Majors A Championship is Capped Off By a Dominant Performance

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It’s the Majors A Championship at Nike Park on Naperville Little League Baseball Championship day on NCTV17. Remember to order a personal copy of the game by visiting the NCTV17 online store and purchasing an MP4 download!

After being rescheduled by one day due to rain, it was a perfect summer Sunday afternoon for Naperville Little League and the Majors Division A championship game between Team Gripp and Team Clifton.

Team Gripp, who call themselves the Ravens because they wear purple and are fans of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, were the home team due to having lost only once all season.
Meanwhile, the visitors of Team Clifton had to play with just eight players in the absence of Joey Clifton, Joshua Tanner, Drew Schaefer and Nathan Laughlin.

1st Inning

But the Clifton offense got off to a hot start, and the first run of the day was scored on a single by Justin Cushard that brought home Blake Braga. Luke Fry finds a hole in the infield for a single, and Clifton up 1-0 have the bases loaded in the first inning with nobody out. Two of those runs come home on the next batter as Kevin Kasza’s sacrifice groundout scores Matthew Borich and Justin Cushard, and Team Clifton lead 3-0 after half an inning.

But the Ravens struck back during their first at-bat, as Nate Michalczyk gets them back within a run with a two RBI single, with Danny Granato and Kellen Gripp crossing home plate. Nathan Garabedian then races home on a wild pitch, and just like that it’s all even in the first with the game tied at 3.

Time to reset for the defense, as coach Brian Clifton circles his infield of Cushard, Evan Plotke, Kasza and Dylan Stupay around pitcher Rylan Cook. But another wild pitch brings home another Raven, this time it’s Nate Michalczyk to give Team Gripp a 4-3 lead. The home team were aggressive on the basepaths all day, and Alex Malinowski scores the fifth run of the inning to make it 5-3 and move the game to the second.

2nd Inning and Great Pitching by Garabedian

The top of the second begins with Kellen Gripp striking out his fellow pitcher Cook. Gripp was replaced on the bump by Nathan Garabedian who absolutely shut down opposing hitters, racking up six strikeouts including five consecutive Clifton players.

More good baserunning here by Team Gripp and Robbie Pellicano, who advances to third on a wild pitch to put himself in scoring position. Ravens hitters also kept a good eye at the plate like in this at bat by pinch hitter Logan Eck. But Team Gripp was held off the board in the second inning thanks in part to this strikeout for Cook, who had three in the Majors A final game.

Outstanding Offense for Team Gripp

Garabedian backed up his pitching with his bat, starting with this double down the left field line to kick off what would be another big inning for his team’s offense. The biggest hit of the day was by Team Gripp’s Colin Troutman, who with the bases loaded drives the ball to the wall in right center field and brings everyone home, even circling the bases himself for a Grand Slam! A big lead after three innings, now 9-3.

They’d add more in the fourth, as Danny Granato avoids a tag on his way to first and Gavin Borchers scores to bring the Ravens up to double digits, 10-3. And Granato came home two batters later on another extra-base hit by Garabedian, this time a triple that sent both players racing around the bases to bring the score to 11-3. Gripp were held there though by Dylan Stupay, here closing out the inning with one of his three strikeouts in relief.

Speaking of closing it out, the run rule came into effect in the 5th as Garabedian induces a pop-up and it’s caught by Alex Bruining at first base to seal the win.  The Team Gripp Ravens, win the Majors Division A Naperville Little League Championship with an eight run victory in five innings.