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June 17, 2011 > Cubs sweep to WSLL title

Cubs sweep to WSLL title

Submitted By Kevin Sullivan

Warm Springs Little League's (WSLL) Minor Cubs capped the 2011 spring season by going undefeated through their end-of-season tournament and advancing to the District 14 Minor Invitational Tournament.

Having won the regular season title by five games, the Cubs (14-3-1) played their best baseball down the stretch, going undefeated the last third of the season and outscoring the opposition 79-19 to sweep to the championship title.

As the top seed, the Cubs advanced to the finals in thrilling fashion, with an extra-inning, 8-7 win over the upset-minded A's on Tuesday, June 7. Oliver Sullivan got the starting nod in the championship game on Saturday, June 11, a rematch with the A's. The stands were starting to fill up on both sides as Sullivan got off to a great start, striking out six of the first seven batters that he faced.

Cheers from the fans began to build as the Cubs moved out to a 4-0 lead at the end of the first inning, powered by a key two-out, two-run single from Sid Lakkimsetti. But the A's hung tough, countering with two runs in the top of the fourth to narrow the lead to 4-2. The Cubs responded in the bottom half of the inning with four runs to widen their lead, with two-out hits by Tejas Harith and Manan Kyada driving in the decisive runs.

Driven by a solid defense and timely hitting, the Cubs continued to stretch their lead en route to an 11-2 victory, with two-out hits in the fifth inning by Owen Schmitz, Braxton Carlson and Dylan Huey driving in the final runs.

Defense, pitching and a relentless Cubs' offense dominated the championship game; Sullivan lasted nearly four innings with eight strikeouts and allowed only two runs to set the stage for victory. Carlson came in for the final innings from the bullpen and pitched shutout ball; he was supported by strong defensive plays in the field by Fahim Zaman, Harith, Ian Andazola and Sullivan to seal the victory.

Unlike the semifinals game when he got the win, Huey, the Cubs' closer, would not be needed on this day. With season lows for pitches thrown and hits allowed, the Cubs put an end to the A's impressive run through the tournament.

The 2011 Minor Cubs championship season was characterized by team-based accomplishments from start to finish. The team had the league's stingiest defense and a high-powered offense that averaged over 10 runs per game, with 10 of the players scoring double digits in runs for the season. Led by veteran Garrett Zieske, the Cubs batted over .400 as a team with an on-base percentage of nearly .600. An impressive eight players overall (Sullivan, Zieske, Huey, Carlson, Zaman, Conner Cook, Joshua Kim and Schmitz) were selected to represent Warm Springs in the 9/10 District 14 All-Star Tournament.

Enabled by a supportive parent volunteer base, coaches Mike Zieske, Mark Schmitz and Sid Huey partnered with manager Kevin Sullivan to mold a talented and determined team that excelled on its way to the championship. Advancing to the District 14 Minor Invitational, the Cubs are scheduled to play Newark American in the first round of the tournament this Saturday, June 18, in hopes of continuing their run through this magical season.

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