The Ohio Prospects League Maroon 14u Pony All League team wins the Pony Regional in Boardman, Ohio and will advance to the Pony 14u Zone Tournament in High Point, North Carolina.
It sure was not easy for the OPL Maroon team. In the first game, the OPL Maroon team drew the perennial Pony Regional champions, the Hagerstown MD All Stars. The game featured a great pitching matchup. Henry Fritz started for the OPL Maroon team and pitched an incredible game, striking out 15 batters and only walking one. He gave up only three hits, shutting down the tough Hagerstown offense. The game's only run happened in the bottom of the 6th inning when Luke Legato walked with two outs. After an errant pickoff throw, Luke advanced to third base. Then Julian Tavarez, Jr. singled to drive in the only run of the game.
The OPL Black 14u All League team won their first round game against the host Tri-T team by a score of 12-0. Mason Knapp pitched a great game only giving up three hits and striking out seven. Will Addington hit the only home run of the tournament, a three run homer to cap off the win.
In the winners bracket game, the OPL Maroon team faced the OPL Black team. The OPL Maroon team got the better of the Black team by a score of 10-0. Will Crooks pitched a complete game only giving up two hits in the game. Bryden Spellacy and Matt McKee both had three hits and drove in three runs.
The OPL Black team then faced the Hagerstown team to advance to the championship. After Hagerstown got an early 2-0 lead, the OPL Black team stormed back scoring three runs in the 4th inning. Isaac DeYoung doubled driving in a run, Stevie Kopkash singled in a run in the rally.
Hagerstown took back the lead in the 6th and scored 4 in the top of the 7th and the OPL Black team fell 8-3.
The double elimination tournament went on to Sunday as the OPL Maroon team entered undefeated and Hagerstown had one loss. With one win, the OPL Maroon team would advance and it would take two wins by Hagerstown to advance.
In the first game, the OPL Maroon team got off to a great start, scoring 1 in the first and 3 in the third for a 4-0 lead. Matt McKee had a key hit driving in two runs.
Hagerstown came back to tie the score in the 5th inning at 4-4. The OPL Maroon team went back ahead in the top of the 6th with a double by Blake Moore driving in a run 5-4. However, Hagerstown tied the score in the bottom of the 7th inning 5-5. The game remained scoreless inning after inning until the bottom of the 12th inning when Hagerstown pushed across the winning run on a balk call.
Blake Moore pitched incredible in relief pitching 6 innings with nine strikeouts, only giving up one unearned run.
With both teams with one loss, the two teams faced each other again in the elimination game. The OPL Maroon team got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the 1st inning on a single by Julian Tavarez driving in the first run of the game.
Hagerstown came back in the 5th inning scoring 4 runs and taking a 4-1 lead. However, the OPL Maroon team quickly bounced back in the bottom of the 5th scoring 5 runs led by a three run double by Julian Tavarez Jr and a single by Matt McKee driving in a run taking a 6-4 lead.
In the bottom of the 6th inning, the OPL Maroon team put the game away but scoring another 4 runs. Bryden Spellacy had a bunt single driving in a run and Julian Tavarez Jr drove in another run with a single. The final score of the game was 10-4.
Julian Tavarez Jr. and Matt McKee pitched outstanding and stellar defense by the OPL Maroon team helped lead the team to victory.
The first time since 2018, the Ohio Prospects League will be going to High Point, North Carolina in the Pony 14u Zone Tournament, one step away from the PONY 14u World Series.