2004 WWBA 06 Grads/16U National Championship

 

Championship Game Summary

 

In an outcome unprecedented in WWBA history, two teams shared top honors in the 2004 World Wood Bat Association 16U National Championship.

 

Upper Deck and the Florida Red Wings played to a thrilling 3-3 tie over 10 innings in the championship game, held at Olivet Nazarene College in suburban Chicago on July 24.  The game was called on account of darkness as the stadium does not have lights.

 

Both teams had won equaling exciting 7-6 contests in the semifinals to reach the championship.

 

Upper Deck entered the semifinals with a 4-1 record, their only loss being a 5-4 decision to the Red Wings in pool play.  They jumped out to an early 5-2 over ABD after three innings in the semifinals behind the pitching of RHP Blake Dean.  Dean struck out seven over the first four innings, allowing only two hits and two unearned runs.  Dean had earlier struck out nine in five innings in a no-decision versus the Red Wings.

 

ABD tied the game with a single run in the fifth and three runs in the top of the sixth, the key blow being a two out, two run single by CF Scott Berke, who was 3-3 in the contest.  Upper Deck scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth on a squeeze bunt.

 

The Florida Red Wings entered the semifinals with a perfect 5-0 record.  They moved out to an early 4-0 lead early in the semi-finals against the Columbia Angels and were still leading 4-3 until the Angels scored three runs in the top of the 7th to take a 6-3 lead.  The Red Wings wasted no time scoring three runs in the bottom of the 7th, putting together two walks and three singles without an out.  DH Ralph Arrojo had the game winning single.

 

Florida scored two runs in the second inning, the key hit a leadoff double by Arrojo, to take the early lead in the final game.  A two-out single by Upper Deck 3B Ryan Bouck tied the score at 2-2 in the 5th.  Florida took a 3-2 lead in the 6th on a squeeze bunt by 2B Keith VanderVoord, only to see Upper Deck scrape out a run in the 7th to tie the score again.

 

The Red Wings held the definite advantage during the three extra innings but as the home team couldn’t push a run across.  They had two singles but left both runner on in the 8th inning.  They loaded the bases with one out in the 9th but a strike out and a easy fly ball gave Upper Deck another chance.  With darkness falling, the Red Wings put runners on first and second with one out but again couldn’t score.

 

“We’re sorry we couldn’t crown a champion,” said PG/WWBA National Director Jason Gerst, “but we had some great games that last day that just pushed the schedule too far back.  Every time I turned my back to chase a foul ball or something during that championship game, I thought I’d turn around and see the game ending.  But the kids on both teams played well and didn’t want to come off the field.”

 

Florida Red Wings outfielder Marlon Pascual (Champagnat Catholic HS, Hialeah, FL) was named Most Valuable Hitter for the Tournament.  Pascual was 10-16 with 9 runs scored entering the championship game, where he went 0-5.

 

Columbia Angels LHP Brandon Belt (Lufkin Hudson HS, TX) was named Most Valuable Pitcher.  Belt, a lean 6-3 southpaw who already touches 86 mph, picked up a save early in the tournament and came back later with a 7 inning, two-hit, 11 strikeout shutout win.

 

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