Newtown flexes might in District 30 championship
In the final winners bracket game of the District 30 Little League championship Newtown faced the imposing challenge of trying to dethrone the perennial diamond king, Warwick. The task seemed herculean at best with a victory ranking among the best shots David would ever give any Goliath.
Warwick, coached by Tim Ford, brought not only a loaded arsenal but a sense of history to the Northampton Civic Center playing fields. His youthful titans won the district and sectional Under-11 year old titles in 2012 and the Under-10 district and sectional titles in 2011. To say they were the bettors’ favorite to three-peat ranks as a rather modest claim.
This year’s version of Warwick express rolled through the district pool play, defeating all three opponents, Newtown, Northampton and Lenape by a combined total of 395. All five runs they surrendered came in their opening 11-5 win over Newtown. When the regular tournament games started, Warwick continued its hot streak by defeating Deep Run, 13-3.
Newtown, on the other hand, had to battle to stay alive in the tournament. After its opening pool play loss to Warwick, coach Jim Miller’s men in blue defeated Deep Run (10-8) and Lenape (7-5). A 10-6 loss to Northampton in the final pool game seemed ominous but really gave Newtown a chance to show its courage under fire. The players rallied their spirits and defeated Northampton 15-7 in the first winners’ bracket game, setting up the showdown with Warwick.
The battle featured two very different pitching styles. Warwick’s Sam Reynolds brought a blistering fastball to the mound, heat that he combined with an occasional change or curve. Newtown’s Erick Miller opted to employ offspeed stuff to keep the Warwick hit parade off balance.
Though the Warwick braintrust hoped for a quick mercy kill, the crafty Miller kept their bats quiet in the first inning. Newtown launched the first offensive assault in the bottom of the inning when Gerald Gensiejewski led off with a single. A walk to Erick Miller and a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position. Michael Kane was quick to take advantage, roping a line shot to left center to plate both Gensiejewski and Miller.
The 2-0 lead looked a bit precarious as Warwick parlayed two walks and a single into a run in the top of the second. Meanwhile, Reynolds looked to be gaining steam as he struck out the side in the bottom of the second.
In the top of the third, Warwick staged its biggest offensive threat when starter Erick Miller hurt his arm and had to turn the pitching duty over to Nathan Abbe who, understandably needing time to warm up, walked the first two men he faced.
Newtown maintained its poise as the players turned to their defensive skills to squelch the impending storm. Third baseman Griffin Peterson made a great play, knocking down a hard ground ball and diving to the bag to nip the sliding Warwick runner. After a hit batsman loaded the bases, Peterson came through with another gem, charging a slow grounder and firing a strike to catcher Mark Seibert to get a force at home. Shortstop Michael Kane ended the Warwick inning
wLWK D sKRUW WR fiUsW JURunG out.
In the top of the fourth, KRwHvHU, WDUwLFN finDOOy flH[HG LWs RIIHnsLvH Puscles. A walk, a triple by Cole Nehring, a single by Shane Sloan and a two-run homer by Sam Reynolds ac- counted for four runs and put the visitors ahead by 5-2 margin.
Newtown refused to fold. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, D. J. Mischak singled to left. Peterson and Abbe walked. A wild pitch sent Mischak scurrying home with a run. After a strikeout, Gerald Gen- siejewski came through with a single to plate anRWKHU Uun. 7KH fiUH FRROHG when Newtown attempted a double steal and Abbe was tagged out at home.
After Warwick scored an LnsuUDnFH Uun Ln WKH fiIWK, Newtown gamely staged a last rally. With one down, Miller reentered the game and walked. Kane followed with a single and Mischak bHDW RuW Dn LnfiHOG KLW, sHnGing pinch runner Pat Brynes home with the home team’s finDO WDOOy.
Though falling on the short side of the 6-5 score, 1HwWRwn KDG GHfinLWHOy shown they have the heart of a champion.
Newtown baserunner Jared Leuz beats the throw to third.
Ball skips by Newtown catcher Mark Seibert.
D.J. Mischak unloads on a pitch for Newtown.
John Gifford and D.J. Mischak await the ump’s call.