By Brian Murphy
Special to Marinscope
What a week at Boyle Park.
The much-anticipated return of the traditional City Championship games was just the tonic the post-COVID town of Mill Valley was waiting for. Thrilling games, heroic performances and, of course, kids of all ages storming the fields to celebrate after the champions were crowned made for smiles and goosebumps all around.
All that, and All-Star hats, too!
To the action:
MAJORS CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
A’s 2, Red Sox 1
In a taut pitcher’s duel, the top-seed A’s capped an outstanding season with the championship, riding the arms of Sean Miller and Carson Farmer, who each hurled three innings. Farmer closed it out with a 1-2-3 6th inning, setting off a jubilant celebration — capped by Kool and the Gang’s familiar A’s victory tune of the same name out of the Boyle Park speakers.
The Red Sox countered with four strong innings from Jacob Razon, touched only by an RBI double by Anthony Murphy in the 1st inning and a go-ahead RBI double off the fence from Farmer in the fourth. From there, the A’s relied on tight defense and those right arms of Miller and Farmer, who only allowed a combined three hits and issued just one walk.
The Red Sox tied the game in the fourth when Lana Wihlborg raced home from third on a dropped third strike thrown down to first base. The return throw was on point, but Wihlborg’s hustle and toughness saw her slide past Murphy’s tag.
That set the stage for Farmer’s double to take the 2-1 lead, which ultimately proved the difference.
Lukas Welter pitched a spotless fifth for the Red Sox. Miller, Braydon Balinski and Wade Green each had hits for the A’s. Razon smacked a double for the Red Sox, as did Trey Sasso, part of a two-hit day for Sasso.
MAJORS BOYLE CUP CONSOLATION CHAMPIONSHIP
Yankees 1, Tigers 0
Henry Bennett pitched a complete game shutout to lead the Yankees to victory. Bennett kept the Tigers guessing with his off-speed pitches and was helped by the Yankee defense that played their best game of the season. Raymond Cao and Julian MacColl each made key catches in the outfield and Will Weir made a great play at second base to keep the Tigers from scoring. Charley Blumberg knocked in Lorcan Keane which turned out to be the winning run for the Yankees.
Tiger pitching was outstanding, as well: pitchers Evan Stoll and Asa Abedin held the Yankees to only two hits, Liam Garlick collected two hits for the Tigers.
MINORS CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
Tigers 5, Diamondbacks 4
High drama reigned in the Minors City Championship, as the Tigers plated three runs in the top of the sixth inning to complete a comeback and stun the Diamondbacks, and then handed the ball to Kevin Boswell to close it out in the bottom of the sixth for the one-run win and the title.
Trailing, 4-2, into the final inning, the Tigers got off to a promising start when Parker Shaffer drew a walk. Boswell came through with a hard ground ball double to right field, sending Shaffer to third base. With one out, Tianu Koss delivered the goods — a two run single to score Shaffer and Boswell, tying the game.
Then, with two outs, Bode Van Pelt hit a single to left field to score Koss with the go-ahead run, sending the Tigers dugout into a frenzy.
But Boswell still had to finish it on the mound, taking the ball after Koss hit his three-inning limit. After a strikeout, a ground ball back to the mound and another strikeout, the Tigers had the City Championship. Boswell was lifted up by a happy crowd of kids who stormed the field.
For the Tigers, who trailed 4-1, entering the fourth inning, Koss struck out five and walked only one in his three innings. Oliver Watkins went 2-for-2. For the Diamondbacks, Kevin Thacher went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and Ty Cerne had two hits. Thacher also struck out five and allowed only one run in three innings.
MINORS LA GINESTRA CUP CONSOLATION CHAMPIONSHIP
Pirates 10, Giants 2
Niki Welter had quite a day, smashing a two-run home run over the center field fence, then struck out nine and walked none in three shutout innings to lead the Pirates to the “La G” Cup. Welter took the ball to close it out after Nate Lee, Tenzin Mak and Liam Winn each hurled an inning for the Bucs.
At the plate, several Pirates had multi-hit games: Winn (3-for-3 including a double), Nolan Hansel (3-for-3 including two doubles and an RBI), William Palmer (3-for-3 including a double and 2 RBIs) and Declan Lam (2-for-3 including a triple and 4 RBIs).
Lee added an RBI single and Ciaran McDonnell hit a double down the LF line. Defensive highlights were provided by McDonnell and Sidney Hakanson in the outfield, and Cedra Crews at third base.
The Giants saw Adam Mortimer plate Oliver Churcher with an RBI single, and Logan Grant steal home for a run.
MINORS AAA CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
Grays 9, KC Monarchs 8 (7 innings)
In a thrilling Minors AAA championship that featured seven lead changes between the league’s top two seeds, the Grays emerged as City Champions when Davis Marshall singled home Brodie Williams in the bottom of the seventh to capture the trophy over the KC Monarchs, 9-8.
The game was forced into extra innings after a wild sixth inning that brought back Boyle Park magic and electricity, so welcome after a two-year respite. The Monarchs, down to their last out, saw Victoria Rice stroke a two-out, two-run single to give the Monarchs an 8-7 lead — only to see the Grays answer when Michael Kievman smashed a clutch RBI double in the bottom of the sixth to tie it up.
Heroes abounded in the memorable matchup: Marshall struck out seven in three innings, went 2-for-2 and shined at shortstop. Williams went 2-for-3 with two doubles and was a force on the basepaths. Graz Cerchiai went 2-for-2 with two RBIs. The Monarchs answered with standouts of their own: Rory Murphy struck out seven in three innings, and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Jacob DiPippa had two hits and two RBIs and snuffed a rally with a sterling dig of a one-hopper at shortstop. Chance Donahue hit a double to the wall, and of course, Rice came through with the hit that lit up Boyle to keep the Monarchs alive.
The Grays finished the season 13-2, and the KC Monarchs wound up 12-3.
MINORS AAA SWIRL CUP CONSOLATION CHAMPIONSHIP
Royals 7, Cubs 7 (tie)
ALL STAR HAT RECIPIENTS
Mill Valley LL will field five All-Star teams, including a 50/70 13U team for the first time in years. The 9s and 13s get started this Wednesday, June 16; the 9s vs San Rafael at Glenwood Field at 530 pm, the 13s vs Novato North at Alto Field at 530 pm. Both play again Friday, June 18; the 9s vs Novato South at Hamann Field in Novato at 530 pm; the 13s also vs Novato South at 530 pm at Alto. The 9s wrap up the week on Sunday, June 20 vs Tiburon at Strawberry Field at 530 pm.
The 10s, 11s and 12s begin District 3 pool play on June 26.
Below are the All-Star Hat Recipients for each level:
Roberto Santo Domingo
Boden Van Pelt