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Lancaster A's win HLBB championship.

Byline: Bill Marsh

LANCASTER - Three times was the charm for the Lancaster Athletics.

The A's defeated the Berlin Braves, 8-3, to win the Harvard, Lancaster, Berlin and Bolton (HLBB) Little League Majors Division championship last Saturday afternoon at Thayer Field.

The A's, who had lost in the finals the past two years, were the top seed in the double-elimination tournament, finishing the season with an 11-1 record.

The Braves were the tournament's third seed with an 8-4 mark.

The A's, who went undefeated in the HLBB tournament, got a strong pitching performance from game winner Tony Kennon in a relief appearance.

Alex Jacobs started for the A's and went one inning, before giving way to Kennon, who held the Braves to just one run and four hits in his five innings of work.

Berlin drew first blood, scoring a pair of runs in its initial time at bat.

With one out, the Braves' Jonathan Matthew reached first on an error. He went to second on a passed ball and scored on Holden Lutz's RBI single. Lutz came home on a passed ball.

Lancaster answered with four runs in the home half of the first to take a 4-2 lead.

After Tyler Hunt opened the frame with a walk, Kennon followed with a single. Alex Jacobs then ripped a bases-clearing, two-RBI double.

Jacobs made it to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ben Glover. The inning continued with two outs when Ethan Hill was hit by a pitch and then stole second. Hill scored on a single by Matt Morrison.

Trailing 4-2, the Braves scored a solo run in the top of the third on a walk to Ryan Grady, a wild pitch, a passed ball and a single to right field by Ben Gugliemino.

The A's tied it a 4 with two runs in the bottom of the third frame.

Glover got things started with a single to left field. Cooper Sarafin then blasted a booming RBI triple, and Hill plated Sarafin with an infield hit.

Lancaster added two more runs in the fourth to take an 8-3 lead. With one out, Kennon tripled to the fence in left field. Jacobs followed with an RBI double to left. He then proceeded to steal both third and home.

The Braves threatened in the fifth with singles by Grady, Matthew and Gugliemino, and a walk to Lutz, but base running mistakes took them out of a potential big inning, and they were unable to push a run across.

Kennon, Jacobs, and Morrison led the A's with two hits each, while Gugliemino had two hits for the Braves.

Defensively, Lancaster's Ben Glover made all the plays at third base, while third baseman Gugliemino wore the gold glove for Berlin.

"This is the third try that I've been involved with the A's that we've made it to the championship game," Lancaster manager Joe Sousa said. "I think, last year, we actually ran out of pitching and I think that's why we lost, but this year we spread the pitching out a little differently.

"Tony Kennon has been amazing all year long and definitely one of the foundations of our pitching staff," he said. "Our hitting started to pick up when the tournament started."

According to manager Matt Grady, it has been six years since a Berlin team has reached the HLBB finals.

"We're real proud of the boys and they worked real hard," Matt Grady said. "We are a small town and to compete against Lancaster in the final game is great."

ART: PHOTO

PHOTOG: Item photo/BILL MARSH

CUTLINE: The members of the HLBB champion Lancaster A's are (kneeling, from left) Jeremy Holden, Ethan Hill, Tony Kennon, Alex Jacobs and Robert Ryan; (standing, from left) Christopher Sullivan, Matthew Morrison, Zack Sousa, Cooper Sarafin, Tyler Hunt, Shane Regonini, Ben Glover and Chris Benschneider; and (back, from left) coaches John Sarafin, Rob Hunt and Joe Sousa.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jun 24, 2011
Words:657
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