WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Little League’s annual AAA All-Star Game took place on Saturday June 23rd at Rotary Park. Team White included four players each from the Braves, Astros, and Rays plus two from the Cardinals while Team Blue had four each from the Giants, Royals, and Pirates plus two others from the Cardinals. White prevailed over Blue 15-7 in a very well-played affair.
Team White’s Will Poyant held Blue scoreless in the first, striking out one and giving up only a single to Ronin Uftring. Poyant was helped by some stellar defense by Tommy Pereira, Jake Banda, and Joe Gronemeyer.
White got off to a fast start in their half of the first with four runs. Tim Watson, Henry Santini, Jonathan Stokes, and Gronemeyer all singled and scored as Kenny Branley ripped a double to clear the bases.
Team Blue’s Noah Titterington got their only hit in the second off of Team White’s Luke Cushing who kept Blue off the board again. Blue’s Mikey Ware, Riley Morell, and Conner Lynch did hit the ball well but some more excellent glove work by White’s Braedon Almas, Cam O’Connell, Cushing, and Watson kept them off the bases.
Team White was held to one run in the second by Team Blue’s Gavin Poirior. Pereira made solid contact but Team Blue’s solid fielding kept him off the bases. Eric Banda then hit a shot to Ryan Gray at second but a great play by Gray resulted in the second out. Luke Kitanov then walked and scored and Poyant drew a walk as well.
Team Blue finally did some major damage in the top of the third scoring five runs. Jake Driscoll and Ryan Gray both singled and scored as Ronny Jordan walked and Chase Kennedy was hit by a ptich driving in a run. Gray scored as Will Biscan singled and Poirier doubled scoring Biscan. Uftring singled and Andrew Almeda ripped a ball to short but Gronemeyer made a good play firing to Pereira at first for the final out.
Team White then got most of them back in their half of the third as Watson singled again, O’Connell and Santini walked, and Stokes singled. All of them scored as Gronemeyer blasted a double to finish the action.
Team Blue stormed right back in the fourth as Ware (double) and Morell (walk) scored. Titterington singled and Connor Lynch was hit by a pitch but Team White’s Branley, who was pitching, made a great play at home as catcher Theo Bryson flipped him the ball to nail the runner at the plate trying to score. Branley then struck out the next batter and induced a ground out to Almas at short to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fourth, Team White returned serve again as Bryson singled, Pereira walked, and Eric Banda singled. All three scored as hard hits by Kitanov and Poyant cleared the bases. Jake Banda doubled but was unable to advance.
In the top of the fifth, Team Blue’s Jordan was hit by a pitch while Gray, Charlie Roy, and Kennedy hit the ball hard but pitcher Almas kept them from scoring with a nice play at the mound and some other fielding help from O’Connell, Santini, and Jake Banda.
The game was still close thanks to the defense of Team Blue’s Jackson Hegarty and Almeda among others but the bottom of the inning saw Team White’s relentless bats get right back in gear. Watson doubled and O’Connell drove him in. Santini singled and Stokes doubled to drive him in. Gronemeyer’s single plated Stokes.
Biscan led off the top of the sixth with a single off of closer Gronemeyer but two strikeouts and a great short-hop pickup by Kitanov at first ended the game.
Team White’s manager Stew Pruslin remarked, “I was not only proud of my four Astros players for representing our team so well, but I was impressed with everyone on both teams. It was exciting to coach such a high-level collection of players from different teams who came together for a common goal.”
(NOTE: The above game summary was provided by Wilmington Little League.)
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