GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Considering this was a squad that Garciaparra Baseball Group's Mike Garciaparra and Yak Baseball West's James Byers assembled only recently, GBG Yak Baseball managed to put a capital 'T' in the word team this weekend.
Led by stellar pitching that allowed just four runs (one earned) over seven games and 42 innings, and an offense that plated 47 runs over that same seven game stretch, GBG Yak Baseball is the newly crowned 2012 Perfect Game/EvoShield National Championship (Underclass) PG National Champion.
Second-seeded GBG Yak (7-0) shutdown the No. 8 San Gabriel Valley (SGV) Arsenal, 5-0, in Monday's PG/EvoShield Underclass championship game played at beautiful Goodyear Ballpark, the Cactus League home of the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians.
It was a perfect capper to a nearly perfect tournament for GBG Yak Baseball, which won its first PG national championship as a newly formed organization.
"This has been unbelievable, man," Garciaparra said. "We came here a little short-handed on pitching ... but then the guys gave up, what, four runs the whole tournament. Our defense was outstanding, and we hit 10 guys in the lineup and it seemed like if ... our four-hole guy didn't get an RBI, then our eight, nine or 10-hole guys would get RBIs or get hits; so talk about a team effort."
If GBG Yak lacked pitching, it wasn't evident during its two games on Monday. Right-hander Austin Fresquez (2014, Placentia, Calif.) threw a complete game, seven inning five-hitter with seven strikeouts in the championship game shutout, and in two appearances pitched nine innings without allowing a run, and gave up six hits while striking out 10 and walking one.
He was named the event's Most Valuable Pitcher.
"When I first went out there I could feel the adrenalin, and it felt really good," Fresquez said of the championship game start. "I felt like I was throwing way harder than I usually do when I went out there, and it just felt good to pitch. I was really excited."
And then he spoke about that "team" thing:
"I came out here with one of my friends from (Eldorado High School) -- (GBG Yak) asked me to come last week -- and I had never played with them before," Fresquez said. "We played good as a team with a lot of people bunting for sacrifices and there was nothing individual about it at all."
Nick Reeser (2014, Lakewood, Calif.) had three of GBG Yak's nine hits in the championship game, including a double, to continue an excellent tournament at the plate. In seven games, he hit .667 (10-for-15) with a pair of doubles, three RBI, seven runs scored and a 1.537 OPS. He was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
"It's been very exciting playing against some of the top kids in the nation," Reeser said. "There are teams that have a lot better players but we were a group; we came together. Even though we didn't know each other from the beginning we really bonded over this weekend."
The unselfishness in the team's play is what stood out to Garciaparra, who played nine years in the minor leagues.
"They played the game: they bunted guys over, they hit-and-run, they sac-flied, they got two-out RBIs," he said. "That stuff happened the whole tournament and I was real confident they were going to pull it off."
GBG Yak Baseball West was formed as an organization in June and a couple of different teams spent the summer playing together. Winning a Perfect Game National Championship was an ideal way to wrap-up the fall season for this underclass team, whose roster consisted mostly of prospects in the class of 2014.
"This group is a fairly new group and to have them come in and do this on a national stage is a huge deal for us," Garciaparra said. "We couldn't be more proud of these young men and what they've just accomplished. I don't think they understand what they just did, but I know the magnitude of what they did and it's very good for them.
"We're going to do some stuff next summer and go to other PG events and keep doing well, and keep winning some titles. That would be great."
GBG Yak Baseball left-hander Calvin Lebrun (2014, Phoenix) struck out 13 in a seven inning two-hitter that led to a 7-1 win over the No. 11 North County Padres in a semifinal game Monday morning.
Reeser, Karl Kani (2015, Sherman Oaks, Calif.), Quinn Brodey (2014, Glendale, Calif.) and Ryan Fineman (2015, Hawthorne, Calif.) all doubled in GBG Yak's 11-hit attack and Nyles Nygaard (2014, Torrance, Calif.) smacked a two-run single.
GBG Yak outscored its three pool-play opponents by a combined 23-1 to earned the playoffs' No. 2 seed, and stretched that run differential to 31-1 when it beat No. 15 Warriors Baseball Academy 8-0 in the first round. It reached the semifinals with a 4-2 win over the 10th-seeded So Cal Cavs in the quarters.
The SGV Arsenal (6-1) scored a run on a passed ball in the bottom of the first inning and somehow were able to make it hold up in beating the 12th-seeded So Cal Bombers 2014 Black, 1-0, in the semifinal round Monday morning.
Left-hander Andrew Matus (2014, Chino Hills, Calif.) worked the first five shutout innings for SGV, allowing four hits and striking out three, and righty Peter Beattie (2014, Chino Hills, Calif.) threw two strong innings of relief without allowing a hit or a run and striking out one.
Scott Hurst (2014, Glendora, Calif.) had two of the Arsenal's five hits, including a double. Hurst, the nation's No. 72-ranked overall prospect in his class and a Cal State Fullerton commit, had an MVP-type tournament of his own, hitting .526 (10-for-19) with four doubles, three triples, seven RBI, eight runs scored and a 1.661 OPS.
So Cal Bombers 2014 Black right-hander Alan Trejo (2014, Downey, Calif.) scattered five hits over six innings and struck out five while not allowing an earned run.
SGV entered the playoffs as the No. 8 seed after winning all three of its pool-play games. It pushed back the No. 9 Arizona Baseball Club Dodgers, 8-4, in the first round, then held off upstart No. 16-seed Lamorinda Baseball, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.
The North County Padres (4-2) lost its second pool-play game to the ABD Boxers but rallied to win the pool championship and earn the playoffs' No. 11 seed. It then pulled one of the first round's biggest upsets by knocking off talent-rich and sixth-seeded Angels Baseball, 5-4 in eight innings, drastically shaking up the bracket.
Playing Sunday afternoon under the hot desert sun, they next tripped-up No. 14 Team CALIFORNIA Baseball in the quarterfinals, prompting Padres head coach Jet Cook to comment: "Every single one of these kids has done something to get us this far; we knocked off a top team and we just kept playing baseball. Their chemistry is just so unbelievably strong and I'm proud of every single one of them."
The So Cal Bombers 2014 Black (4-2) worked their way into the semifinals as the No. 12 seed by winning its pool despite a loss. They then became one of six lower seeds to win their first round games, topping the No. 5 OC Red Sox Scout Team, 7-3, and then escaped the No. 13 Oklahoma Fuel, 5-4, in the quarterfinals.
2012 PG/EvoShield Underclass National Championship runner-up: SGV Arsenal
2012 PG/EvoShield Underclass National Championship MVP: Nick Reeser
2012 PG/EvoShield Underclass National Championship MVPitcher: Austin Fresquez