GLASGOW – Three runs in the top of the first inning proved to be enough for Naamans Little League, which got a standout pitching performance from Josh Stiebel in an 8-0 win over Brandywine on July 17 at Canal Little League. With the win, Naamans clinched the state District 2 Majors championship and a trip to the state tournament, which begins later this month in Seaford.
Naamans wasted no time going to work against Brandywine starter Jayson Gniewoz. Matt Robinette doubled to right-center, and after Max Fox was hit by a pitch and Joe Ricciardi walked, the bases were loaded with no outs. Gniewocz rebounded with consecutive strikeouts, but Isaac Aulick smoked a two-run double to the center field fence. Ricciardi stopped after rounding third, but he scored after getting caught in a rundown.
Gniewocz retired the next eight batters he faced, five by strikeout, before Fox singled with one out in the fourth. He scored on an error later in the inning, and Ricciardi, who also singled, came home on a bases-loaded walk to Vinny Alfieri. Naamans added three runs in the final two innings off reliever Liam Mitchell.
Stiebel, meanwhile, looked for much of the evening as if he might repeat his outing against Brandywine in the teams’ previous meeting last week, when he tossed a no-hitter. He retired the first 12 batters he faced, and he helped his own cause with three assists, including one on a comebacker off the bat of Bryce Avent to lead off the third.
Cal Steinour picked up Brandywine’s first hit, smacking a grounder to right field. The next hitter, Tyler Overly, hit a ground ball up the middle, but Naamans shortstop Jude Sawyer made a diving stop and got the lead runner. That came in handy when Gniewocz singled to left, putting runners at first and second. Stiebel worked out of trouble to keep the shutout intact.
Ryan Coleman singled to open the sixth and final inning, but two groundouts and a caught stealing brought the game to an end.
For Naamans, Fox, Ricciardi, Aulick and Alfieri all reached base three times. Fox and Ricciardi each scored three times, and Aulick drove in three runs. Stiebel allowed three singles and struck out five. Naamans is still without an error in four all-star games.
Gniewocz allowed five runs on four hits, and he struck out eight.
The state tournament, which will determine which district advances to the Northeast Regional, is set for July 25-29 at Nanticoke Little League in Seaford. Check the 302 Sports schedule to see when we will be streaming.
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