Their strategy went as planned for the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth age 13 all-stars.
And by sticking to that approach, the squad won the recent District 6 baseball tournament with a 2-0 record, then captured the state-tourney crown with a 4-0 mark. Arlington defeated Vienna in both district games, 11-1 in the first, then 6-1 in the title contest.
“We had solid defense, deep good pitching and we will manufacture runs,” Arlington manager Chris Chiuchiolo said about the district games.
In the first contest, George Cocker, Jones Tallent and Samuel Braccia pitched. Michael Huff had two hits to lead the Arlington batters, who were walked 16 times. In the championship game, Charlie Rotz started and pitched two innings. He worked out of a bases-loaded situation with three straight outs, including two strikeouts.
Brooks Lawson threw the next two innings and Nolan Foerster pitched the final three frames, needing just 29 pitches. Clive Gay had a key RBI single. Aden Heinzer, Jack Riordan, Luca Feden, Michael Mastrangelo and Ryan DiVincenzo were other contributing players for Arlington.
Thor Koomey is the assistant coach.
In the state tournament in Mount Crawford, Arlington outscored opponents, 41-7 with one shutout. The team blanked host Augusta, 10-0, defeated Winchester, 8-1, routed another Augusta team 17-5, and topped Winchester again, 6-1, in the championship game, rallying from an early 1-0 deficit.
“We fell behind, the pressure was put on us and the players responded,” Chiuchiolo said.
Cocker was the starting and winning pitcher in the final. Huff, Tallent, Heinzer and Cocker all had key hits. Feden was a top hitter in all four games, and in Chiuchiolo’s mind, the most valuable player of the tourney, although he did not receive that award.
“He hit the ball all over the field, stole bases, pitched and did everything,” Chiuchiolo said.
In the 17-5 win, Arlington scored six runs in the first inning and 10 in the second.
“George pitched fantastic in two games and we played very impressive baseball at the state tournament,” Chiuchiolo said.
By virtue of winning the state tournament, Arlington will bypass the Southeast Region tournament and earn an automatic berth to the age 13s World Series. The berth is granted because Virginia is hosting the event, in Glen Allen near Richmond, starting Aug. 10.
When a state hosts a World Series, the state-tourney champion receives an automatic berth. Otherwise, Arlington needed to win the region competition to earn a series berth.
“The region tournament is in North Carolina and the World Series close by in Virginia. That works out pretty well for us,” Chiuchiolo said.
NOTE: Prior to the district tournament, Arlington finished 3-0 in a warmup tourney in Hershey, Pa. The championship game was rained out. Arlington won by scores of 9-3, 9-8 and 4-2. In the 4-2 win, Cocker started a game-ending double play by making a diving catch in center field.