The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

July 6, 2012

Little League baseball: Milton Majors cruise to Area II title

LAURELTON — If given the choice, Milton Major Division All-Stars manager Rich Counsil would prefer to bat first so his team has a chance to get a lead right away.

Milton brought the sticks out in a big way during Friday’s District 13 Area II championship game against Shikellamy-Acorn.

As hot as the temperatures were, Milton’s bats were hotter.

Rylan Rice’s three-run home run in the top of the first gave Counsil his early lead, and with the 10 runs the team scored in the third Milton cruised to a 16-1, four-inning victory to claim the Area II title at the Field of Dreams.

“We knew we had to (bring the bats). Shik-Acorn is obviously a good team from fighting back all those games to make it (to the championship game),” said Counsil. “We knew it would be a tough game, so we focused and got ready for it.”

Milton now has the District 13 championship game to focus on. The team will play the winner of today’s Area I championship game between South Columbia and Berwick on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. back at the Field of Dreams.

“My kids like to play. This team is very confident right now and they believe,” said Counsil. “We’re ready for anybody who takes the field (against us). We’re just focused on the task at hand — one game at a time — we’re not looking ahead and we’re playing our game.”

Rice’s seventh homer of the season gave Milton a quick 3-0 lead to open the game. And if that wasn’t enough, Rice also hit a two-run single in the third.

“Rylan is just a beast. The kid is phenomenal and he is seeing the ball 10 times better than he ever did,” said Counsil. “He’s also a contact hitter. If the ball goes over the fence, that’s a bonus for us.”

Milton sent a total of 15 batters to the plate in the third inning and got 10 hits.

Alex Garcia hit a double and also a two-run homer in the third, while Tony Manzano, Philip “Mouse” Davis, Eric Counsil and Nick Doresky all hit RBI singles in the frame.

“How about Alex Garcia hitting one out? It was a beautiful hit and good for him,” said manager Counsil. “They all did a great job and we played as a team and that’s why we won. It was a great team effort.”

“It definitely feels good (to win the game). A lot of people on our team can really hit the ball,” said Rice. “Once we make contact the ball is going to go. We always put the ball in play.”

Putting the ball in play was the one thing Shik-Acorn couldn’t do in the game.

Against three different Milton pitchers — Brandon Feltman, Counsil and Manzano — Shik-Acorn was held to one hit, a single by Josh Krieger in the third. The team’s lone run also scored in the third when Tate Krankoskie walked with the bases full to bring home Zach Hummel.

“You got to take your hat off and give it to Milton. Seriously, they came out and played like they wanted it more than we did,” said Shik-Acorn manager Shawn Dodge. “I think my team battled well, but we just didn’t have it.

“I’m really proud of the kids, I’m proud of the way the way they played and I’m proud to be a part of the team,” Dodge added.

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