By Tim Chambers
Something had to give when the undefeated Marlins (4-0) battled the undefeated Angels (3-0) on Saturday at Cunningham Park. Fans were treated to a “fantastic” game before the outcome was decided.
The “Fish” rode the pitching and hitting of Zack Parsons en route to their narrow 7-5 victory over the Halos to keep a tight grip on first place in the Little League major division play.
The Marlins, managed by long-time veteran skipper Gary Woodard, played nearly mistake free baseball the whole way. The same could be said for the Angels who were guided by their legendary manager, Brad Reece.
“It’s always a lot of fun when we play each other,” said Woodard. “Brad does a great job with his team and our games are usually close. This was a big game for us and all our kids played well. Zack Parsons had a big game and so did Tanner Putman. We needed that to pull out the win.”
Pitching dominated the first inning for both teams.
Parsons fanned three batters after issuing a walk. Connor Simcox was just as impressive, striking out two of the batters that he faced.
Both teams got on the board in the second inning with the Marlins taking a 3-1 advantage.
Parsons struck out four batters in the frame, but a wild pitch on a third strike allowed Ethan Reece to reach. He would later come around to score on a passed ball.
The Marlins used their bats to produce three runs in the bottom half.
Parsons, Tanner Putman and Jordan Jaynes all delivered singles, yet control problems would aid in their scoring.
Conner Gentry, Hank Sauer and Dominic Kelly all drew walks and Kainon Haun was hit by a pitch. The Angels escaped further damage after Simcox whiffed his fourth batter in the game, but the Fish led 3-1.
The Marlins used the long ball to go up 5-1 in the following inning.
Parsons blasted a towering home run over the left field fence, scoring Connor Stout who had walked. But the Angels fought back and made it a game after scoring four times in the fourth.
Parsons would amass 14 strikeouts over the first four innings, but three bases on balls would result in runs for the Angels. Simcox, Eli Dickins and Ethan Reece all scored after drawing free passes to get the Angels within one at 5-4.
The Marlins got one back when Sauer walked and scored in the bottom half to take a 6-4 advantage.
Parsons was throwing fiery darts over five innings. His only allowed hit was a solid single off the bat of Graham Reece in the third.
The Marlins got an insurance run in the fifth when Putman singled-in Parsons who had walked.
The Angels had their chances in the sixth after Parsons was relieved due to reaching the 85-pitch limit count.
Connor Simcox singled and later scored to make it 7-5. The game ended when Parsons shagged a ball at first for the Fish and turned it into an unassisted double play to end the game.
Parsons allowed only one hit and struck out 15 to earn the win. He led his team in hitting, going 2-2 with two RBI’s and two runs scored. Putman enjoyed a big day for the Marlins, going 3-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Jaynes had the other Marlins’ base hit.
Reece and Simcox had the only two hits for the Angels. Reece also provided some strong defensive play by throwing out a pair of runners from his catching position.
Angels 010 301 — 5 2
Marlins 031 11x — 7 6