By Pete Legasey
For the Transcript
Winthrop’s 11-12-year-old Little League All-Stars engaged in an epic duel against East Lynn on Monday in their second game of the Williamsport Tournament. The two teams played to a 1-1 tie after 10 innings before the umpires called the game with plans to resume the following evening. After a rainy Tuesday, however, the conclusion of the game was postponed and, as of Tuesday night, the teams were still waiting for an announcement on when the game would resume.
The first 10 innings of the game featured a stirring battle between the two pitching staffs. Dave Kirby started and pitched five shutout innings, but was matched by his East Lynn counterpart every step of the way. Hunter Dempsey came in to close out the game in the bottom of the sixth, but with both teams still showing zeros on the scoreboard, the game went into extra innings.
James Griffin came on in the seventh and was dominant, striking out the first seven batters he faced. The East Lynn pitchers fared only slightly worse, giving up several base hits throughout the extra frames but refusing to allow a run until the top of the 10th inning. It was then that Kirby led off with a double and wound up scoring on a single by Dempsey. Winthrop needed just three outs in the bottom of the inning to win, and Griffin was still cruising after pitching four innings.
Griffin quickly retired the first two batters, but surrendered a two-out single. The runner stole second and moved up to third on a sacrifice play. With the game on the line, the runner at third attempted to dash home on a passed ball. Catcher Dylan Driscoll quickly located the ball and got back to the plate in time to tag out the runner.
However, as he applied the tag, the runner slid into home plate, feet first, and knocked the ball out of Driscoll’s hand when the two collided. The tying run scored, and Driscoll wound up with what he soon discovered was a broken right wrist.
“It was a great play,” said Phil Todisco, who helps coach the team alongside fellow coach Jim Griffin and manager Pat Feeley. “If he gets back there and gets the guy out, it’s game over – we win, 1-0. But the impact was so violent, it broke his wrist and jarred the ball loose. By then, it was already well into the evening.”
The injured Driscoll was replaced at catcher by teammate Matt Feeley. After Winthrop recorded the final out of the inning, the umpires elected to halt the game so that the players and their parents and coaches could go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
Winthrop needs to win the game if they are to stay alive in the double elimination tournament. They lost their first game of the tourney, 10-1, to the Wyoma All-Stars of Lynn on Friday.
Win or lose, Todisco said he and the coaching staff are pleased with the efforts of their team, which includes infielders Christopher Capone, Zack Deeb, Ray Feeley and Tim McCone, and outfielders Chris Fucillo, Nick Miller, Andrew Olevitz and Patrick Todisco along with Kirby, Dempsey, Driscoll, Feeley, Griffin.
“The kids have a great attitude,” he said. “They believe they can win, and they feel good about themselves. They know that they played a good game. They had runners on base in most of the innings, but we couldn’t get the runner home when the pressure was one.”