The season ended in thrilling style in the Pony Division as the two best teams squared off for the knockout championship.
All the players turned out as the division held its final playoff games on awards day. Having not won a game all season, CIBC-FCIB won two of its three playoff games to take the third spot – beating Burger King in its last match. The battle for fifth place was equally fierce, with KPMG overcoming Digicel – who ended up in sixth place.
All eyes were on field two at the Field of Dreams where Encompass played Greenlight Re. Encompass only lost once this season and that was to their fellow finalists. The initial feelings were field two had seen the game of the season when an enthralling Pony All-Star game finished 20-19, but this was no less thrilling.
Encompass batted first and Stephanie Menko had a strong hit, went from first to third, then scored a run on a strong hit down the first base line. Greenlight fought back hard and finished the first 6-5 ahead. There then followed that rarest of creatures, a scoreless Encompass innings, achieved through a double play by Johnathan Henny.
Greenlight could not pull ahead in spite of Jadon Jimenez’ home run and the end of the second inning, Encompass had a narrow 7-5 edge. Greenlight pulled out all the stops and held Encompass again but it all seemed to be going nowhere for both teams until a two-out triple by Neil McComb brought home the eighth run.
Was this season going to end flatly for league champions Encompass? With two outs in the fourth inning, it looked so but a three-run homer brought the score to 9-8. Then Stephanie Menko hit a double before a two-run homer brought the score to 11-8. There was joy on the Encompass bench as they remembered why they had been so dominant this season. The bottom of the final inning saw them with a three-run lead, but a two-run homer with no outs by Jadon Jimenez saw the lead cut to one and two outs followed.
Kaden Hiryok had a Runs Batted In hit with two outs and two strikes to tie the game. Andre Espeut was on third when Lucas Jimenez made the hit that brought Andre home in the fourth for the winning run.
After the games, all players gathered under the tent for recognition and awards. They each got a medal and every team nominated four All-Stars and a recipient for the Most Improved Player and Best Sportsmanship awards. There was also a hot-dog and drink for each participant.
Pony division coordinator Adam Roberts said it was a great finale to the season.
“This has been a great season and the enthusiasm and improvement of the players has been inspiring,” Roberts said. “Some of the play towards the end of the season has been outstanding but they are 7-8 year-olds so there are still mistakes to keep it all interesting. But best of all has been the spirit among the players and the coaches, but most importantly on the bleachers.
“We all want strong support from the parents but this year there have many words of encouragement for the players of opposing teams and this was shown by the coaches too. That final game was just so exciting and a great advert for the Little League program.”
Digicel nominated Charles Gilman Jr, Michael Smith, Justin Parsons, Toby Johns, Most Improved Player (MIP) Akien Baker and Best Sportsmanship Award (BSA) winner Reese Atterbury. Encompass selected Kayden Marshall, Jonathon Bodden, Jayquan Pinet, Stephanie Menko, MIP Walker Riley and BSA Chloe Gaskill. Burger King featured Jackson MacKay, Aiden Powery, Cameron MacKay, Nicolai Christian, MIP Johann Taylor Jr, BSA Cameron Bulgin. KPMG highlighted LeAndre McKay, Damae Lee, Marcus Lagman, Louie Ch’ing, MIP Connor Bell and BSA Madison Chin.
CIBC-FCIB nominated Zachary DaCosta, Isaiah Whittaker, Rian Vivas, Lucio Cavallaro, MIP Jacob Kelly-Johnson and BSA Rio Windsor. Greenlight Re selected Brodey McComb, Neil McComb, Jadon Jimenez, Lucas Jimenez, MIP Johnathan Henny and BSA Andre Espeut.