brady Price struck out the final batter of the game and the Full Circle Pizza Brewers won the West Haven Little League Minors Division Championship, 6-5, over the Bilides General Contractors Indians. The exciting, final game was played under the lights at Morse Park before a large crowd on Wednesday night June 21. The Brewers, led by head coach George Price, finished the season with a final record of 13-1-1 (the only loss coming to the Indians in the regular season) while the Indians, and their head coach Al Forgette, finished the season with a 9-6 overall mark.
In the top of the first inning Jey Scanlon got things started for the Indians with a one-out triple down the left field line. Lucas Forgette drove in Scanlon with a groundout and the Indians had a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning the Brewers came roaring back. After a leadoff walk to Thomas Rolfe, Price launched a triple to right to tie the score. After Price stole home and J.J. Trager walked, Dylan Agvent smoked a liner up the middle that went all the way to the wall for an inside-the-park home run and a 4-1 lead. Josh Osborne, the Indians’ starter, walked the bases loaded but was able to strike out the side and limit the damage.
Keith Vail smacked a single for the Indians in the second. Rolfe, the Brewers’ starting pitcher, had three strikeouts and Vail was left stranded. Sean Studley relieved for the Indians in the bottom of the inning. Sandwiched between two strike outs, Chase Agvent ripped a comebacker that Studley calmly snared and threw to first for the out.
The Indians got a leadoff walk from Dean Trucone in the third. Studley’s RBI single made the score 4-2 and Scanlon doubled to put runners on second and third with only one out. Price, the Brewers’ catcher, ended the threat by throwing out both runners trying to steal home on wild pitches with Rolfe covering.
The top of the Brewers’ order continued to put pressure on the Indians in the bottom of the third. Rolfe led off with a hard shot to right-center that took a bad hop over Vail and rolled to the wall. A strong relay throw from Osborne pegged Rolfe at the plate but interference was called as Rolfe rounded third and he was awarded a home run. Price singled and Dylan Agvent drove him in with another single to left for a 6-2 lead. A great catch of a pop up in foul territory by Forgette, the Indians’ first baseman, and a strikeout by Studley ended the inning.
Forgette singled sharply up the middle and Osborne beat out a dribbler in front of the plate to start the top of the fourth for the Indians. Josh Mongillo then smoked a two-run double to left and later stole home to bring the Indians within one run at 6-5. Despite hitting batters Vail and Myles Cortes, Rolfe was able to get a strike out and preserve the lead. Rolfe pitched four solid innings with six strikeouts, one walk and two HBP.
Studley struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth. Price came on in relief of Rolfe to start the fifth for the Brewers and struck out the side as well. Studley continued to give the Indians a chance by striking out two more batters and inducing a pop out to Forgette. Studley finished with nine strikeouts and no walks in four innings of relief.
Leading off the sixth, Forgette battled the hard-throwing Price and drew a walk. Price struck out the next two Indians and only one out remained between him and the title. Forgette would not make it easy though as he stole second and third to put pressure on the righty. Price was up to the challenge. He blew a fastball past the final hitter, threw his glove in the air and was mobbed in the infield by his teammates. The Brewers celebrated a hard-fought victory before both teams shook hands at home plate and congratulated each other on a great game.