Major Baseball: Milton improves to 2-0 in District III play with win over Millsboro

MILTON – The back-to-back district and state champion Milton All-Stars knew they had a target on their back entering this year’s District III Major Baseball tournament.

That hasn’t kept them from getting off to a quick start on their quest for a third straight title this year.

Milton defeated Millsboro, 8-2, Wednesday night at Milton Little League to improve to 2-0 in district tournament play. The win sets up a Friday night winner’s bracket showdown with Lewes/Rehoboth (2-0).

Jayceon White pitched four innings of one-run ball for Milton Wednesday night (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Milton’s offense was powered by a Tyler Jacona three-run blast in the top of the first inning and a Gage Joseph two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning.

“It was a 2-0 count and I knew he was going to throw a fastball, so I was waiting on it. It came in and I just hit it,” Jacona said, simply, of his approach in the first-inning at-bat.

“We’ve got a team where we feel like on any given night we’re going to get production up and down the lineup,” said Milton manager Paris Mitchell.

“One of the strong points of this team is that we don’t have any weak spots, so on any given night it could be the No. 7 hitter, it could be the No. 5 hitter, it could be the No. 9 hitter who’s going to come up and hit a home run or just come up with a good at-bat and move runners over.”

Starting pitcher Jayceon White pitched four innings of one-run ball for Milton. He surrendered just one hit – a solo home run from Kade Hall in the second inning – and struck out four batters on 52 pitches.

“I basically wanted to just try to shut them down and try to get through the innings without giving up too many runs,” White said.

Jacona took the mound for two innings of relief, striking out five of the eight Millsboro batters he faced to complete the win.

Trey Hitchcock led the game off with a first-pitch double in the top of the first inning, sliding in safely before the throw could reach shortstop T.J. Morris (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“I kind of know some of those guys over there, so I was just trying to keep it down and just hit my spots,” said Jacona.

“We feel like, maybe the strongest point of our team is our pitching depth,” coach Mitchell said. “Whether it’s Gage Jospeh, or Jayceon White, or Tyler Jacona, or Nolan Barry, or Bryce Dominick, or Trey Hitchcock. We know we’ve got plenty of pitching and we feel like our defense is very good too. So, we know if we score runs, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Jase Mitchell hit a two-run triple, scoring Bryce Dominick and Nolan Barry, in the fifth inning. Noah Wells proceeded to drive in Mitchell with a single in the following at-bat to round out Milton’s scoring for the night.

“I thought they did great, and it really helped me on the mound knowing I had a lead to pitch with,” White said of his team’s run support.

Milton’s defense stepped up in a big way Wednesday night as well, turning a triple play in the bottom of the first inning to dampen a potential Millsboro scoring threat.

With runners on first and second base and no one out, Milton first baseman Bryce Dominick caught a fly-ball in shallow right field as he collided with the right fielder.

Gage Joseph extended Milton’s lead to 5-1 with a two-run homer in the fourth inning (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Dominick would then hurl the ball over to second base to catch both of Millsboro’s base-runners attempting to tag up.

“That was big, because the first inning everyone’s still trying to feel each other out and you’re still trying to see where the momentum goes – because these are 12-year-old kids, so momentum means a lot,” coach Mitchell said. “To pull a triple play like that – that was probably bigger than hitting the three-run home run in the top of the first.”

Noah Burroughs, Jaquan Curtis, Talon Burton and Luce Perfetti combined to pitch the 6.0 innings for Millsboro.

Kade Hall’s solo home run in the second inning and T.J. Morris’ run on a passed ball in the sixth inning provided the two runs for Millsboro.

With it being Millsboro’s first loss of the tournament, they’ll be playing Georgetown Thursday, July 12 in an elimination game. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Georgetown Little League.

First pitch for Friday night’s Milton-Lewes/Rehoboth game is set for 7 p.m. at Milton Little League.

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

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