After dominating tourney, West End falls in final
In sports, its about getting hot at the right time. Records and previous games don’t matter if you’re playing your best at the right time.
It happened with the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the 2007 New York Giants and the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, and last night, it happened with Mount Olive, N.J.
Mount Olive lost to West End, 13-1, eight days ago and lost to Frederick, Md. a day later. But it hadn’t reached its peak yet, but last night, it all came together.
Mount Olive played its best game yet and knocked off undefeated West End, 10-5, in the 14-year-old Babe Ruth Middle Atlantic Championship and in the process booked reservations for the Babe Ruth World Series in Ocala, Florida.
“This team has been resilient all year,” said Mount Olive manager Michael Mancini. “Its funny, the road we’ve taken. We lost to a team in districts, played them in the championship and beat them. Also in states in pool play, came back in the championship and beat them again. Now it happened again. We’re a confident group once we get going. It was nice to see them (West End) to get an idea of what they do. If we hadn’t seen them the first time, I might’ve been a little nervous but we knew what to do.”
From the beginning, Mount Olive played with confidence and didn’t back down from a team that 10-run-ruled it a week earlier. West End took an early lead on an Owen Kiess RBI single, but Mount Olive didn’t blink. The next two innings Mount Olive scored five runs and was up on West End, 5-2. It was the first deficit that West End had faced the whole tournament.
After Mount Olive extended its lead to 6-3 in the fifth, West End scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning on Kiess’s two-run, two-out single to make it 6-5. But West End couldn’t get any closer as Mount Olive scored four runs in the final two innings.
West End did, however, make it interesting in the bottom of the seventh when Cam Pardoe and Cody Shimp had back-to-back singles to start the inning but the final three batters went down in order.
West End out-hit Mount Olive, 12-8, but Mount Olive didn’t make the mistakes that West End did. West End had five wild pitches, four of which came in the final two innings and two allowed runners to score. It also walked seven batters while Mount Olive walked only one.
The offense couldn’t string hits together and never had a big inning like it usually does. It only had one extra base hit and stranded eight runners. Of the 12 hits, Hunter Webb, Nate Welch and Kiess had eight of them.
After throwing a five-inning, three-hitter against Levittown, Tanner Esposito struggled to hit his spots but his defense didn’t help him either as it couldn’t make routine plays. Before last night, West End only gave up five runs in its previous five games.
West End was also trying to become the fourth Pennsylvania team to make it to the Babe Ruth World Series. The 13- and the 15-year-old teams from Broomall-Newtown advanced and the 16-18-year-old team from Lower Bucks County also advanced.
One major factor working against West End was it had to play a game earlier in the day because it was rained out the night before. It defeated Nottingham, N.J., 8-4, to get to the title game, but the quick turn around to play in a championship game didn’t help its cause.
“It’s disappointing that we can be the No. 1 seed, go 5-0, only give up five runs in pool play and be the only team here today that had to play a doubleheader,” said West End manager George Lepley. “I mean to me, that just isn’t right. … I think physically we were capable of doing better, I think its just psychology it was a lot for a 14-year old.”
Mt. Olive 023 012 2 – 10 8 1
West End 111 020 0 – 5 12 1
Zack Richardson and Jack Calandra, Ryan Wealon (7th). Tanner Esposito, Cody Shimp (6th), Mike Flowers (7th) and Ryan Jolin. W- Richardson. L- Esposito.
Top Mt. Olive hitters: Zack Richardson 2-4 RBI, 2 R; Michael Buzzelli 1-2 2B, 2 RBI, SB, R; Jack Calandra 1-2 2 BB, RBI, 2 R; Kyle Helmlinger 1-3 2B, 2 RBI.
Top West End hitters: Hunter Webb 3-4 2B, 3 R; Owen Kiess 3-4 3 RBI, SB; Nate Welch 2-3 R.
Records: West End (5-1); Mt. Olive (5-2). Next: Mt. Olive vs. Southwest Champion in Oscala, Florida in Babe Ruth World Series (Aug. 15 at 7)
West End 8, Nottingham 4
Nottingham 000 103 0 – 4 8 1
West End 032 030 x – 8 8 1
Tommy McParland, Thomas Kozemclick (5th), Dom Chiacello (6th) and Alex Coleman.
Isaac Snyder, Tyler Mankey (6th), Snyder (6th) and Ryan Jolin. W- Snyder. L- McParland.
Top Nottingham hitters: Joey Sacco 3-4 2B, 2 RBI; Alex Coleman 3-4 R.
Top West End hitters: Cody Shimp 2-3 2B, SB, 2 RBI; Isaac Snyder 1-1 2B, RBI; Tanner Esposito 1-3 SB, 3 RBI, R.