WOODBURY – Leo Fiore will always remember his first base hit of the 2017 Major League season.
It was the one that clinched the 2017 Woodbury Baseball & Softball Major League Championship for the undefeated Rays on Thursday.
With no one out in the bottom of the sixth and Andrew Greene on third, Fiore’s walk-off single gave the Rays the 7-6 win over the Nationals.
“I’ve coached for several years in this league, and we’ve always found a way to win the league division and lose the championship game,” said Rays manager Pete Bartoli. “And it looked like it was happening again.”
Trailing 6-5, Nick Rose led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to dead center. Greene then singled and stole second and third base to set up Fiore’s heroics.
“I’m really happy for the kids,” Pete Bartoli said. “It was one of the best group of kids I’ve ever coached. I told them that before the game they have a lot of heart. They’re coachable kids. They know how to have fun. And they I’m so happy for all of them. And it was a complete team win from one through 10 in the order.”
How the Teams Scored
The Rays struck first in the bottom of the first. Will Bartoli singled, and Nate Bartoli drove him home with a double.
But the Nationals came back in the top of the second. Austin Eccles-Docchio singled with one out, and Rocco Collello followed with a walk. Nick Higgins singled to bring in both Eccles-Docchio and Collello, and Dylan Chung doubled to plate Higgins. Chung later scored on a passed ball to give the Nationals a 4-1 lead.
The Rays chipped at the lead in the bottom of the second. Rose walked, stole second and third, and came home on a ground out by Greene.
Ben Faraci led off the Rays’ half of the third with a walk and stole second, and Will Bartoli moved him to third on a ground out to second. Nate Bartoli was then intentionally walked, and stole second. Luke Martin singled up the middle to score Faraci and Nate Bartoli to cut the Nationals’ lead to 4-3.
Chung led off the fifth inning with a single, and came in on a Ben Stewart triple to give the Nationals a 5-3 lead. Ryan Anderson hit a sacrifice fly to right to make it 6-3 Nationals.
Will Bartoli led off the home half of the fifth with a double, and Nate Bartoli cleared the bases with his third homer of the playoffs to make it a 6-5 game.
Will Bartoli held the Nationals scoreless in the top of the sixth to set up Fiore’s heroics.
“They’re fighters,” Nationals manager Scott Chung said of his team. “They battled the highs and lows of the game, and they took it to heart. I’m so proud of them.”
Not In The Box Score
Rays assistant coach Mike “Doc” Rosen has been coaching baseball in Woodbury for 38 years. He has never been part of an undefeated team until now.
“He told the kids before the game that he’s never had an undefeated season in 38 years, now here’s your chance to deliver him one,” Pete Bartoli said. “And they did it for him in exciting fashion.”