FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jared Goodwin and his FTB Mizuno-Chandler squad would have loved to have hoisted the 18u PG BCS Finals national championship trophy, get their team photo taken holding the 18u BCS Finals national championship banner and get fitted for their PG national championship rings while milling around on the field at Hammond Stadium Wednesday afternoon.
That scenario of perfection didn't quite play out; Mother Nature had her own agenda on this day. But even with all the postgame pomp and circumstance put on hold, FTB Mizuno-Chandler can proudly claim itself the 2013 18u PG BCS Finals National Champion.
Persistent lightning and heavy rain forced the cancellation of the championship game with second-seeded FTB holding a 4-1, fourth inning lead over No. 13 Team IMPACT. After an hour and a half delay and the local weather radar indicating no relief in sight, Perfect Game officials cancelled the remainder of the title game, and declared FTB Mizuno-Chandler (10-0) the champion; the decision was based on its 4-1 lead after four and the fact they were a higher seed than Team IMPACT (7-3).
"We've been in a lot of final fours and finals in Perfect Game (national championship tournaments) -- we got walked-off a couple of times and stuff like that -- so this is actually our first national title," Goodwin said. "We've won six or seven Perfect Game events but this our first WWBA or BCS (national title). We're excited about it, for sure, but obviously we would have liked to finish it on the field. We had four arms left ... and we felt really good about what could potentially happen over the later innings."
FTB Mizuno-Chandler trailed, 1-0, heading into the bottom of the fourth when it took charge of the game. Nick Longhi (2013, Venice, Fla.) hit a two-run triple and Ryan McCullers (2014, Tampa, Fla.) followed with an RBI single to give FTB its final 4-1 lead. Right-hander Nick Gordon (2014, Windermere, Fla.) threw four innings of two-hit ball and allowed one earned run before the teams were pulled from the field due to nearby lightning activity.
Seven FTB prospects hit .400 or better during the 10 games they played over six days. Gordon hit .458 (11-for-24) with two doubles, a triple, a home run, five RBI and 11 runs scored; Tyrone Perry (2015, Avon Park, Fla.) matched Gordon's .458 (11-for-24), with two doubles, two home runs, five RBI and nine runs; and Gunnar Lambert (2014, Oviedo, Fla.) hit .438 (7-for-16) with two doubles, a triple, home run, five RBI and six runs, with a team high OPS of 1.571. Longhi hit .333, blasted three home runs and drove in 11 runs.
Goodwin used 16 pitchers to cover 57 innings, and they combined to surrender 42 hits and post a 1.72 ERA with 76 strikeouts. Right-hander Alex House (2014, Winter Park, Fla.) was the only one to work more than 6 innings -- and there were only two others that worked that many -- stepping up for a win and a save in 7 2/3s, while allowing six hits and one earned run (0.91 ERA) with seven strikeouts and no walks.
"I was especially pleased with our play on the mound, with some of our biggest guys going down to TOS (Tournament of Stars)," Goodwin said. "It was nice to see some of these 2015 kids step up to the plate and have a great tournament. They did so well we didn't even have to throw Nick Gordon -- one of our big guns -- until the championship game."
FTB used a six-run third and three-run fourth to build a 10-3 lead through four innings, then held on to escape the 11th seeded Florida Express, 10-9, in one semifinal Wednesday morning at the Lee County Sports Complex. The Express (7-2) rallied with three in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh, and had runners on second and third when the final out was made in the top of the seventh.
Mizuno-Chandler's Perry was 3-for-3 with a pair of no-doubt homers, drove in three runs and scored two more to lead FTB's 13 hit attack, which included four doubles and the two dingers.
Keyshawn Lynch (2015, Lake Hamilton, Fla.) was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI; Gordon was 2-3 with a double, RBI and two runs; and McCullers and Juan Hillman (2015, Haines City, Fla.) each had two hits and doubled.
Garrett Anderson (2013, Arcadia, Fla.) went 3-for-3 with a double, RBI and a run scored to lead the Florida Express (7-2).
FTB Mizuno-Chandler made easy work of No. 15 Florida Barons Baseball (3-4) by a 10-4 count in the playoff's first round. It sent No. 10 Nelson Baseball (6-2) by the wayside in the quarterfinals, 4-1.
Florida Express used outstanding pitching in the first rounds of the playoffs to reach the semifinals. The No. 6 McHenry County Hurricanes (5-2) fell to the Express, 7-1, in the first round and the No. 3 All American Prospects (6-1-1) went by the wayside in the quarterfinals, 5-1.
Team IMPACT reached the title game by blowing past No. 9 Orlando Baseball Academy 2014, 9-1, in the other semifinal Wednesday morning. Rico Sotto (2014, Naples, Fla.) continued his torrid tournament pace by going 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and three runs; Harrison Ayres (2014, Naples, Fla.) was 3-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBI.
Right-hander David Oliger (2014, Naples, Fla.) and lefty Mason Kleist (2013, Naples, Fla.) combined on an efficient seven-hitter, giving up one earned run with six strikeouts and two walks.
Jack Shenton (2014, Maitland, Fla.) hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth for Orlando Baseball Academy 2014 (4-3-2).
Team IMPACT pulled off one upset after another in reaching the semifinals. No. 4 Naturals Florida (5-2) was dropped in the first round, 15-6, and No. 12 Florida Burn 18u (5-3) was eliminated in the quarterfinals, 8-3.
Orlando Baseball Academy 2014 completed its two sets of pool-play with an overall record of 2-2-2 and entered the playoffs as the No. 9 seed. It got past the eight-seeded Hialeah Warriors, 4-2, in the first round and then eliminated the Florida Burn Upperclass (7-1) -- the playoff's No. 1 seed -- in the quarterfinals, 7-4.