After finishing the regular season undefeated, Bayside Little League’s Team Duce made it to the championship game and were victorious over Texas West Division rival, W7, by a score of 4-3, completing their season with a perfect 16-0 record.
At the start of the game things did not look promising for undefeated Team Duce. W7 was able to open up an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Team Duce’s starting pitcher, Charlie Blair, quickly settled down after W7’s three-run first by pitching shutout ball for the next three innings.
Aris Catehis and Tino Famiglietti both got on base once, while John Archbold hit the ball hard. David Castracane helped keep Team Duce in the game by making stellar defensive plays in the outfield to prevent W7 from scoring more runs.
With Team Duce down 3-0, W7 decided to intentionally walk the top three hitters in the lineup: Costa Bournias, Charlie Blair and Tanner Fried. With the bases now loaded and two outs, the cleanup hitter and first baseman, George Diamantopoulos, came to the plate with a chance to tie the game or even put Team Duce ahead.
Diamantopoulos did his job and blasted a triple into right field, scoring all three runners, tying the game at 3-3.
As Diamantopoulos represented the go-ahead run on third, Derek McCreesh and Bobby Fretwell both worked two-out walks to load the bases. This brought up Rafael Rufrano. After fouling off eight pitches, Rufrano earned a walk forcing in the go-ahead run and giving Team Duce a 4-3 lead.
Team Duce’s closer Tanner Fried, known to teammates as “The Sandman,” came in to try and preserve the win.
After pitching a perfect fifth inning, Fried faced the top of the lineup for W7, which included their power hitters. By utilizing his two- and four-seam fastballs, Fried was able to get ahead on each of the hitters with two strikes. He then used his off-speed pitches, the change-up and knuckle drop ball to surprise the hitters and strike them out, securing the championship for Team Duce.