2024 30+American

Sand Gnats 5, Boston Havoc 2

Submitted by Spenser Frazier, manager

The Sand Gnats captured the 30+ American Division Championship with a 5-2 win over the Boston Havoc. In a game dominated by pitching, the Sand Gnats were finally able to break through in the bottom of the sixth inning when centerfielder James Garrison’s bunt single turned into a little league home run after a series of throwing errors. Later in the sixth, with runners on second and third, Wesley Wilkes tomahawked a high fastball into left to stretch the lead to 3-0.

The Havoc responded immediately in the top of the seventh as a bases-loaded hit by pitch forced in their first run of the game, chasing starting pitcher Bradley Burdett from the mound. The Havoc added another run on a passed ball to cut the Sand Gnat lead to one before relief pitcher Brandon Whitmore escaped the jam with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

The Sand Gnats offense answered right back in the bottom of the seventh after a Chris Haynes double put runners on second and third with one out and a Garrison RBI fielder’s choice pushed the lead back to 2. However, the Havoc were able to salvage the inning by inducing an inning-ending double play to remain within striking distance of the 4-2 ballgame. Unfortunately for the Havoc, the Sand Gnats would add another insurance run in the bottom of the eight on a Ryan DiGiose RBI single before Whitmore picked off a Havoc base runner in the top of the ninth to end the game with the tying run at the plate.

Burdett picked up the win for the Sand Gnats after tossing 6.1 innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits while striking out eight and walking three. Whitmore earned a save by tossing 2.2 scoreless innings without allowing a hit and striking out four. He was also named tournament MVP for the Sand Gnats after allowing just one run while tossing a complete game in the Gnat’s semifinal win over the Indy Barnstormers. Devon Hellett led the Sand Gnats offense throughout the tournament by leading the team in batting average, hits, total bases, RBIs, and runs scored.