The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 8, 2012

Little League baseball: Milton Majors toppled by 'Giant Killer'

LAURELTON — There’s something special about the postseason performance of the South Columbia Major Division All-Stars, and their magic continued Sunday in what was supposed to be the District 13 championship game at the Field of Dreams.

It started against Danville and was followed by Berwick, then continued against Milton. South Columbia played “Giant Killer,” knocking off another unbeaten with a convincing 9-2 victory that forced another winner-take-all matchup tonight in Bloomsburg for the District 13 championship and a berth in the sectional tournament that begins Thursday.

“We wanted to come here and just play our game,” said winning coach Kirk Seesholtz, whose team needed a 3-2 win over Berwick in the Area I final Saturday to earn a spot opposite Milton. “All we knew about them was what we read in the newspaper and that basically was our scouting report.”

South Columbia more than made a statement by sending 11 hitters to the plate in the opening inning and grabbing a 7-0 lead.

Brett Szuler opened the stanza with an infield single and was sacrificed to second by Elijah Hoffman before Garrett Barilar drilled a two-run homer off the scoreboard for a 2-0 lead. Matt Grozier then stroked a double and went to third on a passed ball before Julian Fleming walked. After they moved up one base on a wild pitch, Cole Taylor came through with an RBI single. That, combined with another passed ball, made it a 4-0 advantage.

The Area I champion continued to smack the ball as Ky Seesholtz popped a single to center for an RBI. The surge was capped by Justin Derk’s two-run, opposite-field home run to right, a high fly that kept carrying until it was over the fence.

“We’ve been working with Justin on hitting the ball to the opposite field,” Kirk Seesholtz said. “What a way to keep the momentum going by getting a big home run from your No. 9 batter. That had to be discouraging to their team.”

Not to be overlooked by the offensive fireworks was the outstanding effort by the five players who pitched for South Columbia and combined to allow just two hits while striking out five and giving up only three walks.

“Our primary goal was to keep the ball away from their big hitters,” Kirk Seesholtz said, alluding to the power supplied by Milton first baseman Ryan Rice, who smashed several shots in the tournament, including three in one game. “What can’t be forgotten was our defense came up with several big plays in the game and we never allowed them to have that big inning and get back into contention.”

Milton scored in the second when CJ Badman singled and (after a walk to Seth Kendall) came home on a throwing error.

South Columbia answered in the bottom of the frame when Barilar singled, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch. The team added a final run in the third when Derk singled and eventually rounded the bases on a series of throws in the dirt.

“Our players did a great job of coming out and attacking the ball offensively,” the winning coach said. “We were due to break out and come up with some real hard-hit balls and fortunately it happened.”

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