Charlie Rollison's Honesdale National Bank squad held on for a wild win over Dr. Hubbard's Tigers.
The Phillies and Tigers put on quite a show Wednesday night, sending local youth baseball fans home with memories that will last a lifetime.
These two teams met at Fred Reisch Memorial Field to determine this year's Senior Division champion of the Honesdale Little Baseball Association.
And, what a game it was!
Dr. Hubbard's surged out to an early 3-0 lead, thanks in large part to the homerun heroics of Timmy Jackson and Cole Bannan.
However, Honesdale National Bank roared back, tying the game in the bottom of the third and sealing the deal on a 10-7 win with four runs in the fifth.
"This was a really exciting season and I'm very proud of this team," Coach Charlie Rollison said. "We started off the year pretty hot, but then we cooled off a little bit.
"Things really came together when it mattered the most. This is just a great group of kids and I'm really happy for them."
With this wild win, the Phillies defended the HLBA crown they captured almost exactly a year ago. Coach Rollison's squad has now won three of the last four Senior Division titles.
Dr. Hubbard's came out swinging from the heels Wednesday at a jam-packed Scott Kinzinger Complex.
The Tigers greeted HNB starter Daniel Becker rudely, jacking two homeruns in the top of the first.
Bannan struck first, hammering a 2-run blast high over the wall in left center. Just three pitches later, Timmy Jackson made it 3-0 with a towering shot of his own.
To his undying credit, Becker didn't let the slow start bother him. An 11-year-old righty with the poise of a battle-tested veteran, Daniel dug down deep and turned in a gutsy performance.
"Daniel was awesome tonight," Coach Rollison said. "He pitched his heart out. Daniel throws mostly fastballs and mixes in a couple off-speed pitches.
“This is the longest he's ever pitched and he picked a perfect time for it."
Heading into the title tilt, Becker's longest of the year had been four frames. He went the distance in this one, working six innings and piling up 13 strikeouts along the way.
The Phillies weren't exactly intimidated by Dr. Hubbard's early eruption.
"I think the best thing about these kids is that they love to swing the bats," Coach Rollison said. "They get up there and really go after it. They're very aggressive."
Aiden Pietraszewski ignited the offense with a lead-off single in the home half of the first. He scurried home just moments later courtesy of a Jack Cavanaugh RBI double.
HNB struck again in the third, tying the score at 3-3.
Cavanaugh roped his second double in as many at-bats, then cruised in when Caleb Martin crushed 2-run homer.
Austin Borsdam singled to open the fourth, swiped a pair of bases and eventually scored on a throwing error.
HNB loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, setting the stage for what would prove to be the game's biggest blow.
Zack Doherty, who was hitless coming into this at-bat, brought the crowd to its feet with a grand slam homerun to right center.
"That was huge," Coach Rollison said simply. "Zack has had a good season, but he really came through in the clutch tonight."
To the Wire
The Phillies had opened up a 10-3 lead, but Dr. Hubbard's refused to go quietly.
Arjun Fulp cracked a solo homer to close the gap a bit, while Bannan and Ashley proved to be a potent 1-2 combination later in the game.
Cole unloaded his second round-tripper of the night in the top of the sixth. Moments later, Alex found a fastball to his liking and deposited it over the rightfield fence for a 2-run bomb.
Becker bore down once again, though. Daniel induced an infield grounder for the first out, then fanned the next two batters he faced to close out the contest.
Score by Innings...
Tigers (11-6) 3 0 0 1 0 3 - 7
Phils (11-6) 1 0 4 1 4 x - 10