Red Sox starting pitcher Jaret Wedow had struck out 12 batters through six innings in Thursday’s Dixon Little League Majors championship game, but was deadlocked in a scoreless pitchers’ duel with Phillies’ starter Todd Hulbert going into the bottom half of the sixth.
Wedow ended up using his own bat to snap the stalemate and win the title.
His hard-hit ground ball along the first baseline got past Phillies’ first baseman Tyler Schene, driving in Ryan Murphy - who had doubled to lead off the inning -to clinch the championship in walk-off fashion 1-0 on a blustery day at Hall Memorial Park.
“Wedow is absolutely one of the best ball players in the league,” Red Sox coach Andy Butler. “An extremely, extremely great player and he showed it here tonight. An outstanding pitching job all the way through and then he comes through with the great hit. He’s been doing that game after game all season.”
Hulbert had allowed only two Red Sox hits and three base runners through five innings. Murphy led off the sixth and fell behind with a 1-2 count before fouling off a pair of pitches deep to the left side.
Murphy timed Hulbert’s fifth pitch of the at-bat perfectly, crushing it to deep right-center field for a double and the only extra base hit of the game. The windy conditions more than likely kept it from being a walk-off home run. Wedow would drive him in two runners later.
“Ryan’s a total gamer,” Butler said. “He was looking for a good pitch to drive and that’s what he did.”
Wedow allowed just two hits in pitching a complete game shutout, but errors in the fourth and sixth innings put runners in scoring position for the Phillies, but none reached third base until the sixth. Nick Bello’s fly ball was dropped by Red Sox center fielder Joe Jimenez, allowing Bello to advance to second to lead off the inning.
But Wedow got Mitch Moniz to groundout to short, Robert Nagle to strike out swinging and Hulbert to ground out to third to end the Phillies' threat.
“The kids just really came together at the end of the year and played together as a team, and that’s exactly how they won it,” Butler said. “They played as a team.”
The Red Sox advance to the District 64 Tournament of Champions and will visit Winters in the first round Saturday at 10 a.m.
“We’re going to give it our best,” Butler said.
Minors Championship: Cardinals 8, Twins 4.
The Twins took an early 3-0 lead after the first inning and were ahead 3-1 going into the top of the sixth, where it all unraveled.
Seemingly in control of the game, the Twins watched as the Cardinals cranked out four straight singles to lead off the inning to pull ahead, and used four walks, two passed balls and Julian Fonseca stealing home plate to blow the game open, taking a 8-3 lead.
“I knew we had the top of the order coming up,” Cardinals manager Jeff Maghoney said. “I pulled the guys together and said ‘This is it. We got to come together and start hitting or we’re going down. I know you guys can do it. Get out there and see some balls and hit them,’ and they did.”
The talk worked, but Maghoney didn’t want credit for the seven-run explosion.
“The kids stepped up and played. I didn’t do much in that,” he said.
The Cardinals will play Winters in Esparto in the first round of the District 64 Minors TOC Sunday at 10 a.m.
For more information on the TOC, visit the District 64 Website.