When the Yankees grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the top half of the first inning Friday night at McAmis-Sempkowski Field, the Marlins turned where they have all year long — to the top of their lineup.
Isaac Greene, winning pitcher Riley Short and Chasen Lovin had consecutive hits in the bottom of the frame as the Marlins scored twice to take control and went on to an 8-3 victory in the Morristown Parks and Recreation Little League Baseball City Championship game and capped a perfect 15-0 season in the process.
The Marlins added three runs in the fourth without getting a hit and then plated three more in the fifth when they got their only other two hits of the contest.
Short pitched 4.2 innings to notch the mound victory over Paxton Seal in what was a pitchers’ duel early. Short gave up three hits, walked two, hit three and struck out 10 in the victory.
Short was also the only Marlin with two hits as he added a fifth-inning double.
Seal settled down after the rocky start and wound up striking out the next 10 batters.
He left with one out in the fifth and finished with 12 strikeouts and four walks which came consecutively in the fourth.
Lovin came on to relieve Short and all four of his outs came by strikeout. Yankees’ relief man Charlie Dewald also struck out a pair.
Coach Stiel Lovin’s Marlins defeated the Yankees three times in the regular season and he said, “We told the boys tonight that it’s hard to go undefeated and it’s hard to beat a really good team four times.
“But, credit the Yankees tonight for a great fight because they are a really good baseball team.” Lovin continued.
“Our kids came out focused the way they’ve done for us all year long,” Lovin said. “We had Isaac, Riley and Chasen at the top of the order and they came through for us again in that first inning. They’re consistent and do the right things. Their leadership is what got us here.
Lovin complimented Seal, “Paxton is a heck of a pitcher. He’s a great kid and has a great arm. He’s tough every time you face him.
“But Riley and Chasen both threw well for us, too. Riley has grown a lot as a pitcher this year. He had struggled to throw strikes at times but this year he’s really grown, He’s a big kid with a really live arm.”
The coach said getting the two runs in the bottom of the first was huge. “Our philosophy is to win every inning and after they scored, we got hits from those first three and came back to take the lead.
“They’ve produced a lot of runs for us this year but our whole lineup has done a great job. I’m just so proud of all these kids.”
Lovin also talked about how much winning the title meant to him personally. “I just thank God for this opportunity. Doing this coaching with my dad (Phillip) and getting to coach my little brother is important. That means so much to me.”
Yankees’ coach Lynn Ryan said, “They’re just better than us. At every position, they’re just a little bit better, not a lot, but better.
“I’m proud of my all my kids,” he said. “They’ve had a great season. I would have liked to win this one but losing this one is still better than not getting here.”
Ryan also had kind words for his catcher Cadence Beaver. “You know, without her back there behind the plate it wouldn’t matter that we had Paxton and Charlie (Dewald) to pitch. She is absolutely one of the smartest baseball players I’ve ever seen.
“She just knows what to do, you don’t have to tell her and that’s awesome,” he said. “Everybody thought it was crazy at first to put a girl at catcher but I’ll tell you, she’s a baller.”
Dewald walked to lead off the Yankees’ first and moved to third on wild pitches. He scored on a groundout by Seal.
In the bottom half of the frame, Greene singled. He went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error to tie the score. Short then singled, moved up on another wild pitch and scored on Lovin’s hit up the middle.
One of the biggest plays of the game came when the leadoff hitter for the Yankees in the fourth doubled but Lovin, playing first base, went down the line in right to get the ball and threw him out at third on the play. Seal followed with another hit that would have tied the game.
In the Marlins fourth, Cade Henson, Zachary Henry, Luke Lindsey and Willie Taylor all walked and the first three scored to make it 5-1.
Seal left the game because of the pitch count after striking out the first batter in the fifth. Short doubled and Lovin walked with both scoring on Julian Sexton’s fly ball double to left field.
The Yankees got back-to-back hits from Nate Ramsey and Seal in the top of the sixth. Both scored on a single by Jacob Pompeo before Lovin struck out the next three batters to end it.
Ramsey and Seal had two hits apiece for the Yankees.