By Erika Toman
Falls Church Kiwanis Little League’s regular season came to an exciting end on Saturday evening, epitomizing the best of Little League baseball. The Hammerheads (coached by Nick Toman, sponsored by Chandler Heating & Plumbing) clawed back victory from a 4-0 first inning deficit against the Red Robbers (coached by Joe Greiner, sponsored by The Mount Rushmores) to clinch the post season tournament win.
The Robbers took an immediate lead on second baseman Hayes Vaughan’s hard-hit RBI single to left field. Power hitting right fielder Calvin McEwan also singled allowing three runs to score. The Hammerheads answered, bringing in Bronson Rogers, who immediately recorded two outs to end the rally. Rogers went on to pitch four and one third shutout innings, yielding only two hits and notching five strikeouts.
The Hammerheads answered in the bottom of the frame when first baseman Landon Tucker continued his recent hot streak with a single to center field, driving in Luca Pipia and Will Wood. In the bottom of the fourth, the Hammerhead’s center fielder Casey Waldron put a ball in play, driving in Tucker, making the game 4-3. In the sixth, Hammerhead outfielder Hugo Collins drew a key walk. Shortstop Luca Pipia then doubled to deep center field, allowing Collins to tie the game. The Hammerheads proceeded to load the bases, but the tough Robbers’ defense forced the game into extra innings.
The Hammerheads were able to claim victory in the bottom of the eight in dramatic fashion. Collins drew another key walk, and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from outfielder Ben Bolin. Catcher Evan Toman walked it off with a blast to deep left field, allowing Collins to score the game winning run.
Key contributors for the Red Robbers included Teddy Greiner, who pitched five innings, giving up only two hits. Aiden Ortiz pitched three and one-third innings, giving up only three hits. Greiner, Ortiz, Vaughan, McEwan, Jonah Malloy and Otto Litton contributed with hits. For the Hammerheads, Luca Pipia appeared in relief allowing only one hit, helping secure the victory. This game is the last regular season game coached by Joe Greiner in his illustrious Little League career spanning 12 years, 30 teams coached, five time All Star manager and multiple board positions held, including four years as League President.
In the FCKLL Minors Division, Team Richards (sponsored by Patient First) won the A-Level tournament, Team Thompson (sponsored by Local Thrift: Falls Church) won the AA-Level Tournament, and Team Alderson (sponsored by NDI Homes) won the AAA-Level tournament. The Richard Marsh Award went to Vince Kidder. The Bill Rose Sportsmanship Award went to Max Caddy in the Minors Division, and Gilbert Cronin in the Majors Division. The Brandon Milhorn MVP Award in Major’s went to Jack Mullin. The following coaches were recognized with the Double Goal Coaching Award: Adam Roy (Tee Rookie), Ben Salisbury (Tee Slugger), Kime Brittain (A), Jay Owen (AA), Alex Kuczkowski (AAA) and Joe Greiner (Majors). The following coaches were recognized as the Team Manager of the year: Casie Disantis (Tee Rookie), Mike Sawyer (Tee Slugger), Anthony Shetter (A), Drew Thompson (AA), Adam Alderson (AAA), Nick Toman (Majors), Amanda Springmann (Challengers) and Brian Dewhurst (Intermediate).
FCKLL All-Stars Tournament play starts the weekend of June 17.