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Yeagertown claims ‘21 Minors title

Pitching, big hits key win for Yeagertown

Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Yeagertown’s Brody Keefer slides around the tag of Rothrock pitcher Reagan Varner on a wild pitch in the fourth inning.

REEDSVILLE — Timely hitting carried the No. 1 seed Yeagertown over the No. 3 seeded Rothrock by the final score of 8-3 to win the Big Valley Little League Super Series Minor League championship on Tuesday at Reedsville’s Youth Park.

“It was great. The kids played great all year long,” Yeagertown coach Kip McElwain said.

It took two days to get through the championship game. On Day 1 in Belleville, Rothrock got on the scoreboard right away in the top of the first inning as starting pitcher Crosby Sunderland shot a single to left field that brought home Landon Pecht to give Rothrock a 1-0 lead. However, Sunderland tried to stretch a single into a double but got caught in a rundown before eventually getting tagged out.

Yeagertown responded in the bottom half of the first where Yeagertown had a strong scoring opportunity to bring home some runs loaded the bases with Brody Keefer at the plate on a 3-0 count. Unfortunately the rain starting pouring down onto the field forcing the umpires to the call off the game.

The game resumed Tuesday in Reedsville. Keefer started the night by getting hit by a pitch, which brought home Brayden Forshey to even the game at one apiece. Carter Sunderland drew a walk that scored Cohen Leister giving Yeagertown a 2-1 lead before Cameron Demi drew another walk, scoring Keefer to make it 3-1 Yeagertown.

Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Members of the Yeagertown team celebrate after winning the Minor League championship

Rothrock again got on the scoreboard in the top half of the third inning when Reagan Varner drew a walk to score Bryson Martz to make it a 3-2 ball game.

Then in the bottom of the fourth, Yeagertown struck again as Leister singled to center field bringing home Forshey to make it 4-2. Tanner McElwain reached on an error allowing Leister to score. Keefer then scored on a passed ball to give Yeagertown a 6-2 lead.

In the top of the fifth inning Rothrock scored a run as Liam Guerrero hustled his way home scoring on a passed ball.

Yeagertown then put the game on ice in the bottom half of the fifth inning scoring two runs in the frame. Keefer hit an infield single that brought home Forshey and then Conner Sunderland drew a walk that scored Leister.

“We got timely hits,” McElwain said. “It’s been that way all year. We’ve gotten some big hits.”

Yeagertown was led by Keefer at the plate going 2-for-3 while Leister was 1-for-1 with an RBI and Forshey went 1-for-2 and score three runs.

Rothrock was led by Conner Yoder and Crosby Sunderland who both went 1-for-2 at the plate.

“Yeagertown has the best pitching in the league there is no doubt about it,” Rothrock coach Cody Zong said. “So it was a challenge for our hitters but I think we did well. We have a large team that have continued to improve throughout the year and through these playoffs we’ve had our whole entire lineup really start hitting the ball. All in all the kids did a real nice job.”

Tanner McElwain got the start for Yeagertown pitching the first two innings collecting two strikeouts and two walks each. Leister then pitched the next two innings with five strikeouts and four walks before Forshey finishing the final two innings with five strikeouts and a walk.

“It been great all year long,” McElwain said. “Tonight we had good pitching and that’s a good team in Rothrock. We gave up three runs so we threw well.”

Crosby Sunderland got the start for Rothrock and in his two innings of work had four strikeouts and seven walks. Reagan Varner pitched the next two innings with five strikeouts and three walks before Landon Pecht pitched the final inning for Rothrock with three strikeouts and two walks.

“Pitching is a lot of the same, it’s all about throwing strikes and there are times we did really well, there are times we struggled to find the plate a little bit there,” Zong said. “But the kids battled through the adversity even though we had some walks here and there, they really came through and finished strong.”

Yeagertown finishes the perfect season going (15-0) and coach McElwain could not have been anymore prouder of his team.

“In the beginning of the year you don’t know what is going to happen,” McElwain said. “The kids just practice hard, played really well and they learn every day. They just got better each day.”

After a bit of a slow start, Rothrock managed to fight their way back to a runner-up finish at (12-5). Zong was very pleased with how his team finished the season.

“We started the season (3-3) so to finish (12-5), we basically ended the year 9-2 so that’s a pretty good streak to finish the year,” Zong said. “Kudos to the kids, for how much time they put in, the effort they put in and how they improved since the beginning.”

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