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Optimist wraps up the Babe Ruth title


Last updated 7/27/2020 at 8:02am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

A play at the plate ensues during last Thursday night's Babe Ruth city championship game at Legion Field in Havre. Optomists beat PJ's for the title.

The Havre Youth Baseball Association had a lot in mind when it came to their leagues' seasons for 2020, with the plan to be able to finish all of them if things went in the right direction. Luckily, things did fair well for the HYBA, which had its final championship match for the Babe Ruth league Thursday evening at Legion Field.

And at the end of the night, the Havre Optimist Club came out on top, shutting out PJ's 6-0 to win the Babe Ruth championship for the 2020 season. After what seemed like a lost season at first turned into a summer full of baseball action for both the teams and the fans.

PJ's placed second at the end of the night. Coached by Austin DeLaRosa, Oscar DeLaRosa and Kelden Sullivan, players Colter Solomon, Lane Kinsella, Tanner DeLaRosa, Matthew LaMere, Jevin Jenkins, Ezra Pyle, Antone Ryder, Pierce Caplette, Russell Doney, Jack Gillan, Evan Baldwin, Gage Chapman and Thomas Champain Jr. all put in a great effort to make it to the championship.

Austin DeLaRosa was proud of the work his team did this season, even if they came up short in the end.

"The kids did alright," DeLaRosa said. "They didn't come to play like I had expected they would, like how they against the Lions. But they did well. I'm proud of them in general. They've come a long way from the beginning of the year to here. They really have. With the whole COVID-19 stuff and adjusting to that, they've shown to me that they really love the game. I couldn't be more proud of the kids. They fought their way to get to the chipper. This year it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, but they played their heart out, and I'm proud of them for that."

As for the Babe Ruth champions, the Havre Optimist Club, they were coached by Frank Benson and Brian Berreth, with players Julian Benson, Logan Cloninger, Drake Berreth, Kale VanCampen, Brenden Fetter, Cash Schubert, Bradyn Kimberling, Tucker Schwagert, Andrew Olsen, Chris Bell and Landon Kneeling making up the team.

Benson was glad to see his team come together to pitch a shut-out and cap off a great season.

"It was fun," Benson said. "We had Brenden on the hill today and he shut them down to begin, and Drake came in to save the game. They hit the ball, waited on it and we had some good hits. This team gave us hits all season long. They're young and they give it their all. It's awesome. They've come a long way. We had fun."

The championship game kicked off strong for the Havre Optimist Club, with Fetter taking advantage of an error on behalf of PJ's to join two other teammates to gain the lead early on 3-0. The second and third innings would see the Havre Optimist Club and PJ's battle it out on the mound, but scoring would not resume until the bottom of the third.

In that part of the inning, the Havre Optimist Club once again capitalized on an error by PJ's, with one of the hitters rounding the bases to make it home alongside his teammate to continue the scoring trend for the Havre Optimist Club. From there, PJ's tried to answer with bases loaded in the fourth inning, but the Havre Optimist Club struck out the next batter to keep PJ's from home plate. After one final run by the Havre Optimist Club, the game was sealed.

There were many great highlights in the Thursday night chipper, but Benson had his favorite from the very beginning.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Action from last Thursday night's Babe Ruth championship at Legion Field.

"The first inning was great," Benson said. "Brenden got ball four, got a baseball and then he went to second. Next pitch, he was stealing third, a ball got passed by him and he scored at home. That was pretty cool. That put us up 3-0. Drake did the same thing and we were up 4-0. We just slowly scored runs from there to win 6-0. We pitched really well, too. We pitched good all year long. We had pitchers we didn't even get to put in today, like Logan Cloninger. He was ready to go if we needed him."

And at the end of the day, the season went off without a hitch for the Babe Ruth league and DeLaRosa said he will the group of players he got to coach this year.

"I've enjoyed coaching them," DeLaRosa said. "I've been teaching them what I was taught when I was young and have been going from there, all while I'm still being taught from college baseball and all that. I can't really complain about all this. They're a special group of kids to me and I'm going to miss that. I like these kids."


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