NAUGATUCK — The Union City Braves and the Peter J. Foley Giants played for the borough title Saturday as the two Little League champions went head to head at Foley Field.
The Braves rode the arm of Aiden Alexander and some timely hitting to come away with a 9-1 win over the Giants. Alexander turned in a performance worthy of a championship game allowing just two hits, striking out 15 in 5 2/3 innings on the hill.
“Aiden has been our ace and go-to-guy all season long,” Braves head coach Mark Nofri said. “We played the Giants twice during the regular season, and we won both by one run in each game. So I was just hoping that we had some timely hits and Aiden would be on his game.”
Alexander was on his game early after walking the lead off batter J.T. Thompson. The lanky right-hander stuck out the side and did it again in the second inning after walking Justis Rivera and Michael Clemente.
Kyle Carey was the first Giant to get his bat on the ball grounding out to shortstop in the third inning, but Alexander was in a zone striking out five of the next six batters.
The Braves were getting their bat on the ball, but not having much luck against the Giants. J.D. Stone matched Alexander putting up zeros through three innings, including two strikeouts to end the third.
The Giants were also getting it done on defense with centerfielder Thompson making two run-saving catches, shortstop Peter Mullin throwing across the diamond to first baseman Kevin Healy for two bang-bang plays, and third baseman Zach Setzer making a stop down the line.
“We had a fantastic season,” Giants head coach Joe Magnamo said. “We didn’t have any dominant pitchers, but as a team we played excellent defense. The Braves’ pitcher, Aiden, was just outstanding today and that was the difference in the game.”
The Braves got on the board with three runs in the fourth. Andrew Tyska led off with a walk and Alex Sosa pounded a single up the middle. Lucas McKenney chased home the first run on a sacrifice fly before Aiden Alexander ripped a run-scoring double to the gap in left.
Joel Alexander grounded out to second baseman James Duda to send across the third run before Stone set down Brady Evon on a pop-up to shortstop to end the rally.
Matt Steckert and Felix Carrillo tried to get the Giants offense going, but Aiden Alexander took a no-hitter into the fifth inning. In the top of the frame, the Braves extended the lead putting up another pair of runs to take a 5-0 advantage.
Matt Stefan drew a walk to lead it off against Clemente, who came on in relief for the Giants. Ryan Tyska reached on an error to put a runner in scoring position. Nick Jennings moved up the runners on a groundout.
Matt Nofri hit a run-scoring double into the right field corner. Nick Stefan and Andrew Tyska drew walks in between an out from Landon Sarno. Giants’ right fielder Tyler Leonard hauled in the final out to end the uprising.
The Giants got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth when Mason Bedard broke up the no-hitter with a single. Stone drove in the run on a single to make it a 5-1 game. The Braves closed it out tacking four more runs on the board in the sixth for the 9-1 final margin.
“During the season we started out 9-0 and then lost a little focus losing five of the next seven,” Nofri said. “We got it back and started to get hot in the playoffs. The key is we didn’t lose our focus and played as hard as we could for all six innings. I’m proud of these kids.”