Little league playoffs underway

Keaton Aliberti follows through on his swing, watching the ball head for the right field fence for a home run against the A's. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Little League playoffs began last weekend, with just one week to weed out the two best teams in the Minor and Major Leagues to compete in Saturday’s championship games at Veira Park.

The Minor League final is set, matching the Rays and Twins, the top two teams in the regular season. The Rays beat the Orioles, 9-6, Tuesday at Nunes Field in Edgartown. Rays starting pitcher Jason Kurth hurled four shutout innings, fanning 10. He also helped his cause at the plate, going 3 for 3.

In the other semifinal, the Twins rolled over the Rockies, 6-0, behind pitchers Cam Napier and Nico Arroyo, who each had three shutout innings.

The Major League playoffs began Monday with the Pirates edging the Cardinals, 7-6. Owen Bresnick scored the winning run after doubling in Riley Amaral, stealing third, and scoring on an errant throw. Jack Sierputoski threw a 1-2-3 sixth to earn the save. The Bucs led, 5-1, after four innings, but the Redbirds fought back to lead, 6-5, in the top of the fifth, keyed by Jack Murray’s two-run double to right.

Tuesday night at Veira, Keaton Aliberti’s three-run homer over the Jay’s Septic sign in right center sparked the Cubs to a 6-3 win against the A’s. Following the blast, the Cubbies scored two more runs on consecutive hits by Summer Cardoza, Max Potter, Zack Vukota, and Andrew Marchand. Leadoff hitter Chris Ferry reached base three times. Rookies Marchand and Aliberti held the A’s to six hits and no walks. For the A’s, Owen Porterfield had two hits and threw three shutout innings of relief.

The playoffs continued Wednesday night with the second-place Tigers taking on the Pirates in the first Major League semifinal. The first-place Red Sox meet the Cubs on Thursday at 5 pm.

Championship Saturday at Veira Park gets underway at 11 am with the Minor League final. An awards ceremony for all leagues will follow. The Major League championship game is scheduled for 1:30 pm.