M.O.T. forces second Junior League baseball District I final against Camden-Wyoming

M.O.T.’s Matt Lewis rounds third base on his way to scoring in the sixth inning Monday night. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

SMYRNA — Down to its last out, the Camden-Wyoming boys weren’t quite ready to give in.

A five-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh inning Monday night was nearly enough to pull off an improbable comeback.

Eventually, the M.O.T. all-stars forced a game-ending lineout to centerfield to nip Camden-Wyoming, 7-6, in the Junior League District I finals at Smyrna-Clayton Little League.

The win forces a second, winner-take-all title game tonight at 6 p.m. at Smyrna-Clayton Little League.

The winner will represent District I in next week’s three-team state tournament, which is also being hosted by Smyrna-Clayton Little League.

Camden-Wyoming starting pitcher Colson Bennett went 4 innings.

“I told them right here in front of the dugout before we got to that last inning, I asked them all, ‘has the fat lady sung yet?’ and they looked at me and said, ‘no sir,’” said C-W manager Joe Fredericks.

“I said, ‘we have nothing to lose, we can do this.’ And we came close.”

Camden-Wyoming plated its five runs with an RBI single, a pair of bases-loaded walks and two bases-loaded hit-by-pitches.

Andrew Steinhaus was just one batter away from a complete game for M.O.T. as the starting pitcher reached his pitch limit with two away in the seventh inning.

“The kids came out and they played really strong, we were coming off a really great game defensively — and in all facets of the game — last night and I thought they continued it today,” said M.O.T. manager Tim Brennan.

M.O.T. collected seven hits, led by a pair from leadoff hitter Wyatt Uhde and shortstop Matt Lewis. Steinhaus, Maximus Mullins and Thomas Feustel recorded one hit each.

Camden-Wyoming’s Alex Newman takes a swing in Monday night’s title game.

Camden-Wyoming registered eight hits, led by two-hit performances from Connor Nester, Hunter Chambers and Graham Buckson. Josh Fredericks and Eric Stewart each collected one hit.

“We lost to them the first game, it was a close game, we all wanted them back,” said Steinhaus. “The bats were great tonight; we just have to come out and do it again tomorrow night.”

Colson Bennett started the game on the mound for C-W, throwing 50 pitches in his four innings of work. Jackson Monroney threw 2.2 innings of relief, while Daylen Aviles pitched 0.1 innings.

M.O.T. plated one run in each of the first two innings to grab the early 2-0 lead.

Uhde led the top of the first off with a double to right field, later coming around to score on a wild pitch after stealing third base.
Feustel led the second inning off with a single and later scored on a Connor Brennan groundout to extend the lead to 2-0.

In the top of the fourth, Jarrett Mayes drove in Steinhaus with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to grab the 3-0 advantage.

M.O.T. second baseman Louie Zitofsky receives the throw from catcher Andrew Pierce before tagging out C-W’s Jackson Monroney at second base in the first inning.

Chambers put C-W on the board with an RBI single to left field in the bottom of the sixth, scoring Fredericks to cut the lead to 3-1.

Steinhaus left the bases loaded on two different occasions, recording an inning-ending strikeout in the fourth inning and retiring two straight batters to strand a trio of runners in the sixth inning to avoid further damage.

With just a two-run lead in the sixth, M.O.T. added some insurance runs as Lewis and Steinhaus each laid down two-run singles to pull ahead 7-1.

“We started off scoring a couple runs, but we weren’t hitting good,” said Brennan. “We were popping up a lot, but we started making some adjustments at the end. We started getting some line drive hits and got those runs in, which it turns out we needed.”

After Steinhaus recorded the first two outs in the seventh, M.O.T. turned to its bullpen for the final out.

Chambers drove in Buckson with an RBI single to cut the lead to 7-2, and CW plated its other four runs in consecutive at-bats to pull within a run.

Relief pitchers Uhde and Mullins combined to finish the game out for M.O.T., with the lineout ending CW’s late rally.

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