The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

June 28, 2014

Little League Baseball: Mifflinburg Majors hold off Lewisburg to stay alive

NORTHUMBERLAND — Mifflinburg manager Rod Enders had little doubt that his reliever Tony Bennage had the stuff to close out Mifflinburg’s elimination-bracket game with Lewisburg in the District 13, Area II major division game at Acorn Park on Saturday.

“(Tony) can throw hard and throw the ball past anybody,” Enders said. “He’s just got to stay relaxed.”

It’s hard for a youngster to stay relaxed with his season on the line, but with the tying run on third base, Bennage was able to strike out the final Lewisburg hitter to clinch a 4-3 victory for Mifflinburg.

“He gets emotionally charged,” Enders said. “He gets too excited. I was just telling him to calm down.”

With Mifflinburg ahead 4-0 to start the bottom of the sixth, an Owen Arndt single along with two walks sandwiched around two fielder’s choices loaded the bases for Lewisburg. Brett Herman was hit by a pitch to force in a run.

After a visit from Enders, Bennage allowed a two-run single to Kyle Stanko to cut the Mifflinburg lead to 4-3 and put runners on the corners with two outs. Bennage struck out the next hitter and bounded off the mound, knowing he’d kept his team’s season alive.

Mifflinburg advances to face the winners of the nightcap between Snyder County and Warrior Run. Mifflinburg lost its opener to Snyder County, 7-6.

Lewisburg is eliminated at 1-2.

Mifflinburg got an outstanding starting pitching performance from Cade Dressler, who got the win. The lefty worked 4 2/3 innings for the victory, allowing just three singles. He allowed just two runners to reach second while striking out four and not walking a hitter until the final batter he faced.

“It’s the second game Cade has thrown for us; he gave up four hits in our opener and lost,” Enders said. “He’s pitched 10 innings (in the tournament) and given up seven hits. You can’t ask for much more out of your starting pitcher.”

Defense played a big role for Mifflinburg as well, as the team didn’t commit an error and got several outstanding plays at third base from Darin Miller.

Mifflinburg jumped on top 2-0 in the bottom of the first. Gavin Enders and Malick Valencia each singled. After a strikeout and fielder’s choice, Jacob Miller doubled to the left-field fence to drive home both runs.

“For our kids, it’s really important to get a lead. I don’t know about other teams, but we play a lot better when we get a lead,” Rod Enders said. “It’s a huge mental lift for us.”

Mifflinburg added single runs in the second and fourth innings to open up a 4-0 lead. In the second inning, Cody Rokavec walked and later came around to score on Cadin Sheesley’s RBI double.

In the fourth after two Lewisburg errors, Bryce Hauger doubled home a run.

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