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!”