Five-run fifth inning powers Milton past M.O.T. in state tournament

MILFORD – Noah Wells celebrated his birthday by coming off the bench and slamming a clutch bases-clearing double in the fifth inning to power Milton Little League to a 5-1 victory over M.O.T. at Milford Little League Tuesday night.

The three-run double, which scored Bryce Dominick, Nolan Barry and Jase Mitchell, capped a five-run bottom of the fifth inning and propelled Milton (2-0) to Thursday night’s Major Baseball state championship game.

With the loss, M.O.T. (0-1) will face Newark National (0-1) in Wednesday night’s elimination game. A win over Newark National would set-up a M.O.T./Milton rematch in the title game Thursday at Milford Little League.

Lead-off hitter Trey Hitchchock digs in at the plate Tuesday night (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“It feels pretty good,” Wells said. “I just wanted to get a base hit and score a run.”

“It’s really cool for Noah to come through with a big hit like that and to give us those insurance runs, especially on his birthday,” said Milton manager Paris Mitchell. “It’s a cool story because he’s one of our 11-year-olds, so he’s one of our younger kids, but he’s also one of our role players.

“That’s his role, he’s an offensive weapon for us. He hasn’t played a single inning in the field yet, but he’s come through with some big-time hits and some big-time offensive at-bats for us. I couldn’t be more proud that he was one of our two stars of the night.”

The night’s other star, Jayceon White, tossed 5.2 innings and struck out six M.O.T. batters before Bryce Dominick stepped in and recorded the final out to close out the victory in the top of the sixth inning.

“I basically just wanted to shut them down, give them the least amount of runs possible and then I wanted our bats to come out and score a couple of runs to get me a lead to work with,” White said. “I knew most of those guys can hit, so I wanted to keep it away from them and hit the corners and keep everything low.”

Jayceon White tossed a strong 5.2 innings in Tuesday night’s win (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“It’s a great feeling, as a coaching staff, to know that whoever we put up there on the mound we’re going to get a quality effort out of,” Mitchell said. “Jayceon’s just been a bulldog for us, for Milton Little League, for years. He’s an unassuming, smaller kid but he goes up there and he grinds. I’m very proud for him.”

Matching up with White on the other side of the field was M.O.T. starting pitcher Logan Taylor, who threw a scoreless four innings before Milton’s five-run explosion in the fifth.

“He threw fast,” White said, simply, of his opponent on the mound.

Taylor finished the game with eight strikeouts, but Milton broke the 0-0 deadlock with a pair of runs on an error from M.O.T.’s shortstop and then Wells’ double broke the game open 5-0.

M.O.T. answered with one run in the top of the sixth before Dominick forced a game-ending fielder’s choice to earn the 5-1 win.

After fielding a ground ball, White makes the toss over to first baseman Bryce Dominick for the out (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

When Milton takes the field Thursday night, they’ll be vying for its third consecutive Major Baseball State championship.

“Small town baseball is just one of the best things, it’s just something that gets me emotional just talking about it,” Mitchell said of the opportunity to win another state title. “The town of Milton, you see all these people coming out here and they’ve come to expect good baseball and that’s what these boys have done for them.”

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.