Pirates get it done in two | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Pirates get it done in two

By Steve Yingling

Tribune sports editor

All the Pirates needed to find their South Tahoe National Little League championship form was a warm-up game at Fred Rightmier Field.

After dropping the opening game of the championship round to the A’s on Sunday, the Pirates left little uncertainty in the final game with a 13-3 five-inning victory.

Tyler Sharp belted a three-run homer and Kyante Wilson went 4 for 4 and earned the victory on the bump as the Pirates defended their STNLL title.

“I don’t how we really got focused; we just wanted to win it,” Sharp said. “And we were really mad after the first-game (loss).”

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Sharp’s three-run homer with two out in the second inning gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead. More importantly, Sharp needed to go yard or else do some late Fathers’ Day shopping after the game.

“It basically was a present for my dad because I didn’t get him anything,” Sharp confided.

The gift was more than generous, according to his dad, Toby Sharp, an assistant coach with the Pirates.

“A three-run homer works for me,” the elder Sharp said.

Wilson doubled in a run and Cody Plummer hit an RBI single during the Pirates’ three–run fourth, making the score 7-2. The inning could have been bigger if not for an unusual double play. With Skylar Sheldon perched on third base, Sharp hit a liner to short that Cody Higgins had trouble gloving. Unlikely to get the runner at first, Higgins fired home to nail Sheldon at the plate. Catcher John Cefalu then pegged the ball to second base to catch Sharp trying to take an extra bag.

The Pirates put away the A’s with a six-run fifth inning. Andrew Thiel socked a two-run single and Wilson, Cory Plummer and Juliano Sparzo stroked RBI singles. Sheldon, Sharp and Cory Plummer each finished with three hits and scored seven of their team’s 13 runs.

“My returners definitely stepped up that last game,” said Pirates’ manager Harry Plummer. “They have been here before, so they knew what it was like. Without them, it would have been hard.”

Needing two runs in the bottom of the fifth to prolong the game, the A’s got an RBI single off the bat of Zack Petray, but center fielder Cody Plummer’s throw to the plate beat Hunter Morgan for the second out. Sparzo recorded the final out with a strikeout – his third in one-plus innings work. Many of the Pirates celebrated by taking a victory lap around the bases.

Wilson worked three-plus innings, allowing six hits and only two runs in picking up the victory.

“We played the Pirates five times this year and won three of them. But we didn’t win the one that matters,” said A’s skipper Kevin Higgins. “They all need to be proud of the season we had. It’s always hard to end it on this note, but the bottom line is we had a fantastic season.”

The A’s overcame a two-run Pirate lead after three innings to win 11-5, forcing the deciding game.

The A’s used a four-run rally with two outs in the fourth inning to take command. An outfield throwing error on Ty Sprock’s single chased home the A’s third run and Higgins’ ensuing doubled tied the score at 4. Higgins eventually scooted home with the go-ahead run on a passed ball.

“Defense will win the game,” coach Plummer said. “That first game our defense let us down.”

After a walk to Cefalu, Morgan launched a two-run homer to give the A’s a 7-4 lead.

The Pirates pulled within two runs of the lead, 7-5, as Cody Plummer scored on a Thiel single in the bottom of the fifth.

But the A’s put the game out of reach by pushing across four runs in the top of the sixth. A two-run double by Petray and a sacrifice fly by Liam Loftis highlighted the rally.

Petray also delivered on the mound – especially after a rough first inning. After surrendering three runs in the first, Petray settled down, frustrating the Pirates with his ability to strand runners on base. The Pirates left six baserunners through three innings.

“He’s been our main starter all year long, and he did what we needed him to do,” coach Higgins said.

Petray, relying on his fastball, retired seven of the final 10 batters he faced before giving way to reliever Higgins with one out in the fifth. After giving up an RBI single to Thiel, Higgins retired four of the final five Pirates to end the game.

Sprock and Higgins swung the big bats for the A’s. Sprock was 3 for 4 with two runs scored, while Higgins hit two singles and a double and scored three times.

Sharp led the Pirates at the plate, going 3 for 4, including a triple, and two RBI. Cory Plummer was 2 for 3 with a run scored.