The Lake Wylie Braves won back-to-back games to win the Clover Parks and Recreation Department’s Intermediate Baseball Tournament Championship.
After defeating the Clover Red Sox 13-1 in the first game, the Braves won 17-11 against the Red Sox in the second game Friday at Clover Community Park.
In game two, Nick Marcelli’s started things off with a RBI single.
Devin Freunadt scored on a wild pitch, after which Caleb Edison’s bunt sent another run across the plate for the Braves. Dennis Drinkwalter’s two-run single pushed the lead to 5-0 and Jackson McMullen’s ground ball scored for the Lake Wylie team.
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David Robinson led off the bottom of the first with a triple for the Red Sox and later scored on a ground ball by McMullen.
After the Braves scored two runs in the top of the second, the Red Sox began pecking away at the lead in the bottom of the inning.
Rob Beebe walked to start the inning. After Beebe advanced to second on a wild pitch, Allen Roberts drove him home with a long single to left.
Later, with the bases loaded, Nate Falls walked, sending a run home for the Red Sox. Tucker Ferrell drew a walk, scoring the third run of the inning and slicing the Braves’ lead to 8-4.
The Lake Wylie team scoredonce in the top of the third. Marcelli laid down a bunt that sent Dennis Drinkwalter across the plate.
The Red Sox picked up a run in the bottom of the third. With one out, Falls reached on an infield single, then stole second and third. Beebe singled, scoring Falls for the Red Sox.
After building a 12-5 lead through four innings, the Braves extended the lead to 15-5 in the top of the fifth.
Freunadt singled and Edison drew a walk.
The inning would have been more productive for Lake Wylie, but Red Sox shortstop David Robinson speared a line drive and stepped on the second-base bag for a double play.
Marcelli followed with a run-scoring single. McMullen reached on an infield error, plating another run. Later in the inning, McMullen scored on an attempted throw to third base that missed the mark.
Beebe opened the bottom of the sixth with a single. Later in the inning, Ethan Clatterbuk delivered a two-run single and Gracin Simmons followed with a run-scoring single as the Red Sox closed the gap to eight at 17-9.
The Braves’ bats were held in check in the top of the seventht.
With a runner on base that reached on an error, Falls singled to keep the inning alive. A walk to Roberts loaded the bases. Tanner Simmons drew a walk, scoring the 10th run for the Sox. Later, Clatterbuk’s ground ball scored Falls for the Red Sox final run, leaving the Braves with a 17-11 win and the tournament championship.
Lake Wylie head coach Dennis Drinkwalter lauded the players for battling back through the loser’s bracket to win the title.
“We fought back all season,” Drinkwalter said. “We went back and forth with the Red Sox.”
The Lake Wylie coach made it clear that it wasn’t one-sided when the Braves tangled with the Red Sox.
“The Red Sox had a great season,” said Drinkwalter. “They beat us the first game and we won the second game. It’s all been back and forth all season, a great battle between the two clubs.”
Drinkwalter said the Braves players had a lot to come back from.
“We lost a tight game to the Red Sox Monday,” he said. “The kids showed a lot of grit, fighting their way back from the loser’s bracket. To win two games on the same night was an incredible feeling.”
Britt Bufford, head coach of the Clover Red Sox, praised the team. “It turned out to be a really good season,” Bufford said. “I appreciate all of the coaches that helped me out.”
He added: “Coming into the season, we actually had the youngest team out here. I am proud of them. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top tonight. But, you know what, they hung in there. They’ve done this all season.”
Bufford talked about the players’ willingness to lay it on the line every game. “They never quit,” he said. “We’ve been behind on several occasions and we’ve always been able to come back. We’ve always shown that that we’re not a bunch of quitters, which is unusual for a team that’s got eight 11-year-olds on the roster.”
He added: “I appreciate everything the kids have done and everything the parents have done.”