By Will Harrigan
Looking at their previous scores, it was pretty obvious Pride of the Diamond and the NY Gothams would engage in a heavyweight title fight on Monday afternoon.
Both sides racked up the offense like the other eight clubs in the 14U Labor Day Blast field could not, and they both ran the table to get there.
After a well played final, the Pride of Allentown, Pa., has started their fall as champions.
A three-run third inning proved to be decisive, as the Pride fended off a last ditch comeback attempt to win the Labor Day Blast title, 3-1, at Diamond Nation. Chase Woodring, who tossed four scoreless innings in the final for the winners, gained the MVP laurel.
The Pride ran roughshod through the 10 game field, outscoring their opponents by a 46-12 margin while going undefeated in five tries. The Gothams wrapped up their weekend an impressive 5-1.
“I think we all knew this was going to be a grind going in. You just take one look at the scores and these were the two best teams,” said Pride coach Ed Jones. “We were only given a few opportunities to score and we took advantage. That was the difference.”
Jason Frederick ignited the winning rally by drawing a leadoff walk in the home third. Frederick would steal second, and take two more bases on wild pitches to give Pride of the Diamond a 1-0 lead.
Darion Ellis – the Pride’s leadoff man who had reached on a fielder’s choice – came around to score three batters later on a two-out fielding error.
Dorian Orozco’s RBI single scored Luke Kawcewski, who reached on that error and stole second, to give the Pride a 3-0 edge.
It appeared the Gothams were poised to score a run in the top of the fourth, but bad luck befell the New York Staters.
Noe Mercedes had reached on a walk and eventually reached third with one out. A seemingly wild pitch that easily scored Mercedes was waved off when it struck Jordan DeJesus. The hit-by-pitch sent Mercedes back to third.
Woodring would then induce a line out to short and a strikeout to escape the jam unscathed.
“The other day, I asked Chase to pitch and he was hesitant to do it,” Jones said. “But then to come out today in a championship game and throw the ball the way he did really says a lot about him.”
Needing three runs to tie it in the seventh, the Gothams got on the board when DeJesus, who had singled, scored on an ill-timed one-out fielding error.
The Gothams would then put the tying runs on second and third with one out, but relief pitcher Alex Smith induced a pop out to second and a fly out to left to seal the title.