By Jason Hanes
Trailing in games had been old hat in some ways for Mid-Atlantic Show Nicolosi, but so had been making comebacks.
Down 4-1 after an inning and a half, Mid-Atlantic Show Nicolosi tied the game after three innings, then took the lead for good with a six-spot in the fourth to win, 12-8, over VA Seminoles – Fletcher to win the 13U Championship at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“We joke around about our guys being all business and we’re used to playing from behind,” said head coach Frank Nicolosi. “We played this Seminoles team yesterday and they got out to a lead, and we were able to scratch and claw our way back. We always know we’re one big inning away from being back in the ball game, and these guys do a great job of scoring in bunches.”
Mid-Atlantic Show Nicolosi went into the bottom of the third down 4-2 thanks in part to a solid play at short by Nick Scheer that saved a run. “I just knew I always had to keep my feet moving,” Scheer said. “Our pitchers did a great job of throwing ground balls.”
In the bottom of the inning, Scheer would connect on a single over second with the bases loaded to pull his side within one. One batter later, Evan Miller walked with the bases still full to tie the game, 4-4.
With pitchers and players getting tired on both sides, Mid-Atlantic Show Nicolosi took a big advantage in the bottom of the fourth. A pair of errors with the bases loaded allowed two runs to score for Mid-Atlantic Show Nicolosi to make it 6-4. After Scheer was hit by a pitch to drive in the third run of the inning, Miller drilled a double to the gap to clear the bases and give his side a 10-4 cushion.
“I just wanted to put the ball in play,” Miller said. “I just wanted to score any run I could and maybe make them make errors. It was huge for us to keep adding runs, because that team is known for coming back, so if they had a big inning, it could have been all downhill for us.”
“What people don’t realize is that the pitchers are tired, but the players are tired as well.” Coach Nicolosi said. “This isn’t like a college roster where you’ve got 12 guys that pitch and that’s all they do. At this age level, most of the time your best pitcher is also the starting shortstop or your starting centerfielder or your starting catcher.”
While Mid-Atlantic Show Nicolosi did add on two more to make it 12-4 going to the sixth, VA Seminoles – Fletcher continued to show the fight that got them to the championship game. A four-run sixth, highlighted by a two-run round tripper off the bat off Jalen German, made it 12-8 and put some added pressure on their opponents.
But with the pressure ratcheting up, Peyton O’Brien came through on the mound. O’Brien would help his team turn a double play to get out of the sixth, then set down the side in order in the seventh to give Mid-Atlantic Show Nicolosi the championship.
Coach Nicolosi said all 13 players on the roster deserved the most valuable player award for the tournament. “I know it might make some people mad, but everyone contributed to this week for us equally and all of them had a big impact on us winning. For us mentally, to come out and only have to play one game in this heat is huge for us and I have to give props to our guys for staying focused.”