"...Tonight they were down by two and never quit. They showed a lot of character," said Lions coach Mike MacKenzie.
AMHERST - It took one extra inning Thursday night, but in the end the Cumberland Paving Cubs are the 2014 Amherst Little League champs after beating the Lions 7-5.
Tied 5-5 at the end of regulation Wednesday night, darkness prevented Game 5 of the best-of-five series from going into extra innings, so action resumed Thursday night at 6 p.m.
Matthew Hunter pitched for the Lions Thursday.
At the top of the seventh inning Hunter struck out the first two Cubs batters, then Mika Porter, sitting on two outs and two strikes, hit a double for the Cubs.
Brandon Hicks came up to bat and hit a double, scoring Porter, and then the Lions intentionally walked Cal Hoeg.
Next up was Reese McLean. He doubled to drive in Hicks. The top of the seventh ended with the Cubs up 7-5.
Ethan Casey pitched for the Cubs.
In the bottom of the seventh the Lions lead off batter, Danial MacDonald, hit a single, and then Casey struck out the side to win the game.
"It came right down to the wire," said Cubs coach Jeff Hoeg. "It couldn't have been any closer. It's hard on the old heart but I'm proud of the kids and they really came through when it counted."
He says the extra inning the following day may have made his players more nervous than usual.
"I tried to tell them to have fun, enjoy the moment and do their best, and whatever happens, happens."
Many of the Cubs are playing their last year of little league.
"We've been looking at this moment all season, so it was a long build up," said Hoeg. "We lost the regular season to the Lions, who are a good team."
Lions coach Mike MacKenzie is proud of the way his team kept fighting.
"They were down Wednesday in the last inning. We were down by a run and came back and tied it up,” said MacKenzie. “And tonight they were down by two and never quit. They showed a lot of character."
The Cubs and Lions battled each other all season long.
"It came down to one game for the pennant and this series went to extra innings in Game 5, so it was really close," said MacKenzie.
Both coaches thanked their team and their assistant coaches for a great season.
"I'd like to thank my coaches Darrell Cole, Kevin McEachern and Jason Casey for helping me out all year. I definitely needed their help and support," said Hoeg. "And I thank the kids for showing up and coming with great attitudes. It made for a really fun year."
Results from the first six innings on Wednesday night are as follows:
With the game tied 4-4 at the end of the fifth inning, the Cubs came out in the sixth and loaded the bases.
Broc McEachern hit a single, allowing Brandon Hicks to make it home from third base, giving his team a 5-4 lead.
Then it was the Lions turn.
Graden Chitty hit a double, and then Jordan MacKenzie hit a double to score Chitty.
Cubs pitcher Cal Hoeg didn't allow another Lions hit, preserving the tie.
Chitty pitched for the Lions, and also hit two doubles and one single for the Lions.
Mackenzie hit a double and a single for the Lions, Cole Stevens hit a double, and Braden Nichol, Julian MacDonald and Danial MacDonald hit one single each.
Hoeg hit a triple and a sacrifice bunt for the Cubs, and Ethan Casey and McEachern hit one single each.