VSLL 50-70 baseball team sweeps District 2 championship series


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Players and coaches on the Viera-Suntree Little League 50-70 (Intermediate) baseball team hold up their district championship banner after defeated West Melbourne 12-5 to complete a three-game sweep in the best-of-five series.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

We have our first District 2 champion … thanks to a team that wouldn’t give up.

The Viera-Suntree Little League 50-70 (Intermediate) All-Star baseball team found itself trailing twice Thursday night due largely to some self-inflicted mistakes.

But in the end, the VSLL was able to rally for a 12-5 victory over the West Melbourne Little League to sweep the best-of-five series in three games and claim its second straight district title.

Aiden Baker had two hits and three RBIs and Jay Fowler, James Baxter and Connor King all had two hits and two RBIs for the VSLL, which will advance to the sectional tournament hosted by the Martin County Little League on June 29.

After coming from behind to win the second game of the series, the VSLL found itself in a 3-0 hole in the top of the first as West Melbourne took advantage of three errors to gain the early advantage.

However, in the bottom of the first, Carson Cruse led off with a single, stole second and came home on an RBI single by Fowler. After Baxter singled, Nolan Taylor walked to load the bases and Landon Norton was hit by a pitch to make it a 3-2 game.

The VSLL would tie things up in the bottom of the second on back-to-back doubles by Cruse and Fowler, but once again, a couple of passed balls would lead to a pair of West Melbourne runs.

Trailing 5-3, the VSLL answered with a three-run third.

Taylor drove the ball deep to left field and was credited with an inside-the-park home run to make it 5-4. Norton then doubled and eventually scored on a throwing error. Colin Mutz singled, stole second and scored on an RBI single by King.

A five-run fifth highlighted by another RBI single by King and some West Melbourne defensive mistakes helped put the game away.

Cruse finished the game with two hits – including a double – and scored three runs. Norton had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Taylor had a home run. Mutz had two hits, stole two bases and scored three times. Dom Piscitelli also had a hit for the VSLL.

On the mound, Baxter went six innings, allowing eight hits and striking out four. Cruse came on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning.

“We hung in there,” VSLL manager David Jacobs said. “James stuck it out. He kept us in it and the bats came alive. We just kept doing what we needed to do to get the win.

“… From what I’ve seen in the three games we’ve had, we don’t give up. I can rely on every single one of them to get the job done.”

In other VSLL action Thursday night …

The 8-10 softball team defeated Beachside Little League 13-4. The teams will meet again tonight at 6:30 at Rodes Park with the winner becoming the District 2 champion.

The 8-10 VSLL Gold team eliminated Eau Gallie with a 15-0 victory to force a rematch with West Melbourne, also tonight at 6:30 at Rodes Park. Because West Melbourne is undefeated, the VSLL will have to win twice in order to claim the district championship.

Should the Gold win tonight, the title will be decided Saturday at 11 a.m.

In Seniors baseball, Eau Gallie defeated the VSLL 6-4 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. Those two teams will play again tonight at 6:30 at Viera Regional Park.

The 9-11 baseball game between Eau Gallie and the VSLL was cancelled due to a lack of umpires. It has been rescheduled for tonight at 6:30 at Crane Park.

No highlights from these games were available because managers did not send in their information.

Note: Photos taken from the VSLL 50-70 game for the Viera Voice will be posted on Twitter at @CKotala at a later date.