Unicorns rally for United Shore Professional Baseball League crown
Utica — Down four runs early, the Utica Unicorns rallied in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Westside Woolly Mammoths, 6-5, and claim the United Shore Professional Baseball League championship Sunday afternoon at Jimmy John’s Field.
Malik Blaise, playing on his birthday, went 3-for-4 with a run, and Dan Elliott and Kyle Bonicki each had two hits for the Unicorns.
Nolan Clenney set a single-season USPBL record with his eighth save, finishing with two perfect innings. Luke Dawson threw a scoreless seventh for his first win of the season.
For the Woolly Mammoths, who went into USPBL championship weekend as the No. 1 seed, Sonny Cortez had a home run and two RBIs, and Dan Williams had two RBIs.
Utica made the finals with a 5-3 win over the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers on Saturday, led by the first-ever complete game for Ty Hensley, a former first-round pick of the New York Yankees.
This was the second title for Utica, which won the league’s inaugural one in 2016.
Sunday’s championship game was played in front of 4,926 fans, a USPBL record. The league saw a record 62 sellouts this season, with more than 250,000 attending.
The league saw nine players sign contracts with major-league organizations this season, and for the first time, a USPBL alum played in the major leagues, when right-hander Randy Dobnak got called up by the Minnesota Twins.