SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Baseball League crowned champions in its AAA Minors, Majors and Seniors divisions this week.
Senior Division (Grades 7-10)
The Philadelphia A's defeated the Blues, 4-3, in a thrilling, well-pitched game at VoTech Wednesday night. A's starter Liam Mahr pitched six innings of shutout ball with nine strikeouts. Blues starter Stefan Johnson was nearly his equal, yielding just one hit, a single to Aidan Mooney, and only one run in four innings.
The A's got on the board first with a walk to leadoff hitter Shawn Martin, who stole second and third before scoring on a groundout by Sam Reeson. The A's added two in the fifth thanks to some defensive miscues and a well-placed bunt single by Tommy Wright. They added what turned out to be the game-winning run in the sixth on a walk to Christian Piesch and an RBI double by Mahr.
Coach Marco Massa's Blues never stopped battling and put up three runs, cutting the lead to 4-3, in the top of the seventh before fireballing lefty Shawn Martin closed the door. Martin stranded runners on second and third with no outs. He benefited from two stellar defensive plays, including a close a play at the plate.
"A bounce here or there could easily have altered the outcome of this very well pitched game," said A's manager John Mooney. "The Blues fought back from a four-run deficit to pull within one in the last inning. Fortunately, Shawn came in and ended the threat. I put him in a tough spot, but I had faith in him. He has the heart of a lion."
Majors Division (Grades 5-6)
The Texas Rangers, managed by John Veglia, defeated the NY Giants, 10-6, who were led by defending champion manager Tim Dursee at Memorial Field to capture the 2017 Majors title.
AAA Minors Division (Grades 3-4)
Purdue defeated Duke, 14-6, to secure the AAA Minors crown.
11U Raiders Blue
The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Raiders defeated Metuchen, 14-5, to capture the Union Spring 11U ‘B’ League Championship on Sunday, June 4. The two teams traded the lead back-and-forth, but eventually the Raiders took the lead for good in the third inning.
Matthew Capozzolo (3IP, 5H, 5R, 3K) earned the win for the Raiders. Stephen Folkart shut the door on Metuchen allowing only one hit over three innings. The team collected 13 hits. Matthew Arnold, Henry Hiel, and Chris Kennedy each had multiple hits for the Raiders. Nathan Arnold drove in three runs.
The title was the first for the 11U Blue team after losing the Union Spring Championship games in 2015 and 2016. It was also the second championship game played this season. The other game was a loss to Hillsborough in the Bridgewater Memorial Day Tournament. With the victory, the Raiders improved to 9-4-1 on the season.
“At the beginning of the spring season, the team set out to win the championship after narrow losses the previous two seasons” said manager, John Quinones. “The win today was a true team effort and a testament to their collective drive and determination. If not for the contributions of all 12 players during the spring season, we would not have achieved the success we’ve had to date. I’m excited about the upcoming summer season and look forward to watching the boys improve with each game.”