SAFFORD — Mt. Graham Little League is wrapping up its season this past week, and on Wednesday, Team Pepsi was able to break a pitchers’ duel in the final inning to take the win, 2-1.
Both teams put up three scoreless innings before Pepsi scored a lone run in the fourth off an RBI double batted in by Markus Carrasco, scoring Aidan Bermudez.
Relion Realty tied it up in the fifth off a single and three stolen bases by Kameron Curley.
Pepsi’s reliever Darren Maldonado pitched three up, three down — all strikeouts — in the top of the sixth. Relion Realty’s reliever Curley looked to return the favor, but he walked the leadoff runner Bermudez, who was eventually moved to third off a single hit by Maldonado. Bermudez ended the game and won the championship game off Relion Realty’s lone passed ball of the night.
Team Relion Realty head coach Mark Johnson said, “We knew we were going up against number one. They lost only one game all year, and that was to us, so we knew we could beat them. It was going to take a perfect game. They made the last play to win it. It was a good battle, just like we expected. The kids did awesome. We lost our best player to a broken collar bone right before the season started, so we knew it was an uphill battle. They met the challenge.”
Team Pepsi head coach James Maldonado said, “Today’s game pretty much defined how we’ve played all year. We battled, especially with this team. They’ve beat us before, and we just knew we had to bring our A-game. Markus, our pitcher, showed up today and did his job. That final hit was clutch. These kids started out really well. They were a championship team from day one, and they showed it today. They showed up. Thank you, parents, for getting the kids here on time and keeping them in line.”
Little League closing ceremonies will be held at the Graham County Fairgrounds on June 1 at 7 p.m.