Cards take Majors championship with win over Braves
MCBEAN PARK – The Lincoln Little League Majors Cardinals and Braves made it exciting to almost the very last, when the Red Birds’ Garret Tofft stroked a two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning to defeat the Atlanta nine 5-4 to win the playoff championship.
Had the Braves won, a second game would have been played Monday since the Cards were undefeated in tournament competition.
Tofft’s blast to straightaway center field came on the first pitch he saw, with Wyatt Arbaugh on board. Arbaugh unloaded a four-bagger in almost the same spot to drive in Gage Eastlick and give the St. Lou Crew a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Both teams were already assured a trip to the District 11 Tournament of Champions, but the teams gave the fans a thrill ride just the same.
Cardinals’ offense: Eastlick (run), Arbaugh (2-3, HR, 2runs, 2RBI), Tofft (HR, run, 2RBI), Chase Christopherson (double), Bo Culbertson (run) and Michael Pinney (single).
Braves’ offense: Michael Newsom (single, 2runs), Clayton Coats (run), Blake Havey (single, RBI), Brett Woolley (RBI) and Ryan Knight (double, run).
The Mizzou nine started Eastlick on the mound and he picked up four strikeouts in five innings. Christopherson came on in relief and fanned three.
Coats did the throwing for the Georgia boys and sent seven back to the dugout. Dylan Rhodes closed with two Ks.
The Braves had two errors and left three on base; the Cards committed two errors and stranded four.
Unofficially, the Cardinals will go into the TOC as the Lincoln B team and will open tournament play at Sierra Foothill Little League June 16, 5 p.m. against Rocklin B (Cardinals).
Lincoln A (Braves) will play at 7:30 p.m. June 20 against the winner of the Nevada City A vs. Auburn B game played June 16.
Congratulations to both the tournament champion Cardinals and regular season champion Braves.
And a special News Messenger thanks to scorekeeper Ginger Newsom, who provided all the game coverage this season.