By Connor Wiggins
The Cangelosi Sparks and KC Siege probably didn’t know much about each other before playing in a semifinal game on Saturday, but they certainly do now after playing four times in fewer than two days.
“They’re a good team with good pitching, catching, and everything,” head coach of the Sparks, Benny Infelise, said of KC Siege. “We knew what to expect. We had to hit the ball and play good D, and we got it done today."
The two teams split the first two games of the 12s Slumpbuster Championship Series, but the Sparks came out on top by way of the run rule in a decisive third game by a score of 11-3 in five innings of play.
A pitchers’ duel was the story in the first game of the series, as the Sparks won 2-1 against the Siege. Enzo Infelise and Chris Daugherty combined to throw 11 strikeouts in the game for the Sparks.
Game 2 didn’t have much scoring, either. The teams combined to score five runs and each team had six hits, but the Siege came out on top 3-2 to force a true championship game.
Kaden Kopacz started on the hill for the Sparks in Game 3, and he and his team got off to a quick start defensively in a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the first inning. Sparks’ shortstop Nolan Galla made an outstanding diving play and threw the runner out at first in the inning.
“I just waited for the ball to get hit and I was ready to get the ball and I threw him out,” Galla said.
Galla played an outstanding game at shortstop for the Sparks, but he also got the scoring started for his team in Game 3 with an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning. “I just waited back because (Kyle Pearcy) wasn’t throwing too hard, so I just took it right up the middle,” he said.
The Sparks struck two more times in the bottom of the first inning to come out to a quick 3-0 lead, but the Siege were able to level things up with three runs of their own in the top of the second inning.
Five more runs came to the plate in the second and third innings combined for the Sparks, and that was all they needed as they took an 8-3 lead.
The rest of the damage was done by the Sparks as they made it an 11-3 game. The game was called after the top of the fifth inning via run rule, and Cangelosi Sparks 2025 Black 11s were crowned champions of the 12u D1 Invite bracket at the Omaha Slumpbuster.
Daugherty led the Sparks in runs scored in the game and was proud of the way his team played in the decisive third game.
“We came here and executed,” he said. “We lost one, but that was just a bad game.”
KC Siege finishes as runners-up after showing a lot of heart and resilience in an effort to make the championship series from the losers bracket.