Preparation matters. Consequently, coaches prepare their teams for upcoming games. “Be ready. They will run,” was the warning Coach Matt McCabe gave to the members of his team before the A’s took the field to play the league-leading Cubs in a Glendale Little League Minor Division game Wednesday. The Cubs ran up a quick lead and then held on to defeat the feisty A's, 7-5.
The Cubs made the base paths at Good Hope School look like Churchill Downs in the first inning. Troy Wagner led off with a walk and promptly stole second. With one out, David Rosengarten singled to score Wagner and raced to second on the throw in. Cole Maguire then lined a double down the line to make the score 2-0. Maguire stole third and galloped home on error. Greg Farrow also reached base and also stole two bases, but the A’s defense tightened and stranded him at third.
The A’s are a resilient bunch and they fought right back with some good base running of their own. Their very first batter, J.P. Penoske, singled and raced to second on the throw. Nathaniel Rouse then walked. Coach McCabe had his two runners execute a double steal, and Penoske came home on an error on the play.
The Cubs extended their lead with a run in the top of the third. With one out Wagner walked and stole second and ran home on a single by Sam Yarmulnik. Yarmulnik then stole second and went to third on Maguire’s two-out single. Maguire also stole second. Farrow walked to load the bases, but once again the A’s skirted the threat and got out of the inning.
The A’s pulled to within one in the bottom of the inning. Grace McCabe led off with walk. She sprinted around the bases like a Triple Crown winner when Penoske drilled a line drive to center. McCabe kept coming and slid under the tag at the plate to score the A’s second run. Penoske took third on the throw home and then sped home on Nathaniel Rouse’s RBI grounder to first, making the score 4-3.
The A’s tied the score in the fourth. Noah Glidden led off with a single and took second on an error. Glidden galloped to third on a wild pitch and came home on an RBI ground out by Timmy Aussem.
Coach McCabe commented between innings, “We sure can make ‘em close for ya.”
The Cubs knew they had a game on their hands. They squeaked two runs across in the fifth. With one out Matthew Klopp walked. Wagner also walked as did Yarmulnik. An infield fielding error allowed Klopp to score. Then two more walks to Maguire and Farrow forced in Wagner.
The A’s kept coming. Addison Eliot led off the bottom of the fifth with a double. He stole third and scampered home when Will Piatt hit behind the runner for an RBI ground out to the second to make it 6-5.
The Cubs needed some insurance as the game stayed close. They got some with a run in the top of the sixth with two out. Zach Dickman walked, stole second and third and made it home on a wild pitch.
The A’s threatened in the bottom of that final inning. JP Penoske gave them hope when he led off with a single. He took second on a ground out and slid in on a close play at third when he stole the base. But the A’s couldn’t get him in and the win went to the Cubs.
The Cubs’ regular season is over. They await the start of the playoffs on Sunday. Before they take part in Sunday’s playoffs, the A’s have a make-up game to play. They take on the Royals at 6 p.m. Thursday at in Bayside.