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Simsbury adds another District 6 title to their collection this summer

Simsbury Little League players celebrate after winning the District 6 Major Division title Sunday night with a 2-0 win over East Granby/Granby in Plymouth. More game photos

PLYMOUTH, July 9, 2023 – Pitchers Kareum Skovron-Rasheed and Ryne Van Derwalter combined to strike out 15 batters to help the Simsbury Little League baseball team (ages 10-12) beat East Granby/Granby, 2-0, for the District 6 Major Division championship Sunday at Janzer Field.

Skovron-Rasheed pitcher five scoreless innings and struck out 12 while Van Derwalter fanned three in one inning of work in the sixth inning.

Simsbury (7-0) captured the D6 title for the fourth time in the last five years and advanced to the Section II state tournament on Tuesday, July 18 on this same field in Plymouth. Simsbury will face the winner of Monday’s game between the D3 and D5 champions.

“These boys never gave up,” Simsbury manager Ben Heaton said. “We came up with a slogan after our first pool game that we were everywhere. We wanted to be everywhere on this field to win this and that is what we did.”

It was also a big weekend for the entire Simsbury Little League baseball program. Earlier on Sunday, Simsbury pitcher Sean Beaulieu struck out five and tossed a complete game no-hitter as Simsbury won the D6 title in the U10 division (ages 8-10) with a 14-0 win over Avon.

On Saturday, Simsbury’s U11 team (ages 9-11) beat Canton, 9-2 to win a District 6 championship.

It’s the first time since 2005 that Simsbury has swept three District 6 championships in the same season. The Simsbury Nationals won the U10, U11 and Major Division that season. At that time, Simsbury had enough Little League players that they entered two teams – Americans and Nationals – in the district tournament.

Each of the three Simsbury teams went 7-0 in their respective District 6 tournaments.

Simsbury’s Armani DerManonelian slides safely into home past catcher Rylan Willerton with a stolen base in Sunday night’s District 6 championship game. More game photos

In the Major Division title game, the first two players that East Granby/Granby sent to the plate got singles. Jack Hallum reached with a single and Julian Bento beat out an infield hit for a single. But Skovron-Rasheed struck out the side to get out of the jam.

In the next four innings, the only baserunners for East Granby/Granby came off a pair of walks.

“Eight-five pitches, unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable,” Heaton said about Skovron-Rasheed’s performance.

In the sixth inning, Van Derwalter gave up a leadoff single to East Granby/Granby’s Kaden Anderson, who beat out an infield single. But Van Derwalker retired the side on three consecutive strikeouts to end the game.

Simsbury took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Owen Trythall reached base with a one-out double down the right field line. He scampered to third base on a passed ball and scored when Van Derwalter grounded out to second base.

Simsbury loaded the bases in the second inning but a two-out strikeout from Hallum, the East Granby/Granby pitcher, got his team out of a jam.

Simsbury took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Armani DerManouelian reached base on a one-out single. He moved to second base on a walk to leadoff hitter Keenan Altiere, moved to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a double steal.

Altiere stole second base and when the throw went to second base, DerManouelian stole home for a 2-0 lead.

Long-time umpire Mitch Gross, left, provides pre-game instructions to Simsbury manager Ben Heaton Sunday night in Terryville. More game photos

Before the start of the Major Division game, District 6 officials recognized longtime umpire and District 6 official Mitch Gross of Granby, who is retiring at the end of the season and moving out of the area. Gross has been umpiring for 27 years and lived in Simsbury with his family for more than 20 years.

Several umpiring colleagues and former colleagues were at the game, his final District 6 assignment. League officials presented Gross with a collage of photos from his career on the diamond.

In addition to his duties on the field, Gross was umpire-in-chief for the district for several years and helped coordinate training sessions for new umpires. Gross, who was behind the plate on Sunday, will be working at several state tournament games in the coming weeks.

In the U10 championship game earlier in the day at Janzer Field, Simsbury captured their first U10 District 6 title since 2018 with their no-hit win over Avon.

William Haberman was 2-for-3 with a double, single and three RBI for Simsbury with teammate James Maggiore going 2-for-3 with three RBI. Brendan Hodgson and Jacob Charpinsky also had doubles for Simsbury.

The state tournament begins Monday, July 17 in Naugatuck for the Simsbury U10 team.

D6 Major Division championship
Simsbury 2, East Granby/Granby 0
At Plymouth

East Granby/Granby (5-3)   000  000  — 0-3-0
Simsbury (7-0)                       101  00x  — 2-3-0
Jack Hallam, Nolan Anderson (5) and Ryan Willerton; Kareum Skovron-Rasheed, Ryne Van Derwalter (6) and Owen Trythall; WP: Skovron-Rasheed; LP: Hallam; 2B: Owen Trythall (S)

D6 U10 championship game
Simsbury 14, Avon 0
At Plymouth

Simsbury (7-0)              203  27  — 14-14-0
Avon                                000  00  — 0-0-1

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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