By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The McCabe-Waters Red Sox helped the program capture its first Bristol Little League Baseball City Series Championship since 2009 as the squad defeated the Forestville A’s 13-0 in a five inning, mercy ruled contest from Watson Field at Peck Park on Monday, Aug. 21.
And to top it all off, the Red Sox Chase Gibson (3-for-4, two runs, five RBI) ended the contest with a huge grand slam to give his squad the double-figure win and the City Series championship trophy.
“It was amazing,” said Chase Gibson of his final hit. “I was really nervous because I knew that this would probably be my last at bat and I knew we needed one run so I was nervous going up there and being at [an] 0-2 [count], I was nervous, but [getting that hit] felt good. ”
Gibson also won the game from the mound, striking out three batters, allowing one hit and walking two in just over two innings worth of work.
The A’s ace, Ryan Maglio, lasted into the fourth frame, throwing well, and was eventually relived by Jacob Wilson.
The duo never gave up on the mound and the squad played tough to the bitter end.
“They held their own,” said Forestville manager Dean Varano of his team. “They have nothing to be ashamed of. I told them [after the game] there’s nothing bad about being second in the city.”
To open the game, Forestville’s Kyle Wilson dropped in a one-out single past first base and on a wild pitch, he advanced to second.
But when he was caught trying to steal a base on Maglio walk, the Red Sox quickly marched to the plate.
Jay Fedor (four walks, three runs) led off the bottom of the first with a walk but with one gone, he was out at second via a fielder’s choice.
After Kaiden Dionne (walk, two runs) got on, he took second on a passed ball but when Tyler Wilson hit a come-backer to Maglio, the inning was over and the scoreless game was off and running.
“I said, ‘hey, we’re in this game,’” said Varano to his squad after the scoreless first inning. “They’ve [the Red Sox] never seen Ryan pitch. This is the third time playing them and twice they’ve seen other pitchers because Ryan wasn’t available.”
“The [other coaches’ even commented ‘holy cow, this guy is pretty good.’”
Gibson picked up three quick K’s in the top of the second and got out of the stanza quickly.
“It was great,” said Gibson of his three second inning K’s. “It was a great game. I’m so glad we got this far. It was really fun.”
The Sox’s Logan Crowley struck out but made it safely to first off a passed ball to get on base and when Anthony Ricciuti (2-for-3, run) smashed a ball to right, there were runners on the corners.
Later in the frame, a pickoff play to get Crowley at third got thrown passed the bag as the runner easily scored to make it a 1-0 contest in the Red Sox favor.
Maglio recovered by striking out Dylan Simard and Jacob Wilson – eventually fanning the side – as the A’s trailed just 1-0 through two.
The third frame saw Forestville’s Nick Zygiel walk and Aiden Lopez come in to pinch run.
Gibson was then lifted for Ricciuti as Red Sox manager Mark Gibson was keeping all his pitching options open.
“As a coach I had to plan on, god forbid, if we didn’t win the game and we had to go to Wednesday,” said Gibson. “So the plan was to pull Chase after 35 [pitches], to use Anthony for 35 and quite frankly Kaiden [Dionne] for 35 so I have full throttle going into the final game and I know the [A’s] wouldn’t have the pitching that we would have had.”
“But after we scored those runs and we got it up to about six, seven, eight runs, I felt comfortable I could close it out with Kaiden. [He’s] a strong pitcher, best in Bristol as far as I’m concerned.”
Ricciuti walked Noah Molinsky and when Crowley nearly outran his sacrifice bunt, two runners were in scoring position.
Wilson later popped to second and Cole Varano grounded out as the Red Sox held the opponents scoreless once again.
With one gone in the bottom of the third, Fedor walked and Gibson followed with a single to right that got passed the right fielder.
On the play, Fedor crossed the plate to put the Red Sox on top 2-0.
Dionne drew a walk to get aboard and took second on a runner’s indifference.
When Wilson bunted, Gibson tried to score but ended up running back to third base.
The tag to get Gibson at third was not in time and quickly, the bases were juiced.
Crowley followed up with a strikeout and off a passed ball with Ricciuti at the plate, Gibson and Dionne both scored and through three tilts, the Red Sox held a 4-0 push.
To start the fourth, Ricciuti walked Maglio and Albert and the Sox turned to its third pitcher in the game, calling Dionne to the mound.
A wild pitched advanced the duo on the bases into scoring position but a fielder’s choice and a strikeout finished off the frame as the Sox took their 4-0 push into the bottom of the inning.
McCabe-Waters’ Dominic Guzzardi reached base via error and Dylan Simard came in as a special pinch runner.
Nate Fries then flew out but Fedor drew a two-out walk to put two runners on.
Gibson then smacked an RBI single up the middle, making it a 5-0 contest, and two wild pitches later, Fedor and Gibson scored as the Red Sox surged in front by seven.
Dionne later splashed a base hit to left and Maglio was lifted for Kyle Wilson.
Tyler Wilson then added an infield hit to third and Dionne scored on an error attempting to get Wilson at first to make it 8-0.
In the fifth, Crowley nabbed a single to center, the A’s second hit of the game, and Kyle Wilson reached on an error to put two on but two K’s ended the rally.
To open the bottom of the tilt, the Red Sox’s lower part of the batting order found their way on base to eventually load things up.
“We had the bottom of the line-up up,” said Gibson of the fifth inning. “And they found a way to get on [base].”
Ricciuti bounced a long single off the Bishop Photo sign on the fence in left-centerfield, Simard was then hit-by-pitch and the duo advanced on a passed ball.
Guzzardi then drew a walk to load the bases and Fries smoked a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Jacob Wilson, to get within one run of the mercy rule at 9-0.
Fedor was then intentionally walked and Gibson – sending the ball nearly onto the softball filed at Peck Park – knocked the grand slam out of the park, propelling the Red Sox to a 13-0 City Series championship victory.
“A walkout grand slam is a pretty good way to go out,” said coach Mark Gibson.
However, despite the score, the A’s truly didn’t have anything be ashamed about against a superior opponent.
“We’re the second best team in the city,” said Varano. “[In the] beginning of the season we were joking around saying, ‘hey, we might make it to the City Series. Guess what, we’ve made it.’ And I told the kids there’s nothing to be sad about…just watch, remember for next year [and] every day, get better and I’m going to see you guys [back on the field]. We’re gonna get that trophy back.”
“It’s going to happen.”
But for the Red Sox and the half-dozen or so 12-year-olds on the squad, it was mission accomplished on the biggest stage of them all.
“The 12-year-olds were amazing,” said coach Mark Gibson. “The younger guys, they’re so competitive, so great and everybody gave it their all. I’m so happy for McCabe-Waters. I’m so happy for these kids.”
“It’s a great way to go out.”
NOTES…The quote of the day came from the press box by a young observer: “I don’t know what a quarter-of-a-million dollars is because I don’t have cable.”
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver.com.