MILLBURN, NJ — The Millburn’s 13U baseball team recently won the Babe Ruth District 12 championship.
Millburn defeated Scotch Plains-Fanwood by the score of 12-2 on Thursday, July 30 at Cranford’s Memorial Field.
Over the past six years, the team has gone 33-2 in district tournament play. For the past four years, they have won the district championship by the mercy rule, defeating their opponents by 10 runs.
The game started off slowly for Millburn, with SPF starting pitcher, Sam Beirne retiring Millburn’s first five batters. SPF was also the first to get on the board, scoring one in the bottom of the second.
The tide turned quickly in Millburn’s favor in the top of the third inning, though, with Millburn scoring 10 runs in the inning, seven of them with two outs. SPF walked three of the first 4 batters of the inning, loading the bases for Jack Fehrenbach. Fehrenbach sent Greg Rosenthal home on a hard ground ball past the SPF shortstop. Brett Ploetner scored on a wild pitch. The next batter, Keigo Fujita, launched a fly ball deep to center field. The ball was caught, but it was deep enough to allow Lawrence, who had advanced to third on the wild pitch, to tag up and score, making the score 3-1
With two outs, Alex Faust was hit by a pitch and the next two batters, Ryan Spaar and Finlay La Londe walked, scoring Fehrenbach and loading the bases again. Another walk to Rosenthal was followed by a single by Dylan Ah Now and back-to-back doubles by Ploetner and Lawrence, increasing the score to 10-1.
La Londe walked and then stole second base in the fifth. Ben Lawentman then replaced La Londe as a pinch runner. A single by Ah Now advanced Lawentman to third base and then a single by Ploetner sent Lawentman home. Lawrence then hit a hard grounder to left field sending Ah Now home and ending the game early due to the mercy rule.
Peter Lawrence pitched all five innings, striking out five. Ploetner and Lawrence both had three RBI on two hits.
Mike Dasti, coach of this year team, lauded the team’s resilience.
“I’m proud of the way this team responded to the loss to SPF in pool play," Dasti said. "We knew we were going to face that same tough team again tonight. These boys have been battled-tested in the past and came to play in this championship game. It’s quite an accomplishment to win their district six straight years. They should all be proud.”