After a long week of baseball, Springfield went into the semifinal game on Sunday with a record of 4-0. Springfield continued its winning streak with a 9-4 win over the northern New Jersey team, North Elizabeth.
In the semifinal game, David Strawley pitched four innings, followed by Michael Smith pitching two innings to close the game. Kyle Long, Andrew Todaro and Thomas Quinn each hit home runs.
“Thomas Quinn hit a bases-loaded ground ball that eluded the defender and resulted in what any self-respecting hometown scorekeeper would rule 'an in-the-park grand slam home run,'" reported David Thorpe, Springfield Athletic Association’s Director of Tournament Baseball.
The Metro NY team, Next Millennium, earned their spot in the championship game by beating Bear, Del. in a semifinal game, 6-4.
This morning, Next Millennium took the championship over Springfield by an 8-6 score.
Even with three strikeouts by pitcher Michael Smith, Next Millennium came out of the first inning with an early 4-0 lead.
In the second inning, Springfield’s defense rose to the occasion. Shortstop Thomas Toal’s play to Quinn at first base gave Springfield a quick first out. A strikeout by Smith and a play to second basemen John Militello held the Metro NY team off the scoreboard.
After a quick up at bat and no runs scored, Springfield was back in the field. With runners on first and second, Springfield held Next Millennium to only one run and ended the inning with a throw from Militello on the pitching mound to first base.
Toal continued to show off his fielding abilities in the third inning with two quick outs, making plays to first and second base. The third out was made by center-fielder Gregory Tamaccio.
Runs scored by Toal and Gregory Manning in the bottom of the fourth inning gave Springfield life as the game continued into the top of the fifth.
Third basemen Connor Ringwalts’ play to catcher Andrew Todaro made sure that the Metro NY team only advanced their lead by two runs in the fifth. A strikeout by David Strawley ended the inning and put Springfield back up to bat.
Nick Gorman rallied his team in the fifth inning with an out-of-the-park grand slam. With bases loaded, Gorman brought in Tamaccio, Toal and Manning, giving the Springfield team hope and cutting the score to 7-6.
However, three strikeouts by Strawley in the final inning were not enough to hold Next Millennium. After scoring their last run and making three quick outs, the Metro NY team became the Cal Ripken Mid-Atlantic Tournament Champions.
Next Millennium will represent the Mid Atlantic Region in the 2011 Cal Ripken World Series in Visalia, Calif. The tournament is scheduled to take place Aug. 12-19.