Braves, Red Sox, Pirates Win MLL titles

The Braves celebrate their victory over the A’s during the Malibu Little League’s playoffs.  

The Braves and Red Sox are champions of the Malibu Little League (MLL) once again. 

The two squads claimed the titles of their respective divisions for the second year in a row last Sunday, one day after losing the first game of championship play to their opponents. The Braves beat the A’s, 4-2, in order to win the majors division title, while the Red Sox beat the Angels, 11-7, to grab the AAA division’s top spot. 

The Braves’ win cemented their fifth MLL championship in six years. Braves manager Steve Prudholme said this season’s title was their most challenging and most rewarding. 

“Seven of our 11 players were first-year majors division players, so our coaching staff really had to work hard and develop our team from top to bottom throughout the season,” he said. “After spring break, the kids really turned a corner, and we won seven out of our last nine games, including the playoffs, which was an incredible run to finish the season.” 

The third MLL championship team was the Pirates. The squad beat the Indians, 11-9, in the AA division championship game last Saturday. 

MLL President Steve Parks said this year’s MLL playoff series was double elimination, meaning opponents of the champion Braves and Red Sox had to knock them off twice in order to be crowned title winners. 

“We had a really competitive and exciting playoff series,” Parks said. 

The Red Sox, led by manager Scott Mickens, and the Braves entered the championships undefeated in the playoffs and had to bounce back from thrilling losses to one-loss opponents last Saturday in order to win titles. 

The Angels beat the Red Sox, 9-7, in a game that went four extra innings. 

The Angels scored first, thanks to RBIs by Patrick Costello and Caleb Newman, in the first inning. The Angels increased their lead by three more points in the top of the third inning — however, the Red Sox rang up four runs by the end of the inning to make the score 5-4. Patrick Mickens got the scoring started for the Red Sox by hitting a deep single into centerfield. The hit drove in two runs. 

The Angels’ lead was 7-5 until the bottom of the sixth inning. Then with two outs, Red Sox batter Mikia Moody’s base hit drove in two scores for his team to tie the game and send it into a seventh inning. 

The game featured zero points and a few strikeouts in innings seven to nine. In the 10th inning, Angels players Amanda Parks and Newman each drove in scores to secure the win. 

The A’s beat the Braves, 1-0, in their initial title game. The contest featured tough pitching and good defense by both teams. A’s player Tommy Heffernan scored the game’s lone point when he stole home after a Braves error. 

The next day, Leo Alexander led the Braves on the mound. The pitcher had four strikeouts and only one walk. The Braves led 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning due to a two-run single by Josh Carroll and a passed ball. After the A’s scored in the next inning, Sophia Prudholme hit a two-run RBI triple that gave the Braves a 4-2 lead and the eventual win. 

The Red Sox and Braves will play in Saturday’s Little League District 25 Tournament of Champions at the Ladera Little League in Los Angeles. 

During the MLL closing day ceremony on Saturday, June 4, the 180 boys and girls in the league’s baseball program, and 30 girls in its softball program, were awarded trophies and recognized.

A special recognition went to one player on each of the MLL’s 16 teams, who were Ross Feikls Award recipients, an award named after former MLL player Ross Feikls, who despite being severely ill displayed amazing spirit and true sportsmanship whenever he was on the diamond. The award is given to players who display the MLL’s motto of “Courage, Character and Loyalty.” 

Julie Carroll and Anniston Aragon were softball players that won the award. The baseball players who were award recipients included Merrick Wilder, Preston Cook, Joshua Carroll, Julian Ambriz, Trevor Nickerson, Gabriel Bruton, Cooper Norby, Bear Beghe, Sailor Graham, Nat Parker, Joaquin Garcia, Stevie Clark, Marlon Weist and Quinn Kelly. 

Parks said the league had a great season.

“We had excellent competitive balance on all of our teams, and the kids all developed and played good baseball,” he said. “Seeing the joy on all the faces at closing ceremonies when the teams were called up one by one to get their trophies was very rewarding. It shows that we are doing the right thing with the Little League program.”