by Jason Hanes
It took a pair of wild wins, but a core of NCDB players that has been together for the past three years of baseball will close out their last campaign together as champions.
Following a 6-5 win over Virginia Venom (Neighbor) in the winner’s bracket finale, NCDB made sure that there would not be an if-necessary contest as it held on at the end to defeat the Ohio Spiders, 14-11, to win the 12u championship at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Sunday afternoon.
“Our mindset was to win a championship and come out and do our best as possible,” said Ethan Brittain.
“These kids are tremendous,” said NCDB head coach Jory Coughenour. “They’ve had great coaches that teach them to play the game of baseball the right way, but they’ve got a lot of fight in them. Being up or being down, they never quit. They don’t get in cruise control and roll over, and they don’t get in cruise control when they’re up. From top to bottom, these kids are great kids. They play the game the right way, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The championship game would be a see-saw affair. After a scoreless first inning, both teams found an offense rhythm in the second. Ohio Spiders would put four runs on the board, but NCDB answered right back with four of their own, the final two coming on a two-run homer from Conner Thomas.
Ohio Spiders put another four-spot on the board in the third, but this time, a five-run frame from NCDB would give the side the lead for the first time, 9-8. The Spiders only plated a pair in the fourth, but NCDB answered back with a run to knot the game, 10-10.
A single run crossed home in the fifth for the Spiders, and in the bottom of the frame, NCDB would get the big blow. A four-run inning gave NCDB a 14-11 lead with just three outs left to get.
“Momentum in baseball is huge, especially at the 12u level,” Coughenour said. “It’s probably bigger than a pitcher’s velocity or how a kid can hit a baseball, especially when you’re working with 12-year old minds. There’s a lot of things that can affect them in between their ears. The kids have an even keel about themselves. They don’t get too high or too low. That shows they can stay in it and pull out the close games.”
“We just hyped each other up until the end,” Brittain said. “Every time they scored, we tried to hype it up even more.”
With a championship on the line, Coughenour saved team MVP Jackson Allen for the final inning on the mound. Allen would be dominant, retiring the side in order to deliver the 12u championship to his dugout.
The core group of players, with a few recent additions, have been together for NCDB for the past three to four years.
“This team has an incredible work ethic. These kids want to be at the baseball field every day,” Coughenour said. “They get there an hour early for practice if their parents let them, and they stay late after practice. It’s tough to teach them that.”
“It feels amazing to win this championship, because it’s the last one together for us,” Brittain said. “I just enjoyed them and had the best time with them.”
by Jason Hanes
The rains that washed out most of Saturday afternoon’s games at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals in Myrtle Beach, S.C. made a mess of the Sunday schedule, most especially for teams in the loser’s brackets.
For some teams, it meant having to win four games in one day in order to win a championship. That can be a tall task for any age level, but especially for teams playing in the 9u division.
One team, however, proved to be up to the assignment as the Carolina All Stars won four games in a row on Sunday, closing out the day with a 14-6 walk-off run rule victory over 757 Dirtbags Platinum (VA) to claim the 9u championship.
“This team’s only been together for three weeks,” said Carolina All Stars head coach Matt Phillips. “For them to come together and show the heart and determination is amazing. There were so many bumps and bruises and kids getting hurt, but we finished with the same kids we started with.”
Coach Phillips knows the Sunday success wouldn’t have been possible without the parents of his squad.
“Big credit to the parents too,” he said. “They were like a NASCAR pit crew in there in between every inning, keeping the kids hydrated and fed. It was really awesome.”
The day on Field 8 essentially started with an arrival at 7 a.m. From there, the Carolina All Stars (NC) won the 8 a.m. game over Beaver Valley Red (PA), 11-6. In Game 2, the Carolina All Stars pulled away for a 17-9 victory over TriStar Thunder (TN) to reach the championship round.
“Josh Beam pitched the first game for us,” said Phillips. “I’ve coached him for three years and that is the best game he’s ever pitched in his life. We needed it because we did not have many pitchers left, but we got four solid innings out of him.”
To win the championship, Carolina would need to defeat 757 Dirtbags Platinum twice. In the first meeting, with the score tied going to the sixth, the All Stars plated three runs, then held on for a 9-7 victory to force a deciding game.
In the final game of the tournament, Dirtbags 757 Platinum trailed 11-3, but momentum started to creep towards their side. After keeping Carolina off the board in the bottom of the fourth, three runs would make it 11-6 in the top of the fifth, keeping hope alive for the squad.
However, in the bottom of the fifth, Carolina would walk it off for a win. With two runs already across, Carson Rivenbark would smack a single into right, scoring the winning run and giving his team the 9u championship.
“It felt good to help my team win,” Rivenbark said. “I was just trying to hit it hard to get that run to win the game.”
“This last game was the toughest one,” Phillips said. “(Dirtbags 757 Platinum) had a pitcher in there that was throwing a lot of heat. We found a way to get the bat on the ball and just manufacture runs wherever they could.
“I’m really impressed with our heart and our grit,” he continued. “We got down in a couple of situations, but they just fought back. They never lost that fight; they continued to fight all day.”
Rivenbark had first-hand knowledge on how hard it was in the heat and humidity Sunday, but with a championship under his team’s belt, he knows what to do next.
“It was tough because you could have gotten overheated. Now, I can go to the pool!”
by Jason Hanes
For Invaders Baseball 11u to win the championship at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals in Myrtle Beach, head coach Chad Lockhart knew his team was going to have to work hard and fight for each other, no matter the situation. In the end, the fight paid off.
After a 14-6 win over West Hills earlier in the day to reach the championship bracket, the Invaders (VA) earned a 7-6 walk-off win to force the if-necessary game against Canes 11u NC – Taylor. In the finale, the Invaders wouldn’t be stopped, picking up an 11-3 win via run rule.
“The thing I love about this team, from top to bottom, everyone’s always picking each other up, regardless of what’s happening on the field,” said Invaders head coach Chad Lockhart. “Hats off to them. They fought to the very end and left it all out on the field.”
Two plays at the end of the West Hills game ended up standing out. First, catcher Cody Peck was hit on a swing and ended up with a fractured elbow; however, he stayed in the game to finish the inning. Later in the inning, Connor Leathers snared a line drive in left to keep West Hills off the scoreboard and keep a potential run rule victory intact.
In a 6-6 tie in the first game against the Canes, two fly balls to right easily could have dropped in. However, Carson Melton made two tough catches to keep the game even going into the bottom of the sixth.
“Outfield play has been our Achilles Heel all year long,” coach Lockhart said. “We came into this tournament and we knew we had to go play defense. Our outfielders showed up. Connor Leathers and Carson Melton both just stepped up and came up huge for our team.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Jackson Rosales led off the inning with a grounder that would be thrown wildly to first.
“They made a bad throw, and I saw it get away, so I was just being aggressive and took third,” Rosales said.
After a pair of intentional walks loaded the bases, an offering to Landon Sprouse went to the backstop, allowing Rosales to score the winning run. “I was really excited to get the win!” Rosales said.
“It was kind of scary because you know you didn’t want to lose, but you just had to hope everyone was going to show up and play their best,” said Conner Lockhart.
In the game for the trophy, the Invaders came out hot with three runs to start the game. “I think it took a lot of pressure off of us to help us win that game,” the younger Lockhart said.
“The difference in the last game was heart,” said coach Lockhart. “We worked out all year, we did cardio. We were ready. It sounds crazy in 11u baseball, but it’s important. When you come into tournaments like this, a lot of guys lay down. Our guys had the extra that they needed.”
Peck stayed in the dugout for all of the second game of the day to cheer on his team. He was back from getting x-rays in time for the conclusion of the championship, where he was recognized as his team’s most valuable player and teammate.
“Cody is a workhorse back there,” coach Lockhart said. “Our team stepped up and picked him up. We were really playing for Cody today.”
by Jason Hanes
Two fired-up teams met in the 15u winner’s bracket finale for a ticket to the championship round at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals in Myrtle Beach, S.C., but in the end, it was a dominant starting
pitching performance that iced one side.
Zander Fasulkey went the distance for West Hills, allowing only three runs to help his team to a 7-3 win over Richmond Hornets East, sending his side into Sunday morning’s championship.
“Honestly, in the beginning I couldn’t find my groove. Later in the game, I found it. I honestly picked up more velocity as the game went on,” Fasulkey said.
“He was outstanding,” said second baseman Joe Pustover. “That’s one of the best games I’ve seen him pitch all year. He was perfect.”
Pustover would have perhaps the biggest hit of the game for West Hills in a tie game in the fifth. With two men on, West Hills set the men on base in motion, and Pustover made contact and hit a dropping liner into right.
The ball would bounce past the right fielder and go all the way to the wall. Pustover kept running, making it all the way around the bases to plate three runs and give his side the lead for good.
“At first, I hit the ball hard, so I thought I was going to get thrown out at first,” Pustover said. “I was running down the line, and then I stopped right there. When I saw the ball get past the right fielder, I
just kept on running.”
Things didn’t start out well for West Hills, as Hornets East put an early marker on the board in the top of the first. A triple by Jabril Bullock led to an RBI ground out by Camden Weston to give his team a
In the bottom of the frame, West Hills answered with a pair of runs to take the lead. Noah Prince ripped an RBI triple to the fence in right-center to tie the score. One batter later, a throwing error at
short allowed Prince to score to make it a 2-1 affair.
“That was huge,” Fasulkey said. “I really enjoy pitching with the lead. It’s a lot easier. I’m more comfortable on the mound. This whole tournament, we’ve been putting runs up on the board.”
West Hills tacked on another run in the third, but it could have been much more. With the bases loaded and one out, a fielder’s choice by Dylan Grass made it 3-1. However, with two out in the inning, a ground out to second ended the frame with two runners left on base.
A big hit tied the game up for Richmond Hornets East in the fourth. With two on and two out, Seth Labecki connected for a two-run double to knot up the score.
But once Fasulkey’s team got him the lead back in the fifth, he was nearly unhittable. In the seventh, Fasulkey retired the side quickly and in order, giving his team a spot in the championship round.
“He’s one of our best pitchers,” said West Hills head coach Bill Douglas. “We saved him for today, and we were going to ride him because we knew this was it.”
While many individuals have stood out during the West Hills run to the final, Douglas is most proud of the team aspect of his side.
“We’ve done this as a team-based thing instead of a bunch of kids hoping to showcase their talents. We’ve needed everybody to win, and we have had to do the little things to move on like move the runner over, take pitches when they don’t want to, all those things,” he said.
West Hills will play Sunday morning against whichever team comes through the loser’s bracket. West Hills will only need one win on Sunday to clinch the championship, while their opponents will need to
defeat West Hills twice.
by Jason Hanes
As Tom Petty once sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” For 757 Dirtbags Platinum 9u, the wait was two-fold Friday; however, the results turned out to be excellent from their perspective.
After winning a 10-8 early morning contest over Fielder’s Choice Baseball – Miller, the Dirtbags had to wait over four hours for their next contest. Then, once the contest fired up with Venom Stars from Hickory, N.C., the Dirtbags had to wait for the offense to get going as they trailed 4-1 after an inning of play.
Finally in the second, patience at the plate paid off as a series of walks, stolen bases, and wild pitches led to five runs and a 6-4 advantage. Then the bats got going in the third and fourth innings, as big hits helped lead 757 Dirtbags Platinum to a 13-5 victory in 9u bracket play at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“We played first thing this morning. We got here at 7 a.m. this morning for the early start. It was hot,” said 757 Dirtbags Platinum head coach Shaun House. “Then we had a four-hour break that was closer to five hours. A lot of times, kids will shut down after that long of a break.
"But something this team has been fighting is when you get down early, to fight back and get back into the game. We were down after that first inning, but we fought all the way back, and we had a good positive attitude that helped us take control of the game.”
Leading 6-4, the Dirtbags pushed across three runs in the third thanks to three run-scoring hits. An RBI single by Noah Brooks made it 7-4, then a double to left-center by Ryan Waddell made it 8-4.
“I was just trying to pick up my team and get them going,” Waddell said of his double.
Two batters later, Levi Deshazo singled home a run to give his team a 9-4 cushion.
Waddell would come through with another big hit in the following inning to help stretch the lead. Earlier in the inning, a sharply hit by Matthew Kenick would go off a lunging second baseman’s leg and kick all the way to the wall for an RBI triple. Brooks would then single home Kenick to make it 11-4, with Waddell following suit with another RBI single for a 12-4 advantage.
A wild pitch would bring Waddell home after a couple of stolen bases to cap the scoring at 13 runs in the game for the Dirtbags. The Venom would scratch across a run in the fifth inning.
“When our best hitters were up, we just had to keep going, and get the dugout up,” Waddell said.
The win keeps the 757 Dirtbags Platinum in the winner’s bracket for another early-morning contest, this one Saturday at 8 a.m. against Beaver Valley Red.
Waddell is hoping there will be time for more fun away from the field like he’s had already in Myrtle Beach. When asked what the most fun thing he’s done away from the field has been so far, Waddell had the answer: “Putt-putt with my grandpa!”
by Jason Hanes
After rolling through pool play at Triple Crown Summer Nationals, the Ohio Spiders 12u came into bracket play brimming with confidence as the top seed, but soon, they had their biggest test in the tournament.
Tied 9-9 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Spiders would get a walk-off win via a wild pitch with the bases loaded to defeat the Shelton Climbers, 10-9, to move into the semifinals Saturday morning against the Virginia Venom.
In the bottom of the fifth, Mathius Sprickman led off with a single up the middle. After a walk to Zacary Karhoff, a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position for Andrew Karhoff. Once the count reached 3-1, Karhoff was put on intentionally to load the bases. With Karson Chamberlin standing in, a pitch missed the inside portion of the plate and went to the backstop. Sprickman raced home and slid in before the tag to give the Spiders a 10-9 win.
“We came out a little lethargic, but all in all, we played pretty decent,” said Ohio Spiders head coach Lawrence Wilson. “The other team played really well.”
Things didn’t start out well for the Spiders, as the Climbers raced out to a quick 4-0 lead. Two walks and a hit batter to start the game loaded the bases for Anthony Flashey. Flashey would draw a walk to plate the first run of the game, and the Spiders went to the bullpen with an early pitching change. Andrew Karhoff would get a pair of strikeouts in six pitches, but a two-run double to the fence in right-center by Kyle Howe made it 3-0. A slow chopper to third by Landon Cartwright would go for an infield hit and bring home another run to make it 4-0.
The Spiders would load the bases in the first, but couldn’t get a run across. In the second, the Spiders would roll to six runs to take the lead.
Zacary Karhoff started the scoring action with an RBI double, then after a wild pitch plated another run, Andrew Karhoff’s double made it 4-3. Wild pitches and passed balls led to two more runs, with a sacrifice fly to left by Dominic Sintic finishing off the scoring in the frame.
A sudden rain shower moved through in the midpoint of the game. When the downpour ended 10 minutes later, it left a hot field soaking wet and sent the humidity even higher.
"What impressed me most about my team today was that they were able to overcome this heat,” said Wilson. "We had that little rain come in, and you could see the heat coming up through the turf. I think that’s a big testament to them to keep them hydrated and keep them motivated. Coming from Ohio, we’re not used to this climate.”
The heat can be especially tough on catchers, who must wear all their protective gear, then bounce up quickly out of a crouch if a pitch gets away. Sintic was the one tasked with being put in the sweat box today for the Ohio Spiders, made tougher by the passing rain shower making the ball slippery.
It’s really tough," Sintic said. "You’ve just got to stay hydrated. It helps when pitchers are hitting their spots and having good offspeed pitches.”
A wild pitch gave another run to the Spiders in the third, making it 7-4. But the Climbers weren’t quite done yet. Traveling all the way from Shelton, Wash., the Climbers showed fighting spirit by plating a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Wyatt Depoe’s RBI single to left made it 7-5, then Depoe scored on a two-out single by Dominic Kaptur to pull his side within a run.
Two much-needed insurance runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the inning for the Spiders. Sintic’s single up the middle plated Chamberlin to make it 8-6, then Sintic scored on Tracer Lamaner’s single to put his team up three runs.
The Climbers would reach the summit in the fifth, tying the game in dramatic fashion. With two gone in the inning and the bases loaded, Ajay Jiminez ripped a shot over the second baseman’s head all the way to the fence in right center. All three runs would cross the plate and the Climbers had a 9-9 tie.
Howe worked into the fifth inning for the Climbers, taking a tough-luck loss after fighting hard throughout the game on the mound before being lifted with two men on in the frame.
The Ohio Spiders will now face Virginia Venom (Neighbor) in one winner's bracket semifinal. The Shelton Climbers were victorious in one loser's bracket game later Friday and will now come back Saturday morning for another contest.
by Jason Hanes
Head coach Steve Smith’s Richmond Hornets 15u East squad came to the Triple Crown Summer Nationals to put in work. While there might not be a lot of hotel pool time for his squad in Myrtle Beach, SC, even without any more games to play Thursday, they’re still having fun.
A 14-run fourth inning broke open a 2-1 contest and let the Hornets pull away for a 16-1 victory over Dirtbags 15u Sneed, giving the Hornets the top spot out of Pool A via run differential after three teams finished with a 2-1 record.
“No pool time today!” Smith said with a smile. “We’re here to do our job, but we’re still going to have some fun."
The Hornets put a pair of runs on the scoreboard in the second inning. Seth Lahocki doubled to start the inning, then a single by Camden Weston put runners on the corners with no one out. Kevin Puryear would step up and lace a single to left to plate Lahocki with the first run of the contest.
After a walk loaded the bases, Weston scored on a wild pitch for the second run of the frame. Dirtbags hurler Carson Litchfield would buckle down to get out of the inning, freezing a pair of Hornets for strikeouts, then getting a fielder’s choice to end the inning with his side only down 2-0.
The Dirtbags looked to challenge in the third inning. Mason Fultz led off with a single, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Connor Stephens laid down a perfect bunt for a single to put runners on the corners with no one out. Having a runner on third would be key as a wild pitch allowed Fultz to trot home to make it 2-1.
Like Litchfield in the second for the Dirtbags, it would be starting pitcher Scott Landon who put out the fire for the Hornets in the third. Landon would get a strikeout and a fly out to help end the inning, preserving a 2-1 advantage.
“There was no pressure,” Landon said. “Great defense sparks good offense. If we make good, aggressive plays on defense, it gets us right back in the dugout and gets us on offense, and good things happen.”
The Hornets left the bases loaded in the third, but couldn’t plate anyone. In the top of the fourth, Landon allowed only a walk as the Dirtbags couldn’t tie the game.
"I was doing my best to make them guess on pitches,” Landon said. “If I saw a kid that dove, I’d throw him a fastball, then a changeup in an 0-2 count.”
In the bottom of the fourth, the game was turned on its head. After the first batter for the Hornets was retired via a fly out, the next 12 batters all reached base safely. Adam Lankford had one of the big early hits in the inning as his high chopper off the turf down the line at third went for a two-run single. Jabril Bullock helped the cause with a pinch-hit single to plate a run, then a two-run single by Junmonte Hamiel extended the lead further.
In all, the Hornets scored 14 runs on six hits in the inning, with the last run coming on a wild pitch to end the contest early.
“That’s an excellent team over there,” Coach Smith said of the Dirtbags. “They had some good pitching. They played good defense. (Litchfield) was locating his spots. We had a little bit of trouble hitting the baseball, but that’s what this game is about. It’s about peaks and valleys. In the fourth inning, they had a pitching change, and the bats came alive. We were able to put some pressure on them, and we came out with the ‘W.’”
Richmond Hornets 15u East finishes with a 2-1 record in pool play, matching the records of the Ohio Spiders and RBI Redwings. However, the Hornets 15u East program will take the top spot in the pool based on a plus-15 run differential, the best in the group.
by Jason Hanes
Wrapping up pool play on a cloudy Thursday morning at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Hardknox Blue Jays put a hurt on Cy Young DBacks in 15u action, taking a 20-1 win to go 2-1 in pool play.
“We were just trying to take at the plate until we got a strike,” said Hardknox Blue Jays coach Bradley Arp. “Even after strikes, our guys were seeing the ball well."
A three-run first for the Blue Jays was highlighted by a two-out, two-run single to right by Jaden Bone to cap the scoring. Hardknox Blue Jays starting pitcher Caleb Moran would retire the side in order in the bottom of the inning to keep his team ahead after an inning.
In the second, Hardknox (from Jonesboro, Ga.) showed excellent patience at the plate, scoring 11 runs in all to take a 14-0 advantage. A combination of walks and wild pitches led to the first two runs, then with the bases loaded and no one out, a triple all the way to the wall in right by Lukas Lewis cleared the bases to make it 8-0.
Moran then singled home a run to make it 9-0 to make it six runs on just two hits for Hardknox. Later in the inning, Trent Bailey would drive home a pair with a single as Hardknox finished the frame with 11 runs on just four hits.
Moran allowed a base runner in the second, but the Cy Young DBacks of Cambridge, Ohio couldn’t get anything else going.
It was good, because it’s good to hold them, but it’s good to hold the and allow your team to get a big lead on them,” Moran said. “Going out there up 3-0 to start, it gave me more confidence in my guys behind me."
In the third, a throwing error allowed the first of five runs to score for the Hardknox Blue Jays. An RBI single by Jacob Bradley made it 17-0, and then a pair of ground outs led to two more runs, making it 19-0.
Reliever Jack Morris held the Cy Young DBacks scoreless in the third. In the fourth, Curtis Dickerson’s RBI fielder’s choice gave Hardknox an even 20 runs.
Needing a rally to keep the game going, the Cy Young DBacks would get one run on the board, but they needed more. After infield hits by Alex Walker and Giani Peterson, a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners. Josh Smith then lifted a sacrifice fly to center, deep enough to score a run to make it 20-1.
That would be the only run allowed by Morris on the mound. He would step off and catch a runner trying to steal second to end the game, giving his side the victory.
The win allowed the Hardknox Blue Jays a chance to rebound from a tough 13-0 defeat at the hands of West Hills Black yesterday in the second game of pool play.
"There’s been a lot of positives,” Arp said. “There’s been some negatives we’ve addressed too. For the most part, everyone’s been pretty fired up to be here. I’ve been happy with the energy we’ve brought, for the most part. I’m excited to see how the rest of the tournament goes.”
Thanks to playing in the first game of the day, the Hardknox Blue Jays have the rest of the day off before entering bracket play Friday.
“(The tournament’s) been going well,” Moran said. “We have some things to fix here and there, but I think it’s going to be a fun tournament. Now, I can relax, spend some time with my family, and hang out with my teammates.”
by Jason Hanes
A 3-for-3 performance with six RBI from Thomas Wilson helped lift Virginia Venom-Neighbor to a 14-3 victory over the Myrtle Beach Heat in 12u pool play at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals Wednesday afternoon in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Wilson helped his team to a 4-0 lead in the first inning when he launched a three-run shot over the fence in right-center. He would come through with a two-out RBI double in the top of the third to make it 6-3, then in the fourth, his two-run single into shallow right stretched the advantage to 13-3.
“It’s a good feeling contributing to the team,” Wilson said after his big game. “I want to play the rest of this week better than I played this game.”
“We’re looking good early,” said Virginia Venom head coach Shawn Neighbor. “It’s pool play. It’s early on, and we’re going to keep doing what we do and hopefully the ball keeps bouncing our way. Pitching has been good and the defense has been great. We’ve got a lot of arms left in the tank for tomorrow.”
Coach Neighbor was impressed with one action his team was taking at the plate throughout the two games. “We’re trying to hit the ball to the opposite field,” Neighbor said. “We’re going up there trying to hit it to the opposite field every time.”
Most of the hits for Virginia Venom were to center or right field, including Wilson’s three-run homer. Malcolm Forbes had a two-run ground rule double to right field as part of an eight-run fourth inning that put the game away. Nile Gammon also added three RBI on the afternoon for the team from Williamsburg, Va.
The Venom beat Diamond USA (Tennessee), 10-0, earlier on Wednesday. There are two other teams that won both their games on the day, the Carolina Bombsquad (SC) and the Ohio Spiders.
Wilson also worked on the mound for his squad, which is where he prefers to be. When given a choice between hitting and pitching, Wilson chose the bump. “It’s fun!” he exclaimed.
by Jason Hanes
West Hills completed a perfect opening day of the Triple Crown Summer Nationals by picking up a 12-1 (4) victory over Cy Young DBacks in 11u pool play at Grand Park in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“Staying aggressive on the base paths is something we’ve prided ourselves on all year,” said West Hills (Ohio) head coach Chad Cantor. “We’ve got some guys with some team speed, but our kids are good at reading pitchers, getting good leads, and getting good jumps. We try to take advantage every time we get a guy on base to put pressure on the defense.”
Starting pitcher Sal Magliocco shut down the DBacks (Pennsylvania) with a perfect top of the first, then saw his offense put three runs on the board with all three batters that reached in the inning swiping at least one base.
"(The runs) gave me confidence to be aggressive and not to like try to let them hit it; I could try to shut them out and be aggressive,” Magliocco said.
West Hills tacked on four more runs in the second inning, thanks in part to a two-run single from Matt Sieg that would be misplayed, allowing Sieg to score.
In the top of the third, Cy Young DBacks would scratch across a run thanks to an RBI single from Conner Somogye. That would be the only run of the game allowed by West Hills, with the designated home team tacking on five runs in the bottom of the inning. A two-out, two-run single by Dominic Cumer made it 11-1, with Kaleb Knorr coming home on a double steal one batter later for the final run of the game.
“I tell our kids all the time, the key for our pitchers is to get ahead in the counts,” said Coach Cantor. “First-pitch strikes are key. We’ve got guys with good offspeed pitches so that if we get ahead in the count, we control the at-bat.”
West Hills beat Canes 11u NC-Naylor by a score of 14-1 earlier Wednesday. Two other teams won both their games on Wednesday -- All Out Pack (New Jersey) and Invaders Baseball (Virginia).
With only one game tomorrow, West Hills is looking to get a victory, then enjoy an afternoon off in Myrtle Beach. Magliocco knows what he wants to do with his free time with the family. “I want to go in the ocean and swim!”