The Ward Insurance Dodgers claimed the AA Baseball Tournament Championship on Saturday in a nail-biting pitcher’s duel over the Flanner and Buchanan Pirates.
The Pirates and Dodgers potent offenses were held in check throughout the entire game by strong pitching performances by Sam Kidwell and Caleb Everson for the Pirates and Andrew Paul and Ethan Johnson for the Dodgers. Paul set the tone by hurling 5 innings and striking out 12 batters for the Dodgers, and Johnson struck out 3 in his lone inning. For the Pirates Kidwell struck out 7 in 3 strong innings, Everson followed with 5 strike outs in 2 innings of work.
The Pirates jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on hits by Cole Donaldson, Everson, and Elijah Lang. The Dodgers fought back with runs scored by Paul and Ian McBride in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 lead, and they added a third run later in the game for a 3-1 score. The Pirates tallied a second run late in the game to tighten the game to 3-2, but Johnson came in to pitch the 6th inning for the Dodgers and closed out the victory.
Johnson made a key defensive play at 3rd base in the third inning fielding a ground ball and retiring the batter with a strong throw across the diamond to get the out at first base. Caleb Bender and Paul also prevented a Pirates runner from scoring on a passed ball in the fourth inning, when Bender flipped the errant ball to Paul who tagged out the Pirate runner attempting to advance.
Pictured in the photo: Brady Trowbridge, Bryce Allen, Cody Lile, Ethan Johnson, Garrett Malmborg, Andrew Paul, Caleb Bender, Mitchell Chappell, Ian McBride, Quenan LeBlanc, Josh Cox
Coaches: Matt Chappell, Jason Lile, Stacy Johnson