Lee Chevrolet captures Minor League Championship

Published 11:22 am Wednesday, June 4, 2014




For The Washington Daily News


The odds were not in its favor, but Lee Chevrolet toppled CIS in back-to-back games to capture the Washington Cal Ripken Minor League Championship.

CIS had defeated Lee Chevy in all three of their meetings prior to Tuesday with each one being a close contest. Lee Chevy, however, won the first game 16-11 and the second game 12-4 on Tuesday to take the Washington Cal Ripken Minor League Championship.

“The two times we played CIS in the regular season, we lost in the last inning, both times, on heartbreaker plays,” said coach Chip Edwards. “They’d steal home or get a hit or something like that, so it was really close all season. We played them close every time and when we lost earlier in the tournament in the winner’s bracket, it was to CIS.”

Lee Chevy won on the biggest stage, though. Thanks to consecutive hits from Connor Edwards and Tyler Oehrli, as well as some aggressive base running, Lee Chevy got in scoring position quickly. Emiliano Hernandez opened the scoring by plating Edwards with a base hit. Zach Edgerton followed with an infield single to set the stage for Oerhrli and Edgerton to give their team a quick 3-0 lead.

CIS responded forcefully in the bottom of the inning when Adrikist Floyd led off with a triple. He’d later score on a wild pitch to cut into the three-run deficit. CIS took control when Aven Harris stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and knocked a ball that, partly due to some overthrown balls in the infield, allowed all four players to score, giving CIS a 5-3 lead.

With that, Lee Chevy had allowed five runs without recording an out. That prompted a pitching change to Conner Flowers, who quickly shut down CIS by fanning the next three batters he faced.

“What it did was it kind of calmed our kids down,” explained Edwards. “We have a number of kids on our team that get highly emotional in this game. They’re very passionate about it…sometimes you make a momentum change like that. (Starting pitcher) Evan (Waters) throws harder and Connor throws softer…it sometimes throws the timing off for the other team.”

That calm demeanor allowed Lee Chevy to keep adding on runs while the defense kept CIS at bay. By the top of the fifth, Lee Chevy took a 16-5 lead. CIS rallied and scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth before the game reached its two-hour time limit, but Lee Chevy hung on.

Lee Chevy’s pitching continued to provide the team with the support it needed to maintain that calm attitude throughout the second game. Oehrli pitched a complete six innings and only allowed four runs. In that span, he struck out 13 CIS batters.

“Tyler is a 10-year-old all-star,” said Edwards. “He has been a star on the mound all year long. He just started hitting the ball really well the past five games, but he has been a star on the mound all year long. He’s got an unusual delivery that makes the ball move sideways, which is fantastic at this age. He is so consistent and he keeps the same demeanor and approach to every inning.”

In the meantime, Lee Chevy’s offense kept up the production it would need to win. An eight-run first inning proved to be more than deciding as CIS only scored four runs. Lee Chevy would tack on another four runs to claim the title with a 12-4 victory.

“The real production came from the kids swinging the bats,” said Edwards. “That’s the point of this age division at nine and 10. We’re not teaching kids to learn how to walk or take pitches. We’re teaching them to hit. That’s what our boys did. They hit and it finally turned around for them to where they could put some runs on the board.”