Ashbourne Giants U21 took both sides of Saturday’s Doubleheader to clinch a spot in the Irish Baseball League B Division final.
The Giants jumped to a quick 1-0 lead in the first game after team captain Ryan Wiebe doubled in the first inning and came home as starting pitcher Caspar Coffie hit into a fielders choice.
The Buccaneers responded in a big way in the third inning. Aodhan Hamill got things under way, scoring on a ground ball hit by shortstop Chris Barr. Then starting pitcher Darwin Sanchez singled to drive in Barr and Dave Kelly to make it 3-0. Catcher Mark Smith scores on a sacrifice fly by Gord Cuthbert. 4-0 Buccaneers.
Things remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when the Giants had their own big inning. After Ben Linn hits a lines out to left field, right fielder Adrian Donnelly draws a walk. The Giants proceed to load the bases as starting pitcher Sanchez starts to tire. Patrick Mitchell then singles up the middle to score Donnelly and David Linn to make the score 4-3. Veteran Sean Mitchell steps to the plate and singles to drive in Ryan Wiebe to tie the game. The Giants take the lead when Caspar Coffie drive in Patrick Mitchell on a hard hit ground ball to third base. Sean Mitchell then scores when brother Kevin hits a long sacrifice fly to left field. Giants 6, Bucs 4. Starting Pitcher Coffie then scores to make it 7-4 Giants.
Not ready to die, the Buccaneers come back with two runs in the top of the 6th taking advantage of some shaky defence of the Giants. David Mundarian scores when the Giants 3B makes an error allowing Lee Webster on base. Webster scores on a sacrifice fly by Steve Rogan, making the score 7-6, setting up a wild final inning.
After the Giants don’t score in the bottom of the 6th, the Buccaneers tie the game as catcher Mark Smith takes matters into his own hands. Smith singles with 2 outs, steals both second and third base to set the table for Darwin Sanchez. Sanchez hits a routine ground ball to short and gets on base as the throw sails over the first baseman’s head to allow Smith to score to tie the game at 7.
In the bottom of the 7th, the first family of Irish Baseball gets the job done. Patrick Mitchell starts the inning with a massive double to centre field. Father Sean Mitchell then singles to right field to advance Patrick to third. After a ground out to third forces Patrick Mitchell to hold, uncle Kevin Mitchell comes to the plate. Kevin, having previously been the walk off hero in the Giants 2017 B division championship, strokes a single to left field allowing Patrick to score the winning run. Giants 8 Buccaneers 7
In game 2, the Giants came out firing. David Linn and Ryan Wiebe start the game with back to back singles to set the stage for Patrick Mitchell. Mitchell drives both lads home with a hard hit single to left field.
The Buccaneers answer back in their half of the first as shortstop Chris Barr reaches on an error. Barr steals second before coming home on Mark Smith’s double to left field. Smith then comes home to tie the score as Terry Rosbotham singles up the middle. 2-2.
After a quiet second, the Giants get back on the board. Linn reaches base on a crafty bunt single followed by ball magnet Ryan Wiebe reaching on a hit by pitch. Patrick Mitchell then reaches by a second hit by pitch to load the bases bring up Sean Mitchell. Sean Mitchell then hits a line drive up the middle to score Linn and Wiebe. Patrick Mitchell then comes home two batters later as a pitch gets away from starting pitcher Gord Cuthbert.
Things remain quiet until the top of the fifth. Linn strokes a double to left field and Wiebe reaches on a walk to set the table again for the Mitchell family. Patrick then strokes a single to drive in Linn. After Sean Mitchell draws a walk to load the bases, Wiebe and Patrick Mitchell score on as Dutch veteran Caspar Coffie hits into a fielders choice. Sean Mitchell scores as Ben Linn, father of David, singles to short. Giants end the inning up 9-2.
One man wrecking crew Mark Smith again takes matters into his own hands in the bottom of the 5th. Smith singles to left and proceeds to steal second before coming home on a Darwin Sanchez ground ball to short. 9-3
The Giants proceed to add to their lead in the 6th. Linn once again leads off with a double followed by Wiebe reaching on another hit by pitch. Linn comes home as Patrick Mitchell reaches on an error. Wiebe then scores on a ground ball by Caspar Coffie and game 1 hero doubles to score nephew Patrick. 12-3 Giants.
Offensive hero David Linn comes in to pitch the bottom of the 7th and retires the Buccaneers on 15 pitches.
D Linn, Wiebe and P Mitchell lead the offense over the two games. Linn goes 4 for 6 with a walk, a hit by pitch, 2 doubles and 2 stolen bases. Wiebe goes 2 for 4 with 2 walks, 2 hit by pitch, a double and a stolen base. Mitchell went 4 for 7 with a hit by pitch and a double.
Caspar Coffie gave up 2 earned runs in the first game for the win. Sean Mitchell also gave up 2 earned runs in the second game for the win.
Mark Smith led the Buccaneers offense going 4 for 7 with a walk, a double and 3 stolen bases.