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Dodgers top A’s to capture Minors tournament title

If you’re going to beat a team only once in a season, the championship game is the best time to do it.

Such was the case with the North Big Horn Little League Dodgers, who beat the A’s for the first time this season to capture the league tournament Friday evening at the Northeast Little League complex in Lovell.

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Jesse Welling of the Minor League Dodgers scoots into second base as Abby Arnold of the A’s awaits the throw during Friday night’s championship game won by the Dodgers 9-2, concluding the North Big Horn Little League post-season league tournament.

Coached by Ryan and Brandon Mangus, the First National Bank Dodgers advanced to the title game by edging the Bank of Lovell Reds 6-5 on Tuesday. The Reds led 5-1 after a four-run second, but Ethan Price took the mound in relief and slammed the door on the Reds, and the Dodger bats then heated up to score five in the third and take the one-run lead, which held up thanks to Price’s work on the mound, Ryan Mangus said.

Meanwhile, the Ink Spot A’s defeated the Home Tech Solutions Phillies in the other semifinal Tuesday to advance to the title game.

In Friday’s finale, the Dodgers led 2-1 after three innings, then doubled-up the A’s 4-2 after four before exploding for five runs in the fifth to put the game away as Matt Savage ripped a three-run double.

Price went the distance for the win, striking out 11 in four innings of work, though Jason Sumaya’s team hung tough until the Dodgers’ big inning.

“Jason did a good job with his team this year,” Mangus said. “They stayed consistent throughout the whole season.”

Mangus said the A’s had defeated the Dodgers three times during the regular season, and there was also a tie, Mangus said, but the Dodgers had their sights set on the A’s in the tournament.

“My kids just wanted to knock off the A’s,” Mangus said. “Everything came together in this game. They were ready to go. They wanted to play their best against the best team.”

Members of the championship Dodgers were Ethan Price, Ethan Hessenthaler, Mathew Savage, Austin Ballard, Jesse Welling, Jess Wambeke, Tyler Nichols, Dallen Mangus, Dawson May, Emily Mangus, Jacob Mangus and Rhett Partridge.

Mangus said a 9-10-year-old all-star team has been formed and will begin practice this week in preparation for pool play in July leading to the district tournament later in the month.

By David Peck