MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Millers 13U boys’ baseball team began its title chase at the Babe Ruth baseball tournament by facing the Cheesquake Raptors Friday night. The Millers had reached the tournament by beating the Maplewood/South Orange Cougars by a score of 5-4 for the District 12 championship. Their coach emphasized that his team was full of hard-working players, and that even with the heat wave pushing temperatures into the 90s, his squad was prepared, and most importantly, hydrated.
Being the visiting team, Millburn batted in the top of the inning. Peter Gula, the leadoff batter, drew a walk, and then promptly stole second. He was driven in by Ben Pampush, who also stole second, making the score after this sequence 1-0 Millburn. As it turned out, that would be all the offense the Millers needed, but they weren’t done. Pampush moved to third on a sacrifice out, and crossed home plate on a hit by Sam Gladson. The side was retired four batters later, but Millburn led 2-0.
After a 1-2-3 bottom of the first, Millburn went back to work in the top of the second. Runs scored with hits from Connor Lally, Sam Gladson, Peter Serruto and Michael Cologlu made it 8-0 at the end of Millburn’s at-bat.
As stellar as Millburn’s offense was, their defense was just as effective. Millburn didn’t allow a Cheesquake runner to advance beyond second base for the entire game.
In the top of the third, the Millers went right back to work. Gladson drove in yet another two run hit, and after the bases were loaded when Cologlu was hit by a pitch, they stayed that way for the next five batters. The hitting situation produced four runs for Millburn, as Ryan Wenslau, Ben Pampush and Kyle Mazer all took advantage, making the score 14-0. After the force out at first ended Millburn’s turn at the plate, their fielders shut down the batters that Cheesquake sent to the plate. By the top of the fourth inning, the only thing that could have stopped the Millers was lightning. As a bolt streaked across the muggy sky, the umpires called for a delay, and in that time, the decision was made to end the game early.
Millburn played a near-flawless game last night, and was rewarded for its effort.