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Mets force 'if' game with Braves
by Kayla Dubchansky
Jun 28, 2009 | 691 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Sparks Babe Ruth Championship games for the prep and main divisions were not what many local fans were hoping for at Golden Eagle Regional Park on Saturday night.

Both games were set to kickoff at 6 p.m., but only one did. The umpires did not show up for the prep game. The game was canceled and rescheduled for Monday night at 5:30 p.m.

The 14-15-year-olds in the main division game was a go, and go it did. The Mets and Braves faced off and the Braves took an early 1-0 lead over the Mets in the top of the first. Leadoff batter Brett Chaney hit a double and advanced on a bunt by Taylor McBroom. Trevor Houston hit just to the right of second base that wasn't wrangled by the Mets defense, allowing Chaney to score for the Braves.

Then it was the Mets' turn. Dennis Bartee led of with a triple and scored on a Tyler Starley single. Starley advanced on a double by Dennis Morelli and scored on a single by Brandon Herzbrun. Morelli scored on an RBI single by Colin Clarke to push the lead to 3-1.

"The Mets are on a roll," Braves coach Don Nowaczewski said. "They just put it to us tonight. They have one more game to try and get through us and we'll see what they can do Monday."

The bases loaded up on a single by DJ McNeil and the Braves had to make a pitching change, showing no outs on the board, and trailing 3-1. Trevor Hustad replaced Colin Gamboa on the mound for the Braves.

Brandon Harris was hit by a pitch to send in Herzbrun for another score. Clarke scored on a passed ball, closing out the first inning scoring for the Mets, leading 5-1.

"On the defensive side, it was very important for the kids to make the plays," Mets coach Elisha Zayas said. "Most importantly, my approach with the kids offensively was that they had to think mentally on their approach to the plate.

"Every time they came up to bat I wanted them to not take an emphasis on what pitches were thrown as much as make contact."

The score held until the bottom of the third. Harris singled for the Mets and scored on a Bartee double for a 6-1 edge.

The Braves rallied to cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth. Mark Nowaczewski singled and reached third on a double by Gamboa. Both scored to pull within three, 6-3.

"I think we were a little off," Nowaczewski said. "It's hot. I've got a couple guys that are playing Reed summer ball. They had a doubleheader this morning, so I'm sure they were beat."

That was as good as it would get for the Braves.

The Mets scored three in the bottom of that frame to give themselves a commanding lead. Morelli tripled and scored on an attempted throw to home. Herzbrun reached first and scored on a single by McNeil. McNeil pushed the lead to 9-3 on a JJ Delligatti single.

They weren't done yet.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Braves walked Bartee and Starley back to back. Morelli singled, plating Bartee. Starley scored on a Herzbrun single. Morelli reached on a bases loaded walk to McNeil, extending the lead to 12-3. Harris singled, sending Herzbrun home, clinching the game with a 10-run lead after five innings.

The tournament was double elimination and the Braves were undefeated. The squads will play again Monday at 5:30 p.m. to decide the championship.

The shortened game can certainly help the Mets on Monday.

"It's incredible," Zayas said. "Because we had a shortened game, that gives me much more pitching...on top of that, I have more bats."

The Mets have won 12 of their last 13 games.

You can see the Mets and Braves square off again at 5:30 Monday at Golden Eagle in the Main division, as well as the Red Sox and Giants in the Prep division.

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