Marlins unseat A’s as major champs
What a way to end the championship game.
The little understood infield fly rule decided the South Tahoe Little League Major Division championship game as the Tahoe Coin and Jewelry Marlins survived a bases-loaded situation to beat the Accurate Audio and Video A’s, 6-3 Saturday.
The defending champs A’s went into the bottom of the sixth inning trailing the Marlins 6-1 when Ian Rice opened the inning with a double to the base of the center-field fence. Kyle Mazzoni singled him in one batter later.
Dru Blair then walked and Michael “Bulldog” Orman walked to load the bases.
Mazzoni was forced in when Brendan Rice was hit by a pitch, cutting the Marlins’ lead to 6-3.
With only one out, the A’s were able to turn over the lineup and bring lead-off man David Schue.
Schue hit a mile-high pop-up that landed in front of home plate. The home plate umpire signaled for an infield fly and Marlin catcher Thomas Crist fielded the ball on a bounce and tagged out a sprinting Blair to end the game.
“I heard him call the infield fly and knew that I didn’t have to work that hard,” Crist said.
When the umpire signaled the third out a debate ensued between the A’s bench staff and the umpiring crew. After a quick huddle, the call stood and the Marlins won the championship a year after only winning one game and finishing in the cellar.
“It’s a tough way to end the game,” A’s manager Darrell Schue said. “But the call was made and it was right.”
The game was a tight 2-1 contest heading into the fifth inning when the Marlin bats came alive to score four runs.
Ian Chandler sparked the rally with a single, followed by a RBI double by Crist.
Joel Morris was issued a base on balls before Aaron Datrio laced a double to drive home both Crist and Morris.
Michael Anstett cracked a base hit before the A’s were able to close the door and get out of the inning.
“They weren’t hitting them the first time around, so we just told them to be patient,” Marlin manager Bob Datrio said. “It’s amazing what they can do when they listen.”
Datrio, the Marlins’ starting pitcher, was able to keep the A’s off balance for the majority of the game, allowing only a single run in the third. Zach McAllister opened with a base hit before scoring on an error three batters later.
“The last time we played them I pitched Aaron as well and we won,” Datrio said. “These have been the only two times he’s pitched and it worked.”
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