<B>10U Drops Heartbreaker in CRAB League Postseason Championship Game</b>
After finishing the CRAB League regular season with a League best 19-4 record and winning the 10U National Division with a 7-1 record, the Hustlers grabbed the #1 overall seed and opened postseason play against a tough Maryland Warriors squad. As has been the case for the most of the season in big games, the Hustlers handed the ball to Justin Ropp (Yellow Springs) and he did not disappoint. Ropp held the good hitting Warriors scoreless for three innings while the Hustlers went to work with their bats. JT Sachar (Green Valley) led off with a double in the first and scored on a Ropp base hit. Dustin Isanogle reached on an error to start the second and later scored on singles by Hayden Bailey (Walkersville) and Brandon Buschman (Walkersville). The Hustlers picked up two more runs in the third on a Ropp walk and singles by Andrew McElwain (St. Johns) and Joseph Pippin (Oakdale) to take what seemed like a commanding 4-0 lead. The lead grew to 5-0 before the Warriors mounted a huge comeback. Brandon Buschman pitched a shutdown inning in the 4th but struggled in the 5th with a couple of walks sandwiched between two hits and an error. The Hustlers still felt good about themselves taking a 5-3 lead into the last inning but the first two batters reached via base hits. JT Sachar came in to put out the fire with the Warriors having the tying run on third when the last out was recorded. Ropp and McElwain led the way offensively with two hits a piece while Sachar, Pippin, Ryan Bennett (St Johns), Bailey, Buschman, Zach Rutter (Middletown, RBI), and Riley Donovan (Tuscarora) each had one.
The Championship game ended up pitting the two teams with the best records during the regular season. The Olney Pirates punched their ticket with an 11-10 win over HCYP and the Hustlers knew they would have to play well to stay with the extremely talented Pirate team. The Hustlers, sporting their Vegas Gold jerseys, did not disappoint. Andrew McElwain and Joseph Pippin each threw three innings and both had what could be considered their best outings of the season. The Hustlers fell behind 1-0 in the third when Zach Rutter answered with a “bomb” to left center. The two teams traded runs in the fourth and the Hustlers seemed destined for the win in the bottom of the fifth when JT Sachar doubled in Buschman who had reached on a hit-by-pitch. Sachar stole third and that’s when the Hustlers decided to go for the win. Sachar timed the catcher’s release back to the pitcher perfectly and headed home. The pitcher’s return throw was high as Sachar slid in. When the dust settled, the umpire ruled Sachar out. Olney then scored a single run in the top of the sixth to take a 4-3 lead and the Hustlers went quietly in their half and lost 4-3. Sachar led the way offensively with three hits against very good pitching. Rutter had the only other hit – the home run to left center.