Glanding strikes out 8 in 3 innings of shutout relief
— The championship game in the Little League division of Kent County Youth Baseball played out the way you would expect for the top two teams that were separated during the regular season by only one win.
The Millington Lions, who won the regular-season pennant for 11- and 12-year-olds with an 8-4 record, came from behind to defeat the upset-minded Chestertown Elks, 3-2.
Right-hander Cole Glanding, in relief of southpaw Mason Sherwood, pocketed the win. Glanding struck out eight batters in three shutout innings.
Sherwood did his part, also, driving in what held up as the winning run with a double into left field in the last of the fourth inning.
Will Bankhead started on the hill for the Elks, who went 7-5 in the regular season.
Bankhead fanned six in three shutout innings, and retired the Lions in order in the first and third innings. He avoided run damage in the last of the second inning, when on two occasions Millington had runners in scoring position.
Thomas Leader led off the Millington second with a double to left-center field, but was caught trying to leg out a triple on an excellent relay from the outfield to Elks’ third baseman Brinkley Dolgos.
After that, speedy Larry Steward beat out an infield single, went to second on a wild pitch and to third on a passed ball with one out. But Bankhead wiggled out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts, leaving Seward at third.
The Elks quietly built a 2-0 lead.
They dented the scoreboard in the top of the second inning when Dolgos reached on a two-base error to chase home Bankhead, who reached on a first-pitch single through the left side and advanced on a passed ball.
The Elks scored their second run with two away in the top of the third when Ryan Miller slapped a base hit up the middle that plated Hayden Bilbrough, who drew a one-out walk.
Bilbrough advanced on a wild pitch and raced over to third on Braiden Bakeoven’s groundout.
Bankhead drew a free pass behind Miller and both runners moved up on a wild pitch, but they were left there when Sherwood coaxed an inning-ending groundout from the next batter.
The Elks threatened to extend their lead in the top of the fourth inning against left-handed reliever Glanding. Dolgo, leading off, reached on a two-base error and, with one away, went to third on a passed ball. He was stranded at the corner, however, when Glanding punched out the next two batters on strikeouts.
The Lions ended the shutout in the home half of the fourth inning against relief pitcher Miller. Dylan Patterson fisted a single to shallow center field to lead off, followed by Trevor Metzger’s seeing-eye single through the right side of the infield. Both runners took an extra base on the relay from the outfield.
Leader’s base hit into center field scored Patterson, cutting the deficit in half at 2-1, and moved Metzger over to third — giving Millington two runners in scoring position with only one out.
It looked as if Miller might avoid any more run damage when he got the next batter to chase strike three, but he did not win the match-up with Sherwood, who lined a double into left field to bring home Metzger with the tying run and Leader with the go-ahead run.
Miller zoned in to strike out the next two batters, leaving Sherwood at second.
Glanding retired the Elks in order in the top of the fifth, and Miller returned the favor against the Lions in the last of the inning.
Bankhead, batting cleanup, renewed the Elks’ hopes in the sixth when he drew a leadoff walk. Glanding fanned the next two batters before Nathan Frain reached on an infield error to extend the inning.
The Elks’ hopes of an upset faded one batter later with a strikeout, leaving two runners on base.
The Chestertown Elks are the runners-up for the division for 11- and 12-year-olds. Kneeling from left are: Nash Green, Nathan Frain, Will Bankhead and Hayden Bilbrough. Standing are: Braiden Bakeoven, coach Bobby Bakeoven, Carl Demby, Ryan Miller, manager Willie Bankhead, Brinkley Dolgos, Kai Harris and coach Matt Miller. Missing from the photo are players Brayden Wallace and Miles Meikle and coaches John Dolgos and Dean Wilson.
The Millington Lions are Kent County’s champions in the division for 11- and 12-year-olds. Kneeling from left are: Victor Vujanic, Cole Glanding, Taylor Thren, Romin Bowers and Tyler Cough. Standing are: manager Thomas Glanding, Trevor Metzger, Mason Sherwood, Mason Grant, Thomas Leader, Dylan Patterson, Larry Steward and coach Scott Clough. Missing from the photo is Mason Bacchus.