The 2019 Pinto Championship featured a match-up between the Giants and the Nationals on May 24 at Witter softball field. It was a high scoring affair, with both teams getting contributions throughout the line-up. The Giants beat the Nationals, 19-12, but the game was not one sided. Both teams were hitting the whole game, with many singles and doubles and even some triples.
In the top of the first inning, the Nationals showed the great defense that led them to the championship game. With the Giants’ big hitters coming to bat, the Nationals’ third baseman Levi Arbit caught a pop fly, and followed that up by catching a hard line drive.
Riding high after the defensive stop, the Nationals came out swinging in their half of the first inning. Cyrus Emanuelson and Abe Mandel each singled. Aidan Stewart hit an RBI double all the way out to the fence in center field. The Nationals’ Demetri Adams hit a hard grounder to Giants’ second baseman Benjamin Kappes, who tried to get Mandel out at third base, but Mandel was safe. At the end of the first inning, the Nationals had built a 3-0 lead.
The second inning was highlighted by three big grounders and great fielding. The Giants’ Jack Dahling led off with a smash down the third base line for a double. Archie Cooper hit a hard grounder to first baseman Cyrus Emanuelson, who made an amazing play to get the out. Ben Kappes followed up with a ground out to the Pitcher’s Assistant to drive in the Giants’ first run.
In the bottom of the second, the Giants showed the great defense they played all year. Ben Sorenson and Zach Cha-Foster each made nice plays to keep the Nationals from adding to their lead. The teams headed to the third inning with the Nationals up 3-1.
The Giants came out swinging in the 3rd. Charlie Parker led off with a double down the third base line. Liam McGilloway drove Parker in with a single to left field. Carson Mueller, Zach Cha-Foster, and Liam Temple each singled to continue the rally. Ben Sorenson capped it off with a triple all the way to the fence to drive in three runs.
With the Giants putting up five runs in the top of the third, the Nationals knew they needed to answer the Giants’ big inning. And the Nationals did just that, scoring five runs on big hits by Cyrus Emanuelson and Levi Upton. At the end of the third inning, the Nationals had retaken the lead, 8-6.
In the top of the 4th, the Giants’ Archie Cooper crushed the ball to left field for what looked to be a sure triple. But the Nationals’ Cyrus Emanuelson robbed Archie by sprinting across the outfield, Kelly Leak style, to make the catch. Giants’ Coach Mark Foster called this one of the most spectacular Pinto plays he has ever seen. Despite that great play, the Giants were able to score three more runs on singles by Peter Zee, Connor Paige, Charlie Parker, and Carson Mueller.
In the bottom of the 4th, the Giants kept the Nationals from scoring with nice defensive plays by Jack Dahling, Ben Kappes and Zach Cha-Foster. After four innings, the Giants had taken the lead, 9-8.
In the top of the 5th, the Giants put a ton of pressure on the Nationals’ defense by hitting the ball hard. After an early strike out, Ben Sorenson and Jack Dahling each doubled into the outfield. Archie Cooper singled to drive in a run. Benjamin Kappes then hit a big triple all the way to the fence in left field. Peter Zee and Connor Paige hit singles to drive in the third and fourth runs of the inning. The Nationals turned a double-play to end the onslaught. Cyrus Emanuelson got the out at first, and then tagged the Giants Peter Zee when he tried to score from third. Despite the spectacular defensive play, the Giants had stretched their lead to 13-8.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Nationals loaded the bases with three singles. With two outs and his team in desperate need of runs, the Nationals’ Matan Karpel delivered a bases-clearing triple down the right field line. With that big inning, the Nationals had closed the gap to 13-12.
In the sixth and final inning, the Giants Liam McGilloway led off with a bomb to the fence in left that looked like a triple. But the Nationals executed some great relays to hold him to a double. The Giants then got singles from Carson Mueller, Ben Sorenson, Zach Cha-Foster, and another double from Jack Dahling. When the dust settled, the Giants had put up another six runs to take a 19-12 lead.
In what had been a game where every inning featured singles, doubles and triples, the bottom of the 6th provided a sound reminder that solid defense wins in baseball. The Giants’ Ben Kappes made a nice play from shortstop to get the lead-off batter out. Ben Sorenson did the same from second base for the second out, and Zach Cha-Foster secured the Giants’ championship by fielding a hard grounder at first.
In summarizing the season for his team, Giants’ coach Mark Foster also seemed to summarize this championship game for both teams: “Everybody contributed to this team. It was not about any single player or group of players. Every single one made a big contribution.”
Congratulations to the Nationals and Giants on wonderful 2019 seasons!
Photos by Julie Moll