HARRISONBURG – The Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League won its second straight Mid-Atlantic Classic with a 6-3 victory over the Valley Baseball League Monday night at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Ripken League scored two runs in the first, three in the sixth and one in the ninth to run its record to 2-0 in the two-year series between the two summer leagues.
The Ripken All-Stars won 2-1 in the inaugural 2009 contest while the 2010 game was rained out.
With the scored tied 2-2 Monday after the VBL scored twice in the fifth, the Ripken League scored three runs on five hits in the sixth to take a lead it would not relinquish. Pinch hitter Andrew Parker (Orioles/Towson) had the big blow in the frame with a two-run double to left center.
Parker’s hit, which also garnered him Ripken MVP honors, put the game out of reach as the Valley was held to just three hits by nine Ripken pitchers. Those nine pitchers struck out 10 VBL players, including the final hitter of the contest.
Winchester’s Greg Welsh (Penn State), who pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, was the VBL MVP.
The Ripken League scored the initial two runs in the top of the first thanks to a passed ball, two throwing errors and an extra base hit.
Sean Godfrey (Nationals/Ball State) became the first batter to reach base as Valley starting catcher Igor Molina (Strasburg/Charleston) could not handle a strike three fastball from pitcher Andrew Armstrong (Luray/Ohio State) and then threw the ball into right field in an effort to cut Godfrey down at first.
Following a groundout and a walk, Armstrong threw the ball away at first on a pickoff attempt, allowing Godfrey to trot home with the game’s first run.
The error became irrelevant however, as Mike Mandarino (Nationals/Cumberland) laced a double into the left-center gap to score Bill Gerstenslager (T-Bolts/Mercyhurst) all the way from first.
In the fifth, the VBL parlayed two walks, a double and a sacrifice fly into a pair of runs.
New Market’s Stephen Oswald (George Washington) had the double, driving a fastball into the rightfield gap to score Winchester’s Gibby Briones (Campbellsville) from second. Nick Hladek (Covington/Butler), who replaced Molina behind the plate to start the fourth, advanced to third on the Oswald double and scored on a Tanner Leighton (Woodstock/Masters) sacrifice fly to left.
Joey Cujas (River Dogs/VCU) had two hits for the Ripken League, while KJ Hockaday (Orioles/Maryland) and Chris Ayers (Orioles/VCU) drove in a run each.
Austin Poretz (Nationals/Undecided) was the winning pitcher – he allowed two runs on two hits and two walks. Jake Boyd (Luray/Stetson) took the loss after giving up three runs on five hits in 2/3 of an inning.