By TJ Millman
It was a rematch of the 2009 World Series this past Friday at the Milford Little League Park, and just like in ‘09, the Yankees came out on top. The win moves the Yankees to 12-0 on the season, but the Phillies made them earn it, playing the Yankees to a 7-6 finish.
The Yankees came out swinging, plating 4 runs in the top of the first, and had three straight balls crushed to the outfield off of the bats of Tyler Brown, Matthew Winkleblech, and Josh Miller. The Yanks batted through the lineup as the inning ended, and set the tone early. The Phillies countered with an offensive punch of their own, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first, and then the game shifted into a pitcher’s duel.
The Yankees led off the second inning with some more long fly balls, but this time the Phillies were ready. The Phillies left fielder was in position to make the plays necessary, and the inning was over as quickly as it began. The Phillies managed to score one more run in the bottom of the second, bringing the game to 4-3, and from there the scoring stagnated.
Excellent pitching from both sides brought the scoring to a halt, and it wasn’t until the top of the 5th innings that the Yankees would score again off of a two RBI triple from Matthew Winkleblech. Going into the bottom of the last inning, the Phillies used their last three outs to make a final stand. The Phils brought the score within 1, a 7-6 lead for the Yankees, and had a runner on base with two outs when Yankees manager William Kent called timeout.
“I just told them to relax, take a few deep breaths, and get ready to make the plays that they are supposed to make. It was really about just settling them in and giving them a chance to shake the nerves off and just play baseball like we have all year,” Kent said.
Aside from the pitching, the most impressive part of both teams was the amount of mental strength shown by such young players. The 10, 11, and 12 year olds were all able to shake off their mistakes and work on getting back into the game.
“I’ve been coaching for a long time, and as coaches we try to encourage our players that every mistake is just one play in a game. Baseball is a game of failures. It’s going to happen at some point. We just let our guys know that it’s about the next opportunity. You will get another chance to succeed. The best thing you can do is not bring your teammates down with you when you make a mistake, but bring them up with you when you have success,” Kent said.
This was the second time that the teams have met this season, and the Yankees edged out a close win in both instances. Phillies manager Gary Schofield was impressed by the play from both teams and said that he is excited to see the Yankees again come playoff time. Both teams were playing their third game of the week, and it will be exciting to see how these teams match up for a third time with proper rest.
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