BELLEVILLE - Sunday's Big Valley Minor League Super Series game had everything that a championship game should have: nail-biting endings, strong defense mixed in with heads up play at the plate, and of course, a little battle with the weather.
Add all that and the fact that there was an underdog in the McVeytown Reds, and you have all the ingredients to a nerve-racking classic title tilt at Belleville.
In the end, it was the Reds who outlasted the regular season champion Belleville Phillies, 9-8.
Sentinel photo by BUFFIE BOYER
Belleville’s Raife Spickler, right, slides safely into home plate as McVeytown’s Nick Moist catches the ball Sunday at the Minor League Super Series championship game in Belleville.
"We're always happy with the way the kids played all year," McVeytown coach Chris Gill said. "We know whenever we get on base we're in good shape because we run real well. We are really smart for this age group of how to play the game fundamentally sound. We know when we do that (it) will carry us through the game. We had a great season. The Phillies had a great season and they ended up as regular season champions. It was nice we got the Super Series title."
Going into the top of the sixth inning, the Phillies found themselves down by two runs, 9-7. However, the Belleville offense made one last chance at trying to tie it up or go ahead.
Dalton Brouillette came in to save the contest for the Reds after Eli Pennebaker kept the Phillies in check in the fourth and fifth.
Brouillette got the first out with the first batter he faced. As the inning progressed, the rain started to come down harder and harder.
Belleville used that to its advantage as Quinn Renno, Sheldon Fleming and Zachary Snook loaded the bases on three consecutive walks.
The Reds' reliever struck out his next batter, making it two outs with the bases loaded with Phillies.
Cameron Fleming picked up an RBI walk, cutting the McVeytown lead to just one run, 9-8.
Defensively, McVeytown held tough, forcing the final batter to ground out to the first baseman, giving the Reds the victory.
"Our pitching has been phenomenal all year round but today it seemed like the zone was off. I don't know if it was the weather or not. But we rode our pitching hard all year," Belleville coach Charles McConaughey said. "We finished the season as regular season champs and we actually beat them the first two times we played them in the regular season. But I just can't say enough about the coaches we have. We also have the greatest parents. I don't know what we would do without them."
Leading the way offensively for the Phillies were Luke Lyter, who picked up two RBIs on a single, and teammate Zachary Snook, who went a perfect 2-for-2 with an RBI.
In the second, the Phillies collected two runs. Snook doubled to right field and later stole third.
With two outs, Bryson Yoder picked up an RBI single, scoring Snook to make it 1-0.
After stealing second base and then third, Yoder made his way home on a Reds error, ending the scoring at 2-0.
McVeytown got on the scoreboard next, picking up five runs in the second inning. Leading off the inning was Dylan Brouillette, who reached first on a base-on-balls.
Landon Johnson followed with a single, putting runners on first and second. With one out, Evan Crosson loaded the bases, taking a walk for himself and setting the stage for leadoff hitter, Tucker Gill.
Gill's patience at the plate paid off as he picked up an RBI walk for the Reds' first run. Then the RBIs starting coming as Logan Stimely, C.J. Gill, Eli Pennepacker, and Dalton Brouillette all picked up RBI base-on-balls, taking the lead for the first time at 5-2.
In the third, the Phillies showed why they were regular season champions as they rallied back for five runs of their own, taking the lead for the second time. This time Belleville led 7-5.
Sparking the scoring drive were Raife Spickler and Luke Lyter, who both picked up clutch singles. Lyter's single brought in two runs.
Scoring in the inning were Manny Espinoza, Connor Beechel, Spickler, Darren Peachey and Lyter.
However, McVeytown bounced back with three runs in the bottom of the inning and then one in the fifth, en route to the one-run victory.