Liberty walks off with Waldo County crownAfter losing first game in best-of-three series, Liberty rallies to title
Frankfort — In a best-of-three series, it only seems fitting that all three games are played with both teams putting it all on the line in hopes of claiming a league championship.
Not only did that play out June 23 in the Waldo County Little League baseball championship between host Liberty and Frankfort, but it played out in dramatic fashion with a walk-off win in the bottom of the final frame in the third and decisive contest.
Liberty rallied to tie the score midway through the contest and prevailed on an RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth inning to claim a 4-3 victory, winning the series two games to one and claiming the Waldo County Little League championship.
Team members for Liberty include Derrick Tyler, Riley Boulay, Garrett Butler, Emmett Shell, Luke Davis, Alex Cleaves, Dylan Drinkwater, Nathaniel Fuller, Jamal Douront, Alex Fountain, Sage Horton and Jack Valleau. The team is managed by Danny Fuller and coached by Luke Boulay and Jim Butler.
Team members for Frankfort include Kergan Perkins, Coley Frey, Eric Gower, Alex Runci, Ben Powell, Charlie Speigel, Levi Wortzo, Colby Moore, Damon Sauer, Devin Sauer and Dacian Roberts.
Leading Liberty's offense in the finale were Derrick Tyler (2 singles, 2 runs), Garrett Butler (single, RBI), Alex Cleaves (single, run), Jamal Dourant (single), Riley Boulay (single) and Emmett Shell (run).
Leading Frankfort at the plate were Ben Powell (home run, single, 3 RBIs, run), Kergan Perkins (single, run), Kolby Moore (single) and Alex Runci (run).
Butler pitched three innings for Liberty, allowing four hits and five walks, with three strikeouts. Boulay worked the final three frames, allowing no hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.
Powell went the distance for Frankfort, scattering six hits and no walks, with 10 strikeouts.
Frankfort won the first game of the series 14-4 June 19 at Liberty, while Liberty rebounded to knot the series with a 7-4 decision at Frankfort June 21, which set up Saturday's finale.
The championship game was knotted 3-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, when Tyler, Boulay and Butler all singled, with Butler's base hit scoring Tyler to clinch the league title.
Frankfort took the early 1-0 lead when Perkins singled and later came scored on an RBI-single by Powell, but Liberty tied the score when Tyler singled and came around to score on a series of passed balls.
Powell put the visitors up 3-1 when he cleared the fence with a two-run home run in the third inning, but Liberty chipped away and cut its deficit to 3-2 when Cleaves and Dourant rapped back-to-back singles, with the former coming in to score on an overthrow at third base.
The hosts drew even in the bottom of the fourth stanza when Shell was hit by a pitch, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and score on a delayed steal of home plate.
Amazingly, the newly-crowned league champions nearly could not field a team this season, with only eight players at the first tryouts and 12 players needed.
In game two June 21 at Frankfort, Liberty took an early lead and withstood a Frankfort rally to force the third and decisive game with a 7-4 victory over Frankfort.
Leading Liberty at the plate Thursday were Derrick Tyler (single), Emmett Shell (double, 3 singles), Luke Davis (single), Nathaniel Fuller (single) and Jamal Douront (single).
For Frankfort, Kergan Perkins (double), Eric Gower (single), Alex Runci (single), Ben Powell (double, single) and Charlie Speigel (double) paced the offense.
Riley Boulay and Shell pitched for Liberty, allowing a combined six hits and one walk, with 16 strikeouts. Levi Wortzo and Perkins pitched for Frankfort, scattering eight hits and five walks, with 10 strikeouts.
Liberty jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Garrett Butler reached on an error before Shell singled and took second on an error, to put both runners in scoring position. Both players later came in on a wild pitch to give the visitors the lead.
Frankfort did not waste time in the bottom of the frame as Perkins rapped the first pitch her saw for a double and Gower later reached on a dropped third strike, to put runners at the corners. Runci plated Perkins with an RBI-single, while Gower and Runci later came in on an error, to give the hosts a 3-2 lead.
Powell added to Frankfort's lead in the third inning with an RBI-double, but Liberty then went on to score five unanswered runs and got superb pitching down the stretch to lead it to victory.
In the fourth inning, Shell plated Boulay with an RBI-single followed by a two-run single by Davis, to give the visitors a 5-4 lead. Davis later scored to put Liberty up by two runs, while Tyler crossed the plate with an insurance run in the top of the sixth to give the visitors a three-run cushion.
Boulay was lifted in favor of Shell in the second inning. Shell, who tossed a perfect game with 18 strikeouts in the Western Division championship June 16, surrendered four hits, but was dealing for much of the game, striking out 13 batters, including striking out the side in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
In game one June 19 at Liberty, Frankfort scored eight unanswered runs in the top of the sixth inning and pick up the first win of the championship series.
Eric Gower (4 singles), Ben Powell (double, triple), Spiegel (4 singles) and Cole Frey (2 singles) led Frankfort, while Shell (home run, single), Derrick Tyler (2 singles), Riley Boulay (double) and Alex Cleaves (single) keyed Liberty.
Garrett Butler, Luke Davis and Tyler all pitched for Liberty, allowing 15 hits and four walks, with seven strikeouts. Alex Runci and Ben Powell pitched for Frankfort, allowing six hits and two walks, with 10 strikeouts.
Frankfort jumped to a 4-0 lead with three runs in the top of the second inning and another in the third, while Liberty rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the third.
Jack Vallou walked and Tyler singled, while Boulay doubled in Vallou to put the hosts on the board. Butler then plated Tyler with a fielder's choice and Shell blasted a two-run homer to left field to the game.
Frankfort added one run each in the fourth and fifth innings and exploded for eight runs in the top of the sixth to pull away.
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