The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

May 28, 2013

Park takes ‘tough road’ to title

Clutch hitting highlights A’s championship effort

BECKLEY — It all came together for Park Middle School, at just the right time.

The A’s 7-5 win over the Summersville Yankees in the Upper Deck Middle School Baseball League championship — their second title in the program’s four seasons — capped off a 3-0 tournament run that saw Park go in as the No. 5 seed.

Led by the hitting of the likes of Antonio Leopardi and Michael Maiolo — not to mention clutch power by a few unlikely sources — Park finished a 12-5 season as champion.

“It was a tough road,” coach Tony Maiolo said, “but we had fun.”

The title run came down to the A’s getting production from everyone, in various ways.

There was big-time pitching from Maiolo, who had 13 strikeouts in Park’s first tournament win over the Independence Indians, and by Brandon Williams a game later in the semifinals against the Shady Spring Tigers.

Isaiah Francis — better known for his basketball acumen but showing he’s no slouch on the diamond — made a key play in left field that seemed to get the A’s going against Indy.

There were home runs by Meeko Harris and Ellis Lilly, neither of whom had gone deep all season.

It all spelled out to one special tournament for Park.

“Everything came together for everybody,” Maiolo said. “That is what the key was.”

Michael Maiolo saved the most important performance for last. He got the win in relief and hit a tiebreaking two-run home run in the fourth in the title win over Summersville.

“I knew he was tired from all the games we had played,” said Tony Maiolo, the pitcher’s dad. “But I could tell when he hit that home run, and a few others thought ‘Uh-oh.’ That kind of gave us a spark.”

Maiolo had an ERA of 0.82 for the season and was named the league’s Pitcher of the Year. He also hit .419 on the year.

Leopardi, who hit .417 on the year, was 3-for-3 in the title game. Francis and Jacob Toney were both 2-for-3. Bradley Pack also came up big for the A’s.

“We came through with some great hitting in the tournament,” Tony Maiolo said.

n n n

Tim Epling, manager of the West Virginia Miners and founder of the middle school league, believes that Park winning as the fifth seed shows the parity of the league and how far it has come since its start in 2010.

“I talked to a couple of umpires and they said that (the title game) was one of the best games they had been involved with all year, high school or college,” Epling said. “The league was very competitive. We had walkoff home runs, diving catches — a little bit of everything.”

“I think this is the best thing Tim had going out there, with Upper Deck and the middle school league,” Maiolo said. “If we can get the high school coaches on board with us, I think baseball at the high school level will get better around here. Babe Ruth (League) was good, but nothing like Upper Deck.”

Epling added his appreciation for Shady Spring head coach Tim Hill and his assistants.

“They did a great job,” Epling said. “They were absolutely amazing.”

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • WVU rifle coach competing in native Scotland

    West Virginia University rifle coach John Hammond is competing in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in his native Scotland.

    July 24, 2014

  • 072414 WV Open.jpg Familiarity with Cobb helps Hess take lead

    It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Kenny Hess is comfortable playing the Cobb Course at Glade Springs Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golf and motocross are Jude’s passions

    Motocross and golf have very little in common.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • How to discover and love Major League Soccer

    When I began my soccer fandom following a missions trip to Brazil in 2000, I didn’t know what my next step was. I knew I loved watching the game, but there weren’t a lot of options for seeing it in the U.S. I knew of Major League Soccer — mostly from my friend and current FC Dallas beat writer Drew Epperley — but it was hard to find.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 brand Bradshaw or the field?

    If a betting window were set up on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs for the 81st West Virginia Open Championship, which begins at 8 a.m. this morning, the most popular wager would probably be David Bradshaw against the field.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 justice Home sweet home away from home

    When Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was handed a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sunday, his eyes lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on a cold December night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp