MILFORD — Lou Gehrig Little League of Milford manager Rob Hansen knew he needed a new game plan against Max Sinoway entering the teams’ matchup in the District 4 Little League championship game on Saturday, especially since the team from North Haven beat his team 9-0 in pool play.
This time around Hansen wanted his team to be aggressive at the plate and on the bases. The plan, coupled with the team’s solid defense and pitching, paid off.
Competing against Max Sinoway at home at Ralph Clarkson Field this time around didn’t hurt, either.
Hunter Hoxie and Zach Worzel combined for 10 strikeouts and allowed two hits, and Kasen Lanese and Chase Bryant each had RBI singles to lead Lou Gehrig to a 3-1 win over Max Sinoway for the District 4 championship. Lou Gehrig advances to the first round of the sectional tournament and will play in Darien on Thursday against an opponent to be determined.
“Max Sinoway is a great team and they hit the ball well to all parts of the field,” Hansen said. “When we lost to them we weren’t playing aggressive, especially at the plate. We took 90 percent of the first pitches in that game. Today, I wanted them to be more aggressive and put the ball in play.
“It all came together for us today. We were aggressive at the plate, our base running was aggressive (five infield hits) and our defense played well. I can’t say enough about our pitchers. Hunter keep them off balance early in the game and Zach did an outstanding job in relief. Zach has been our workhorse in relief all season.”
Hoxie pitched 21/3 innings, allowed no hits and struck out three. Worzel went 32/3 innings, allowed only two hits and struck out seven. Worzel struck out the last two Max Sinoway batters in the bottom of the sixth inning to end the game.
“We were very focused and we were ready to play today,” Worzel said. “I was really happy with the way my fastball and changeup were working today and happy with the way we were all hitting. In the sixth inning, I was focused on getting three outs before they scored two runs.
“Like all my teammates I’m really happy. This win today is just another bump in the road on our way to Williamsport (Pennsylvania, site of the Little League World Series).”
Lou Gehrig scored the game’s first run in the second inning. Brian Goglia tripled and one out later Lanese hit a single to centerfield to give Lou Gehrig a 1-0 lead. Max Sinoway tied the game at 1 in the third inning. With one out and Justin Gouin on third base, Jayden Novak grounded out to second base and Gouin scored on the play to tie the game.
In the fourth inning, with Hoxie on third base, Bryant pinch hit for Goglia. Bryant beat out a ground ball to first base for a hit and drove in Hoxie for a 2-1 lead. Lou Gehrig added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning for the 3-1 final.
“We are so excited to win this championship and move on to the next round,” Hansen said. “It’s been a team effort the entire postseason.”