Albion captures Batavia Junior League diamond championship
An extra-inning thriller, Albion squeaked past the Pirates 3-2 in the Batavia Junior League championship game Wednesday night at Chris Ball Memorial Ball Field.
Justin Stritzinger put Albion ahead with a two-out single in the top of the eighth, scoring Evan Pappalardo, who stroked a long double to center and took third on a passed ball.
Albion pitcher Brady Meakin and the defense then held the Pirates in the bottom of the eighth, with Pappalardo making a sliding backhand grab at shortstop on a ripper by the Pirate’s Jerry Reinhart.
Both teams fought their way into the championship with one-run wins in the playoffs.
The Pirates on Tuesday defeated Oakfield 13-12. Albion edged the Diamondbacks 4-3.
The Pirates and Albion split their series during the regular season, both one-run games.
Wednesday’s game started quickly for the Pirates, with Reinhart slugging an RBI triple off Pappalardo and Alex Jones following with an RBI single.
Pirate starting pitcher Ryan Webster shut down Albion for the first three innings before Alex Jones took the mound.
Albion mounted a comeback in the sixth, with Mackenzie Donahue drawing a walk and later scoring on a passed ball, making it 2-1.
Nick Neilans singled for Albion and scored on a slash to right field by Alex DeSmit, tying the game.
Meakin, who took over for Pappalardo in the third, held the Pirates to one hit over five innings.
Stellar defense from third basemen Jordan Wolcott and Dylan Sherman, along with two running outfield catches by Antonio Vallejo-Miller supported Meakin’s effort.
The game went into extra-innings, with Webster returning to the mound for the Pirates in the top of the eighth.
DeSmit and Meakin both grounded out to second but Pappalardo drilled a double to deep center.
Stritzinger lined a single to right-center, scoring Pappalardo and giving Albion the lead.
The Pirates had the top of the order in the bottom half.
Meakin walked the first batter but followed with a strikeout.
Catcher Jake Buzzard threw out the runner attempting to steal second.
Meakin walked the next batter and with two outs, Pirates’ slugger Reinhart was on deck.
Reinhart scorched a hard grounder to Pappalardo, who from his knees fired the ball to DeSmit at second for the final out.
The Pirates, the top seed, finished the season 9-3. Albion was the third seed and finished 9-2.