Michigan overcomes first inning to win
A closer look at the Grosse Pointe, Michigan 11-7 win over Italy, Monday at Lamade Stadium:
PLAY OF THE GAME: Jack Jones slamming the fourth-inning door. Michigan led 8-7 in the fourth inning but Italy had runners on second and third with two outs and was a hit from taking the lead. Jones took over on the mound and emphatically prevented that from happening. The hard-throwing right-hander recorded an inning-ending strikeout and Michigan built on the momentum in the bottom half, extending its lead to three runs.
MICHIGAN PLAYER OF THE GAME: The Michigan second baseman Tommy Schoeck made his final Little League game one he will remember forever. Schoeck went 3 for 3 with a home run, double, two RBIs and three runs. Schoeck reached base all four times he batted, scored what became the winning run in the third inning and homered and hit an RBI single in his last two Series at-bats.
ITALY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Italy shortstop Simone Ioli made his last Series game a good one, going 2 for 4 with a triple. Ioli’s triple ignited Italy’s six-run, first-inning rally.
BIG INNING: Michigan’s first inning. Italy scored six runs in the top of the first inning and delivered what could have been a devastating blow. Instead, Michigan immediately stormed back and scored seven first-inning runs while taking a lead. Italy later tied the game but Michigan never trailed again as it ended its season with an impressive comeback win. Jordan Arseneau highlighted the rally with a 3-run home run and Adam Ayrault hit a game-tying two-run double before scoring the tying run.
BEST EFFORT: Michigan’s comeback. After losing two straight games and being eliminated from title-contention, Michigan easily could have folded after falling behind 6-0 before even batting. Instead, Michigan fought back and showed exactly why it became one of the country’s best eight U.S teams. It was an impressive comeback that showed the team is both talented and resilient.
HOME RUNS: Michigan already had started a big comeback and Jordan Arseneau put that effort into turbo mode when he slammed a 3-run home run over the left-field fence. Arseneau was the fourth straight Michigan hitter to reach base and his homer cut the deficit to, 6-4. Tommy Schoek continued his excellent game in the fifth inning, hitting the first pitch he saw over the left-field fence for his first Series home run. Schoek’s home run put Michigan up, 9-7.
FLASHING LEATHER: Michigan right fielder Chase Reinhard made a nifty catch to end the fifth inning and keep a runner stranded. Reinhart charged on a sinking line drive, lowered his glove on the run and caught the ball a split second before it hit the ground for a potential RBI single.
WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “We enjoyed the experience. It’s amazing to be here,” Italy manager Christian Tosini said. “We were happy to get to play at Lamade Stadium because it is very beautiful. For Italy, it always is a good experience here.”
WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “I think it’s pretty cool that we’re one of the best teams to ever play in our league,” Jones said. “There’s more than 100 probably all-time, so it’s pretty cool.”
“It made me feel excited to put some runs up on the board,” Arseneau said of his home run. “I was just blown away when I hit that home run. I just couldn’t believe it.”
WHAT IT MEANS: Michigan closes its tremendous season on a big high, becoming the first-ever Grosse Pointe team to win at the Series. Italy took another step forward on the world stage this year and nearly left South Williamsport with a big win.