By Carl Holcomb
A trophy will be shared by the Potomac Highlands as Area 2 peeled oranges after the marathon championship victory over the Martinsburg Orange 24-23 to claim the 12th annual Battle at the Burg title last Friday at Oatesdale Park in Martinsburg.
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad the championship didn’t go into extra innings with a regulation lasting nearly four hours.
“It’s very special, when we put this team together we didn’t know how far we’d go. We had a lot of question marks, but these boys fought hard and stuck together. They did it themselves. I told them to show me heart and effort and they did. All of these boys have heart and I’m proud of them,” Area 2 manager Bryan Sisler commented.
The Battle at the Burg, also known as the James Gall Memorial Youth Tournament, featured 11 Little League teams with players aged seven to nine.
[private] Levi Price hit a leadoff single for Area 2 off Martinsburg Orange pitcher Steven Kaufman to the shortstop Izaah Birmingham and scored on an RBI single to center field by Dayton Dove.
Landon Ludwick hit a fly ball to right field for an RBI single to extend the advantage to 2-0.
A wild pitch allowed Ludwick to advance around to third base before Blaine Billmeyer struck out.
Ludwick came home on an RBI single by Ayden Bloomquist.
Ashton Evans hit into a double play ending the side.
Martinsburg Orange responded in the bottom of the frame tying the contest at 3-all.
Birmingham hit a leadoff single off Area 2 pitcher Ayden Bloomquist and Kaden Hill drew a walk.
Birmingham scored on a passed ball before Hill was thrown out at second base with Dove making the tag.
A pair of walks and a single by Bradley Butts loaded the bases, then Martinsburg Orange scored on a fielder’s choice and again after two more walks.
Ayden Crabtree made the pickoff tag for the third out for Area 2.
Facing two outs in the second inning, Area 2 came up with three consecutive singles by Travis Owens, Joseph Price and Owen Miller.
A bases loaded walk to Rennick Billmeyer gave Area 2 the lead again and Price scored on a passed ball to make it 5-3.
After a walk in the bottom of the second inning, Dove came in to pitch for Area 2 and got two strikeouts.
Martinsburg Orange refused to fold as Maxwell Dannfir hit an RBI single into right field and Birmingham singled to Area 2 shortstop Shane Sisler.
Maxwell scored on an error during a play at second base prior to a walk, then Birmingham scored on a passed ball and another walk.
A batter was hit by a pitch and two more walks plated runs as Martinsburg Orange took an 8-5 lead.
Martinsburg added one more run as Area 2 pitcher Levi Price hit Kaufman.
Area 2 rallied for a 10-9 lead in the third inning starting with a single by Dove which was pop-up missed by the catcher.
Ludwick smacked an RBI double into left field to make it 9-6.
After a strikeout by Kaufman, Ludwick stole third base and was plated by Bloomquist on a single to third base.
Sisler drew a walk, then Crabtree hit a hard grounder to the pitcher and the throw went awry allowing two runs to score and Crabtree reached third base as the game was now tied.
Ashton Owens hit an RBI groundout to give Area 2 a 10-9 edge.
Travis Owens and Joseph Price singled, but both were stranded on a strikeout by Birmingham.
Martinsburg Orange regained the lead in the bottom of the third inning on two bases loaded walks from Price, 11-10.
Price singled with one out in the top of the fourth inning and Dove drew a walk, then both scored on passed balls as Area 2 went back on top 12-11.
Butts singled and scored on a passed ball to tie the game, while two walks were issued.
Martinsburg Orange took a 14-12 edge as two runs scored on a passed ball.
Julian Burrell singled to load the bases, then Evans garnered a strikeout.
The lead was extended to 17-12 on a walk and single by Birmingham.
Area 2 answered with six runs in the fifth inning to regain the lead 18-17.
Bloomquist was hit by a pitch, Sisler was walked by Grayson Boober and Crabtree hit an RBI single to get the scoring attack rolling.
After a walk scores a run, Owens smashed an RBI double to left field.
The Area 2 dugout was cheering loudly, feeling pumped up.
Joseph Price sent a run home on a single and Owens scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
Rennick Billmeyer was hit by a pitch, then Levi Price hit into a fielder’s choice with Joseph Price coming home for an 18-17 edge.
Blaine Billmeyer came in to pitch for Area 2 in the bottom half of the inning and Martinsburg Orange rallied again.
Hill crushed a leadoff triple to left field and a walk was issued before Butts connected for a two-run producing triple and raced home on an error to make it 20-18.
Boober and Brayden Armost drew walks and both scored on passed balls, 22-18.
Area 2 wasn’t ready to quit and fought back for a sixth inning lead.
Dove hit a leadoff single and scored on an RBI single by Ludwick to the shortstop, then Martinsburg Orange pitcher Kaden Hill notched two strikeouts.
Sisler walked and Crabtree hit an RBI single to center field to cut the deficit to 22-21.
Evans singled to center field on the fourth pitch.
After a walk to Owens, Joseph Price connected for the game-tying RBI single up the middle.
Owen Miller was hit by a pitch plating the go-ahead run for Area 2.
Renneck Billmeyer smacked an RBI single to right field for a 24-22 edge.
Ludwick tossed two strikeouts, then Birmingham scored on a passed ball.
After a walk was issued to Boober, he stole around to third base.
Ludwick collected a grounder for the final out as Area 2 claimed the Battle at the Burg championship 24-23.
The path to the championship for Area 2 started with a 17-0 shutout against Morgan County, then beat Jefferson 16-7 and rallied to edge Brunswick in the semifinal 14-13.
The Battle at the Burg trophy and banner will be hoisted in the Potomac Highlands.