In the end, the West Springfield Americans’ bid to capture the Virginia State 9-10 Little League All-Stars Baseball Tournament fell barely short. The squad, under manager Greg McIntyre, reached the finals before losing a heart-breaker in extra innings, 5-3, to Bridgewater. The title game took place last Wednesday, July 20 in Suffolk. The tournament was hosted by the Bennett’s Creek Little League.
“It was a very exciting game,” said McIntyre, of the finals loss which went seven innings. “It’s bitter sweet. To be state runner-up is very impressive, something to be proud of. We had a tremendous tournament.”
West Springfield, which earlier in the postseason captured the District 9 Tournament championship with a title game win over Fort Hunt, handily won its first three pool bracket games at states to qualify for the single elimination portion of the tournament.
The team won its next two games, including a 6-4 semifinals round victory over Tuckahoe on Tuesday, July 19.
The winning pitcher in the win over Tuckahoe was Connor Copeland, who earned the decision with a strong relief outing. Jack Cone earned the save in the close game.
At the plate in the semifinals win, Calvin Pastel had three base hits while Brian Bachman and Nathaniel Do both had two safeties.
Out of action in the Tuckahoe game was Greg McIntyre, the manager’s son, who was under the weather. Teammates displayed their camaraderie that game by inking young Greg’s jersey number, `3,’ on their shoulders underneath their game jerseys.
<b>GREG WAS BACK</b> in the line-up for the finals and helped West Springfield give Bridgewater all it could handle. Cone, the team’s starting pitcher, allowed just two runs working into the fifth inning. Bobby Leitzel pitched well in relief.
The game was tied at 3-3 after six regulation innings before Bridgewater tallied a couple of runs in the top of the seventh to go ahead 5-3. West Springfield American, in its half of the seventh, got two runners on base with one out to mount a threat. The next two West Springfield batters hit the ball hard but Bridgewater was able to make the plays defensively and hold on for the win and the title.
Cone led the West Springfield offense in that game with two hits.
McIntyre, the Americans’ manager, said his squad played with determination during the postseason.
“We were very resilient,” he said. “Our strength was our pitching and hitting. They always played up to their capabilities.”
Members of the West Springfield American’s roster are: Brian Bachman, Tyler Bell, Jack Cone, Connor Copeland, Nathaniel Do, Sam Freeborne, Grant Holzemer, Bobby Leitzel, Tyler Matheny, Greg McIntyre, Calvin Pastel.