F.O.P. Little League wraps up regular season with title game

Published 6:48 pm Saturday, July 3, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The 2004 F.O.P. Little League regular season came to an end Friday night at the league's park as the Braves clinched the championship with an 8-4 come-from-behind victory over the Red Sox.
The Braves threatened to race out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning, but a diving catch by Red Sox centerfielder Montrell Merrit held the Braves to one run in the first inning.
Braves starter Cameron Sly struck out the side in the top of the second, but his team was unable to score in the bottom half.
In the top of the third, the Red Sox erased the 1-0 deficit when Aaron Davis drove in a run with his double. Then Deshawn Curtis hit a three-run homer to give the Sox a 4-1 lead.
The Braves rallied back in the bottom of the third. They used three hits and three walks to plate seven runs and take a commanding 8-4 lead.
The score did not change the rest of the game, though both squads had runners in scoring position.
Sly finished the game with 10 strikeouts and only four hits allowed.
Curtis also fanned 10 batters and gave up four hits.
Kevin Gross hit a double for the Braves. Sly hit a pair of singles and Ramone Brown singled once.
Curtis and Flynn hit singles for the Red Sox.
Following the championship game, the league held its annual awards ceremony for all of the Major League and Minor League teams.
Two Most Valuable Player awards were handed out, one to a Major League player from each division.
Sly took home the National League MVP award while Davis won the American League MVP award.
Rookies of the Year were Tyler Bybee of the Marlins and Shawn Dudka of the Yankees.
The Tough As Nails award went to Pirates catcher Gage Pearison.
The Managers of the Year were Mike Ratkayof the Braves and Steve Racht of the Reds.
The Vella Sportsmanship award went to Justin Hughes of the White Sox. The Kessler Sportsmanship award was given to Mitch Peterek of the Pirates.
The league recognized a number of heavy hitters who led the league in home runs this season. Davis paced all players with seven longballs. Sly was second with six adn David Gardner finished third with five. Kevin Gross and Curtis hit four homers apiece.
The F.O.P. Little League will send three teams into District 15 competition next week. The league will host District 15 championship games in the 9-10 year-old division and the 11-year-old division.