Cardinals win Major League championshipBy Canton Citizen
The Canton Little League Cardinals finished off an outstanding 13-2 regular season with an undefeated playoff run to capture the Major League championship. The key to the team’s success all year was solid defense, consistent pitching, and balanced contributions at the plate from the entire lineup.
Bolstered by the leadership of third-year players Kyle Burke and Tommy DeLello, the Cardinals developed into a championship-caliber team. The squad was anchored by Burke’s superlative shortstop play and powerful bat. Team ace Jake Verille and fellow lefty Jake Connolly led a strong pitching staff that consistently threw strikes.
Behind the plate, Jack Goyetch and Ryan Nolte made up one of the strongest catching duos in the league. The two lefties controlled the pitchers and limited base runners all season while also serving as consistent run producers at the plate. DeLello, the Cardinals’ No. 3 hitter, had a steady bat and his sure glove at first allowed for the team defense to remain strong.
Charlie Malloy, Steven Brady, Charlie “Okie” O’Connor, Avery Minkin, and Michael Panico were a versatile group in both the infield and outfield as well as at the plate. Malloy’s play at second base truly shined during the playoffs.
Verille, Brady, Minkin, Connolly, and O’Connor all supplied strong, reliable bats, creating a lineup with no holes. Particularly in the playoffs, their bats led the charge. Panico’s game-winning double in the semifinal game is a memory they will not soon forget.
Rounding out the squad was Johnny Hagan, the only 10 year old on the team, who played like a seasoned veteran throughout the regular season and playoffs. Hagan established himself as a strike-throwing set-up man, strong-armed infielder, and middle-of-the-order bat.
Each of the boys made significant contributions to the team’s success throughout the season. The Cardinals finished the championship season with a come-from-behind win, with the entire team characteristically contributing at the plate and in the field. The coaches could not be more proud of the way the boys developed as ball players and grew as young men throughout the year. Congratulations to the Cardinals on a great season!
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