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Palawasta Clinches Juniors Division Championship

Big innings throughout series lead to title.

Palawasta Construction won the 2012 Madison Little League Juniors Division championship over O’Donnell Landscaping on June 19 at Dodge Field.

Palawasta tied for the regular season race with Madison Medical and Sports Rehab, each team having lost only once, and splitting the two games they played against each other. But O’Donnell upset Medical in its semi-final game to earn the right to play Palawasta in the best-of-three-games championship series.

In the championship series, Palawasta had a big inning in each game to pull away.

In Game 1, Palawasta started strong with four runs in the first inning, the big hit a bases-clearing triple by Mike Bangs that plated Colby Dixon, Ben Mara and Jimmy Piechnik. Kevin Olsen followed with an RBI ground-out to bring Bangs home.

The big inning, however, was the fourth. Josh Tannen’s single drove in Matt Driscoll and Anthony Guerriero. Michael Gribble’s single then started a seven-run two-out rally. Usama Rahim walked, and Matt Dragoumis reached to load the bases. Dixon then walked to plate Gribble, followed by a two-run double by Mara, a two-run single by Piechnik, a Bangs double and a triple by Olsen.

Kevin Olsen pitched a complete game, allowing only five base runners and two unearned runs in the 14-2 Palawasta victory. Matt O’Donnell and Tommy Kiernan scored for O’Donnell.

The big inning in Game 2 was the first. Dixon singled and stole second, and scored on a base hit by Mara. Piechnik drove in Mara, ahead of walks by Bangs and Olsen to load the bases. Singles by Tyler Driscoll and Guerriero brought in two runs, followed by Tannen’s walk, an RBI ground-out by Gribble and singles by Rahim and Dragoumis to finish the eight-run out-burst.

Mara scored again on Matt Driscoll’s single in the second inning and, in the fourth, singles by Dixon, Mara, Bangs and Olsen brought in Palawasta’s final three runs. O’Donnell’s Brian Kraska came in to pitch in the fourth and shut down Palawasta over the final three-and-a-third innings.

Piechnik, Tyler Driscoll and Bangs pitched for Palawasta in Game 2.  For O’Donnell, Max Lenz scored twice and Kraska, Peter Royse and Matt Haughey had a run each; Andrew Novotny had two runs batted in, and Royse and Lenz each drove in a run.

In the seventh inning, shortstop Dixon caught a towering fly by Alex Park and another for the final out. The final score was 12-5, and the championship was sealed. Palawasta manager Paul Piechnik, and coaches Ron Bangs and George Melfi joined the celebration on the field and handed out trophies to the players.  Ian Barry, a big contributor during the season, was unable to play in the championship series.

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