NCTV17 Avocados storm back to beat Vai’s Purple Pickles in Supreme A Championship

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Naperville Little League Championship action kicks off at Nike Park with Hunter Corp, Anik Arunkumar and the Vai’s Purple Pickles taking on Lucas Murtaugh, Cole Blouin, Gabe Auffant, and the rest of the NCTV17 Avocados. The avocados enter this game with a 15-1 record and went undefeated while playing at Nike Park during the season while the Purple Pickles feature many players on last year’s NCTV17 team, which was runner-up in the title game.  

Jay Esser and Vai’s open the game with a 1-0 lead

The action heats up in the top of the first after a one-out walk to Carter Schmitt, Emmett Lowder gets on base first for Vai’s with a walk of his own. 

On the next at-bat, Jay Esser hits a pop-up single out to left field that gets the baserunners going, it drives in Carter Schmitt to put Vais up 1-0.  

NCTV17 would end the half-inning on the next at-bat, as Landon Lumley gets Aleks Gierstikas swinging and missing for the K.  

In the bottom of the first, Vai’s pitcher Carter Schmitt looks strong recording three strikeouts against his first three batters on the day as he would start off strong on the mound.  

However, in the bottom of the second with the score still 1-0, NCTV17 would get walking as well with Schmitt walking Andy Mesarch to start the half-inning.  On the next at-bat with a full count, Schmitt throws too far inside to Gabe Auffant resulting in another walk for NCTV17.   Next up is Akshay Patil who gets another free pass as the Avocado’s load the bases with no outs.  

NCTV17 ties the game but Vai’s sails to the lead once again

On the first pitch of the next at-bat Quinn Vasovic his hit by a pitch which results in another free baserunner for NCTV17 and gets them on the board with Mesarch walking home to tie the game at 1. Schmitt is able to settle down and retire the side from there.

In the top of the third, Vai’s looks to strike back as Zain Malik hits a flyball out to right field and is able to scoot to first base in time for a single.  

A little later, Jay Esser hits a grounder that goes right to Lumley on the mound, but his throw to first base is too high which allows Esser to take off for second, while Malik comes all the way from first to home to put Vai’s back in front up 2-1.  

The momentum for Vai’s continues as Will Hammond hits a deep shot to right field and is able to make it to second for a double as Esser scrambles to home to extend the Purple Pickles lead to 3-1.  

More momentum for Vai’s continues as Aleks Gierstikas gets on base with a walk on a full count to put a pair of runners on, but Lumley NCTV17 would allow no more runs that inning to keep the deficit at two.

Esser would take over on the mound for Vai’s and initially allows this walk on Cole Blouin to bring the tying run to the plate.  But after that, Esser would stiffen up and catch the next two batters looking for strikeouts and retire the inning, still with a 3-1 lead.  

Now onto the top of the fifth, Vais looks to get the offense going again as Schmitt hits an infield pop up that can’t be caught and he makes it to safe for a single.  Then a little later Will Hammond gets in on the RBI action again with an infield single that gives enough time for Malik to score another run making it a 4-1 Vai’s lead.  

NCTV17 loads the bases and starts to pour on some runs in the fifth

But in the bottom of the fifth, NCTV17 gets their offense going as John Boger gets a walk off a full count on Esser to get the Avocados on base.  Up next is Everett Roth who sees Esser’s pitch go wide for another ball four to get two ducks on the pond.  Then on the next at-bat, the pitch just misses the mark allowing Jayden Kim to walk to first and load the bases.

Now up is Wes Gaudio who hits a line drive out to left field and brings in all three base runners around to score, tying the game up at four while Gaudio safely makes it to third for an RBI triple.  

Next up is Gabe Auffant who hits a grounder single that brings in Gaudio for the fourth run of the inning as NCTV17 takes its first lead of the day up 5-4.  

Vai’s doesn’t quit and retakes the lead in the sixth inning

However, in the top of the sixth, Vai’s is far from done.  With Jayden Kim on the mound, Dave Connor on a full count gets the walk to put the Purple Pickles back on base.  

On the next at-bat, Kim throws it high over TJ Pabich and gets another walk for Vai’s.  After that, Anik Arunkumar uses a keep eye to draw another ball four as Vai’s gets the bases loaded looking to pounce.  

The Pickles would capitalize on the next at-bat is Malik hits a sacrifice grounder to first base but it gives enough time for Connor to run home and tie the game up at five.  

Next up is Emmett Lowder who comes through in the clutch with a single to left field and is able to get to first for a single and allows Pabich to score putting Vai’s back in front up 6-5, putting the Purple Pickles three outs from the championship.

NCTV17 walks it off against Vai’s in the Naperville Little League Supreme A Championship

But in the bottom of the sixth, NCTV17 was not done yet.  Lowder now up on the mound is unable to get Lucas Murtaugh swinging, as he takes the walk on the full count pitch. 

Next up is Jayden Kim, as the pitch from Lowder is just off the mark giving the Avocados another walk and putting the winning run on base. 

NCTV17 get the bases loaded again and they would as another pitch is off the mark allowing John Boger to walk to first.  

Still nobody out with the tying run on third and the winning run on second. Everett Roth hits a pop up to first but the ball is drops allowing Murtaugh to run home and tie the game up at six and everyone is safe.  

Now needing one more run to secure the comeback, Thomas Collins is ready to be the hero as he drives a single into left-center field allowing Jayden Kim to score the game-winning run. The NCTV17 Avocados pull off the comeback with a 7-6 victory of the Vai’s Purple Pickles in a thrilling matchup and are the 2024 Naperville Little League Supreme A Champions!

You can find all the Naperville Little League highlights and the full show on the NCTV17 Community Sports Page!