What were the best moments from the Red Sox-Orioles Little League Classic?
On Sunday evening, the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles faced off in unfamiliar, yet friendly confines.
Down in Williamsport, Pennsylvania for one night and one night only, the Sox and O’s relived their childhoods by playing in the Little League Classic, held annually since 2017 at Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, the second-oldest ballpark in the minors. This was the first time any American League East teams competed in the Classic, and the game had some incredible highlights.
Here are five can’t-miss moments:
1. Alex Cora shared how much Little League means to his family
For Sox manager Alex Cora, the Classic wasn’t just about the nostalgia of childhood, it was also a source of deep pride. His father founded and ran Puerto Rico’s Caguas Little League:
"“For us, Little League is our passion. Dad, he founded the league in 1969, and there’s been a lot of big leaguers that came from our program. But like my mom says, a lot of professionals came out of our program, and that’s the most important thing. If you ask my dad, probably he’ll be more proud of them than the handful of big leaguers we actually produced. That’s what Little League is all about. Structure and discipline and everything that comes with it to become a professional.”via MLB"
The Sox manager also called Sunday one of the greatest days of his entire baseball career.
2. JD Martinez continued birthday tradition
For the eighth year in a row, JD Martinez collected at least one hit on his birthday. He turned 35 on Sunday and celebrated by ripping a double.
A free agent after this season, it will be interesting to see where and for how long he’ll keep this tradition going.
3. Franchy Cordero hit a game-tying pinch-hit home run and Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th of the year
Franchy Cordero came up from Triple-A as the 27th man for Sunday’s game in Williamsport and seized the opportunity in a big way.
While Cordero has no problem raking in Worcester, hits typically elude him at the big-league level. But on Sunday night, he came up clutch off the bench, smacking a 358-foot pinch-hit home run to tie the game in the eighth.
Home runs, in general, are an issue for the Sox this season. Coming into the Little League Classic on Sunday, only 11 teams had fewer homers. Rafael Devers is the only player on the roster with 20+.
Weirdly, all five of Cordero’s home runs this season have been hit on Sundays.
The following inning, after the Sox had fallen behind once again, Xander Bogaerts crushed his 10th homer of the season, a much-needed show of power after a very rough stretch.
4. Nick Pivetta pitched a gem
Nick Pivetta pitched in the Little League Classic with the Phillies in 2018, but things went significantly better the second time around. Over 5 2/3 innings, he allowed two earned runs on six hits, walked one, and struck out nine.
And if not for some bad umpiring (what else is new?), he might have thrown a shutout.
5. Sox players got to act like kids again
In an incredibly rough season in which these guys often look frustrated, it was nice to see them find the fun, bonding with the Little Leaguers and reliving their own childhoods.