Sean Dunphy hit a two-out home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to put an end to a wild Little League Major Division baseball all-star game and give Darlington a 10-9 triumph over Barrington Sunday night at Sherwood Park.
Dunphy’s homer was the fourth solo smash and seventh four-bagger hit by his team as all its runs came via the long ball. It gave Darlington another shot at Barrington as the teams will meet in the District-Two title contest Monday night at 5:45 p.m., at Slater Park.
“It was a great game,” Barrington manager Ray Studley said. “For a 12-year-old baseball game it was as good as you’re going to get. (Darlington) hit the ball extremely well. There was nothing we could do.”
Barrington played from behind the entire game after it took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on an Andy Marra two-run homer. Darlington came right back when leadoff hitter Kyle DePattie blasted the first of his three homers on the night. Later in the inning Colin Gauthier’s two-out, two-run tater gave Darlington a 3-2 lead. Jordan Perdomo hit the first of his two homers to start the Darlington second inning and DePattie contributed a two-run jack to give Darlington a 6-2 lead.
Barrington cut two runs off the deficit in the fourth inning with Chase Griffin and Jake Studley each delivering a key two-out, run-scoring single. However, Barrington left the bases loaded in the frame and stranded seven in the contest compared to just three for Darlington.
“We hit the ball good too but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” said Studley. “We left a lot of guys on base but that’s baseball.”
Darlington’s DePattie went yard for the third time in the bottom of the inning, another two-run drive, to make it 8-4.
Barrington’s Colin Scorpio joined the homer parade when he crunched an opposite-field drive to right in the top of the fifth. Perdomo matched his blast with one of his own to make it 9-5 Darlington heading into the top of the sixth.
Barrington’s Griffin started a rally with a single to left and went to second on a passed ball. Studley’s base hit put runners at the corners and, after Studley stole second, Marra fisted a ball to left for a single which plated Griffin and pushed Studley to third.
Marra stole second then went to third on a wild pitch as Studley slid home safely to bring Barrington to within two runs at 9-7. Matt Hurley, who had struck out his first three times up, worked the count to 3-and-2 when he got the pitch he was looking for and lined it over the center field fence to knot the score 9-9. The next three hitters were retired but the game was tied.
Darlington had the top of the order up in the bottom of the inning and Barrington ace Griffin came on in relief. He fell behind DePattie 3-and-0 before coming back to strike him out. Then Griffin fanned the next batter. He fell behind Dunphy 2-and-1 and Dunphy sent the next pitch over the right field fence to bring a fitting end to a 10-homer game.
“My kids showed a lot of heart. I think that’s the most important thing,” Studley said. “Baseball is a game of failure. I think this age group is great because it teaches you how to deal with failure. You’ve got to bounce back from adversity and both teams did that. It teaches them a life lesson. You’ve got to come back, work hard and battle. It was a great game.”
DePattie had three homers and five RBI to lead Darlington. Gauthier and Perdomo each had two hits and two RBI. Marra was a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI to pace Barrington. Studley had three hits, two runs and a RBI and Griffin had two hits. Matt Zelznik had a double and Matt Carranza had a base hit as each team finished with a dozen hits.