VSLL Majors finish off dominant tournament run with District 2 title


Published:

Players and coaches from the VSLL Majors Baseball All-Star team pose with their District 2 championship banner after defeating Eau Gallie Little League in the title game Wednesday night.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

They were dominant all tournament long … and now they’re the champs.

But to understand just how special winning the District 2 All-Star Majors Baseball championship was for the Viera-Suntree Little League players and coaches, you had to know a little bit about their history, particularly when it came to facing Eau Gallie.

Their 8-3 victory Wednesday night at Rodes Park didn’t just give them the title, it also helped erase some bad memories from the past.

“This is a team we’ve seen before,” VSLL coach Russell Cheatham said. “A lot of these kids have been on all-star teams in previous years and we always come up against this opponent, and we always come up short every time.

“This is the first time we’ve actually been able to move on past some great competitors in Eau Gallie. So proud of these kids. … I hope they realize what an achievement they’ve done, and I hope we continue to go further.”

Next up for the VSLL will be the sectional tournament, which is set for July 13 in Port St. Lucie.

Of course, this one had to have a little drama.

With the score 8-1 with one out in the sixth inning and the VSLL just two outs away from claiming that district title … the lights went out.

Once the lights came back on and play resumed 20-30 minutes later, Eau Gallie put together a rally that saw them score twice and have the bases with two outs.

In came VSLL reliever Mikey Minarik, who got a called third strike on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

Offensively, the VSLL was led by Jonah Peacock, who had a double and a solo home run to go with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Izzy Birru went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI. Dominic Leoni had a single, a walk, an RBI and scored twice. Brennan Confreda had a double, a walk, an RBI and scored a run.

Confreda got the start for the VSLL and after having some control problems early, settled down nicely. Overall, he threw 4 1/3 hitless innings, walking six, striking out six and allowing one run.

“He got better as the game went on,” Chatham said of Confredra. “He did his job out there. He was great. He’s been great for us all of this all-star season.”

Colton Marshall replaced Confreda on the mound, walking two and striking out three before Minarik came on to face one batter and close out the game.

It was a dominating tournament for the VSLL, which went 4-0 in pool play and then won all three games in the double-elimination portion of the tournament.

In the seven games the VSLL played in the tournament, it outscored its opponents 92-17.

Evan Lipski led the team with three home runs. Confreda led the team with 18 hits and batted .833 in the district tournament.

After the game, Russell Cheatham talked to his team for a long time to remind Confreda; Peacock; Birru; Minarik; Colton Marshall; Lipski; Leoni; Robbie Caruso; Micah Cheatham; Finn Goldinger; Austin Marshall; Deaglan McBride and Brandon Reiter that while the district title is quite an accomplishment, there is still work to be done.

“We were just telling them how proud we were of them, how they buckled down and battled away,” Russell Cheatham said. “Enjoy it tonight, but we’ve got to go back in the lab and figure some things out because it’s going to get harder and harder.

“We’ll go as far as they’re willing to go, but they have to get back in that lab and work that out. I’m excited for them. Fantastic group of kids.”

Cheatham was also happy to see how many fans came out to support the Majors team.

“We had a lot of parents from some of the younger (VSLL) teams, some of the older teams,” he said. “The community really came out and supported us tonight.

“I can’t say enough about how Viera comes out and supports these kids at every level. It’s really cool.”