The Marlins of the FYBL AAA league capped off an outstanding season Saturday night by defeating the Athletics in a hard fought 8-7 game on Grouten Field at the River Glen Little League complex in Farmington.
The team finished the regular season as the #1 seed, with a 10-2-1 record, but knew that they were going to need to play their best baseball to keep winning because of the strength of their opponents and the target that was put on their back. Fortunately for their coaches and fans, the team did more than could have been asked for in their three-game playoff run.
In the first round the team cruised to a 13-0 victory over the Rockies, jump-started by a three-run home run by Kyla Gallagher that put the team up 4-0 after the first inning. After that, the Marlins hitting shoes were on, as eight different players combined for 11 total hits on the afternoon, including big hits by Tony Seholm, Frank Dolce, Tiago Frazao, and a three-hit performance from Aidan Rostkowski. Jameson Canny and Jameson Lynch both worked hard at the plate and in the field, while Brenden Wahl continued his hot hitting with two hits, while leading the team from behind the plate.
The Royals gave the team a much tougher game in the semifinal, as it took huge pitching performances by Brendan Kelly and Kyla Gallagher to shut down the strong Royals offense in a 7-2 game. Caden Gallagher set the tone for the team, hustling home and beating out a ground ball at the plate hit by Rostkowski. Despite that, the Marlin's bats didn't seem to come alive until the fifth inning, when they were able to put the game away when a lead-off double by Maddox Malario led to a game-winning hit by Kyla.
No game, though, came tougher than Saturday night's championship against an excellent Athletics team, who came into the playoffs as the #7 seed, but had transformed into a team playing better baseball than anyone. Kelly got the ball on the mound for the Marlins and helped the team out to a 3-1 lead in the third inning, while Caden Gallagher, continued his gold-glove caliber defense at short-stop, making multiple great plays to help his pitchers out.
Down 5-3 in the fourth inning, the Marlins got a huge hit from Kaden Maccarone down the right field line, driving in two runs to tie up the game. Owen “O-Dog” Wahl, also made a huge play in Right Field, ranging to his left to keep a hard-hit ball in front of him and hold the batter to a single. The Marlins took an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the fifth, on an RBI ground-out by Rostkowski, and Caden Gallagher shut the door, pitching 1 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball to get the save, striking out five of the six batters he faced.
The Marlins, who finished the season with a 13-2-1 record, were managed by Michael Malario, who was assisted by Brian Gallagher and John Kelly.