By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
Moapa Valley’s local little league season has come to a close as the championship tournament took place over the course of the last few weeks. The final series coming just last Tuesday and Wednesday.
The tournament came down to two teams: the Royals, the second seed in the bracket with just two losses all season; and the Yankees, led by manager Brandon Leavitt, whose team looked to take down a tough opponent. In order to do so (because of double elimination rules), they would have to defeat the Royals twice.
The first game came on Tuesday and was a defensive battle throughout much of the early innings, despite a leadoff home run by Braden Leavitt in the first inning for the Royals. It would be tied at 1-1 going into the second and would stay that way all the way until the fourth.
It was then when the Royals strung together three hits in a row. This, accompanied with a few free bases, scored the Royals four runs and the lead, 5-1, going into the fifth.
The Yankees weren’t ready to go home quite yet, rallying in the fifth and sixth to tie the game before the game’s finish.
Led by Landon Wrzesinski, Tyson Redd, Parker Leavitt, and Ethan Witter, the Yankees forced extra innings and pulled off the win in extra time to give themselves a second game.
A day later, the two sides would face off in a win or go home situation.
This time around, the Royals’ pitcher Braden Leavitt stepped to the mound and made his presence felt. The Yankees were held scoreless until the closing moments of the game.
The Royals would comfortably take home the trophy after a 12-2 win. Leavitt would also throw six strikeouts in his impressive winning performance.
As for the Royals, while the trophy is where focus is directed, it is just the tip of the iceberg. A core group of Aidan Johnson, Trenton Wadsworth, Braden Leavitt, Chandler Evans, and Davis Kohntopp that had been with the team for three years sought out their first championship as a team in this final season.
Their manager, Preston Wadsworth said, “We had several players coming back that have been around and some new kids who were young and a bit unseasoned; but by the end of the year every kid was doing their part. It was a great end to a long journey.”
Other players on the team that played a key part in getting the team to the top included Marcus Leavitt, Caleb Anderson, Jakob Fullman, Rion Zerkle, Josh Lacy, and Jaxxson Bunker.
A dominant pitching rotation and a balanced hitting attack drove the Royals this season. Leading the bullpen on the mound would be Braden Leavitt, whose performance in the second game of the championship series helped seal the deal for his team. “The boys played hard and Braden Leavitt was phenomenal. They couldn’t hit him,” his manager said.
Having to play the second game after a hard fought loss in extra innings was one last obstacle the Royals had to overcome, and Wadsworth was pleased with how his team handled it. To him, it was all about playing loose.
“They persevered,” he said. “It was hard to comeback for that second game. There was so much pressure in the first game; but as we were warming up for the second game I told the kids to just have fun and we ended up getting a win.”
It was a thrilling end to an exciting little league season. Preston Wadsworth and his Royals finish the year in triumphant fashion.
The winning manager said of his team’s season, “We win as a team and lose as a team. Everyone did their part. I’m proud of these boys.”