SELINSGROVE — Well, that didn’t take long.
Striking quickly once the matchup of unbeaten squads resumed Thursday morning, Central Columbia turned its go-ahead run into a 3-2 conquest of Danville in the winners’ bracket final of the District 13 Little League Major Division Tournament.
Jansen Sarisky raced home on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh inning — the game was tied at 2-all Wednesday night when darkness arrived and forced a suspension — as Central Columbia remained perfect while Danville slipped into win-or-else mode.
Danville (3-1) will return to East Snyder Park tonight (5:30) to meet Warrior Run in a clash of once-beaten sides. Whichever squad prevails in tonight’s scrap will play Central Columbia on Sunday (2 p.m.) at East Snyder Park in the first of two possible title games.
Central Columbia was able to pull even in the top of the sixth inning to force Thursday’s resumption when Cole Swisher worked a two-out walk and advanced to second on Chase Reynolds’ single. Aidan Smith followed with another single, and an error allowed Swisher to score the tying run.
When play was restarted Thursday, Central Columbia continued its momentum when Sarisky opened the decisive seventh with a double to deep left-center. Moments later, he moved over to third on Alex Zeisloft’s fly to right.
When reliever Wyatt Shultz uncorked a 1-1 delivery to Evan Brokenshire that skipped past catcher Jack Maloyed, Sarisky scampered home with the go-ahead run.
It was the only run Central Columbia (4-0) needed, and batting first may have helped.
“I did feel it was an advantage,” Central Columbia manager Justin Sarisky said. “The kids were hyped up, and it was my son that actually led off, so we talked about it a lot last night. He just wanted it. And I was really happy to have him leading off.”
Jansen Sarisky also pocketed the victory, tossing three innings of one-hit relief. In fact, Sarisky needed just six pitches to retire Danville 1-2-3 in the seventh to end the game.
While Central Columbia snagged a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Smith beat a throw home — Sarisky was trapped in a rundown — for the first run. And while starter Landon Costa was remarkably effective, Danville got to him in the fourth.
That’s when Jack Gordon reached on a two-out single and pinch-hitter Maloyed followed with a tape-measure shot that had Danville up 2-1. And when Swisher tied the game in the sixth — and Danville couldn’t score — everything was put on hold.
Until Thursday morning, when Central Columbia won it.
“We’ve got to get these bats going,” Danville manager Scott Shultz said. “(Costa) threw a great game. He had us off-balance and he threw enough strikes … He was right there at the right speed where we couldn’t catch up to him.”
Warrior Run rallies, keeps season alive
Using the right arm and productive bat of Chase Knarr, Warrior Run was able to shrug off a narrow deficit and rally for a 2-1 victory over Mifflinburg at Bowersox Field.
The teams got things started Wednesday night — the game was scoreless through two innings — but following a lengthy weather delay the decision was made to push everything back to Thursday morning.
“Whether we play at night or early in the morning, we keep the same energy,” Knarr said.
Knarr and Warrior Run will try to earn another must-have victory tonight at East Snyder Park, where Warrior Run (3-1) will meet Danville. First pitch is slated for 5:30.
Danville last weekend dispatched Warrior Run to the consolation bracket, posting a 15-5 victory. Tonight’s victor will need to topple unbeaten Central Columbia twice in order to advance to Section 3 play, with the first of those games slated for Sunday (2 p.m.).
Coming on for the start of the fourth inning, Knarr struck out seven and walked five during his three-inning stint. Mifflinburg (3-2), pushed across a run in the fourth when Cub Dietrich drew a walk with the bases loaded.
While Warrior Run answered with a run in the bottom half of the fourth on Landon Polcyn’s run-scoring single, the game-winning run arrived in the fifth when Tyler Ulrich popped a two-out single, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Knarr’s double.
Knarr closed it out in the sixth, striking out the side while yielding a two-out walk.
“It feels really good to get this for the team, the coaches and knowing that we’ve gotten this far,” Knarr said. “It feels really good.”
LITTLE LEAGUE DISTRICT 13
MAJOR DIVISION BASEBALL
CENTRAL COLUMBIA 3, DANVILLE 2 (7 inn.)
Central Columbia`100`001`1 — 3-8-2
Danville`000`200`0 — 2-6-2
Landon Costa, Jansen Sarisky (5) and Sarisky, Parker Day (5). Daniel Walker, Cole Duffy (3), Wyatt Shultz (6), Matt Acor (7) and Shultz, Jack Maloyed (5).
WP: Sarisky. LP: Shultz.
Central Columbia: Sarisky 2-for-3, run; Chase Reynolds, 2-for-3; Aidan Smith, 2-for-3, run.
Danville: Cayne Stroup 2-for-4; Maloyed 1-for-1, HR (fourth inning, one on), run, 2 RBIs.