Midland Northeast players check out the trophy after beating Bay City Northwest in a state final 10-and-under baseball game Wednesday, July 29, 2015 in St. Clair.
ST. CLAIR – Tyler Bacigalupo took one for the team Wednesday, and gave Midland Northeast the 10-and-under Little League state championship.
The Midland first baseman was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, driving in the winning run in a 5-4 victory against Bay City Northwest.
“I saw it coming in,” he said. “I was thinking about getting out of it, but I saw that there was a runner on third, so I decided to let it hit me.”
As Bacigalupo raised his hands to trot to first base, Thomas Bacigalupo sprinted home and stomped on home plate with the winning run, setting off a wild celebration at first base. He didn’t have any time to think about pain the pitch may have caused, but Tyler Bacigalupo said he didn’t feel any.
“No,” he said. “Not at all.”
Midland, which had shown off its big bats for most of the tournament, won with the heart of its order getting hit by two pitches and drawing two walks, all with two outs. Thomas Bacigalupo was hit by a pitch with two strikes on him, and Nate Palmateer and Braylen Laverty each drew walks to load the bases and set up Tyler Bacigalupo’s game-winning at-bat.
“It appeared to me that maybe they were walking around our top guys to get to the bottom of the order,” Midland manager Chris Haney said. “With their pitcher spraying those balls around, he couldn’t find it again, and it cost them, I think, because it looked like he overwhelmed our first two batters that inning.
“It was a grind. The last few games were kind of easy for us, and this was a grind. I’m just proud of the kids that when things were looking a bit tough, they didn’t give up.”
Prior to the sixth inning, Midland had scored all of its runs in the third inning, taking advantage of some more walks and errors to take a 4-2 lead. John Adams drove in a run with a walk, and Fred Temple drove in another with a sacrifice fly during the inning.
Bay City got one run back in the top of the fourth, scoring on an error, and in the top of the sixth, tied the game on an RBI double by Hunter Allabaugh. He drove in Lucas Julian, who had two doubles and a single in the game.
Despite that, Midland was able to get through the sixth inning without having to go away from Palmateer, who started the game. He threw his 74th pitch on the penultimate batter, and recorded his sixth strikeout to end the Bay City half of the sixth and set his team up to win in the bottom half.
“The pitch count is everything in youth sports, and for him to get six innings was better than we could have asked,” Haney said. “It’s really a credit to him. He didn’t tire, he stayed strong the whole way and I’m really proud of him. He’s been a stud for us the whole way through.”
Bay City, which used three pitchers on the day, had an RBI single in the second inning from Allabaugh. He scored on an error later in the inning to give his team an early 2-0 lead.
The state tournament marks the end of the road for Midland, as there are no regionals or World Series tournaments for 10-and-under Little League teams.
But this is a great way to go out.
“We all battled tough, every game, win or lose, we all battled,” Tyler Bacigalupo said. “Nobody really quit. It was really fun. We all had fun.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.