The Marlins are the 2014 National Little League Majors champions, after keeping a battling Dodgers team at bay on Friday and pulling off a 5-3 victory.
“It was great. We have talked all year, obviously, about playing the game right, but we also spoke about not being too high after a win or too low after a loss, tonight was a big game and so we will let the kids celebrate, but we still have some games that we need to play,” Marlins head coach Craig Redman said.
Despite being tied 2-2 heading into the third inning, and then a sixth inning rally, the Dodgers weren't able to topple the Marlins.
“It was a good team play; it was well played and a good championship game. [It was a] great season, I am proud of our guys, and the Marlins are a very good team, very well coached and good throughout all around, they deserve to win,” said Dodgers interim head coach Brian Weatherbee.
Both teams battled from start to finish. The score read 2-2 heading into the third inning, but a run would come the Marlins way to go up 3-2 by the end of the inning.
In the fourth, the Marlins’ starting pitcher Brady Gutierrez hit a two-run homer to put his team up 5-2. Gutierrez's pitching also led his team into the sixth and final inning, finishing the contest with 5 and 2/3 innings pitched , allowing only two runs as he picked up the win in the season's most important league game.
“Brady [Gutierrez] had a big night, took care of the game on the hill and hitting as well,” Redman said. “Especially the way he was throwing, and to come out offensively and gave us a big boost, he clutched up big time for us.”
The Dodgers starting pitcher in Ronnie Martinez gave the team five strong innings and kept the Marlins hitters off balance, despite allowing five runs and picking up the loss.
“He [Ronnie Martinez] pitched really well and was hitting spots and changing speeds very well, I was very proud of him, probably the best he has pitched,” Weatherbee said. “We had a good mix of kids that worked hard together and had timely hits and pitching all year; it was a fun game.
Finally, in the top of the sixth, the Dodgers rally came with two outs after Julien Valdes walked followed by a hard single from Tyson Weatherbee.
By this time, the Marlins had called on Bryson Partida with two outs to take over on the mound and he allowed Blake Teeples to get the RBI double to drive in Valdes, but then Partida handled Joey Crivelli for the final out, leaving the tying run on second.
“We made our come back at the end and the kids battled and did a great job,” Weatherbee added.
The city league title game will take place sometime after Tuesday and the time and official day have yet to be scheduled.