RAPIDS, Iowa – In what looked like a potential blow out early on,
the 2014 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship game quickly turned
into a nail biter. The Reds Midwest Scout Team were the eventual
winners, beating Cangelosi Black 2015 11-6 in 10 innings, as the Reds claimed their
third Kernels crown.
The Reds jumped out to an early 5-0 lead after two innings, only to have Cangelosi battle back, twice, to make a game out of it and force extra innings.
fall we've found ways to win,” Reds Midwest Scout Team Head Coach
Andy Stack said after the game. “We had to do that today. We kind
of coasted out to an early lead and the guys stop throwing strikes.
We didn't really hit all weekend, we hit enough just to win every
on in the tournament we got really good pitching, and for a couple of
innings there are pitchers just ran out of gas, guys coming back
throwing a second time. We're proud of the kids for how they stayed
with it and got a big win at the end.”
the win Stack and his Reds Midwest Scout Team receive an automatic,
paid invitation to the WWBA World Championship to be played Oct.
23-27 in Jupiter, Fla.
Reds scored four runs in the top of the
first, adding another run in the second. Three-hole
hitter Ethan Skender, who was named the event's Most Valuable Player,
had the biggest hit in the opening frame, an RBI triple, and followed
that up with a RBI base knock in the second, doing most of the early
damage for the Reds.
feels amazing,” Skender said. “I've been playing with this team
for two years. I love playing for Stack. This is a special team right
here, we're going to make a good run at Jupiter and we're going to
finish this fall really strong. I'm excited to see what's ahead.
the Reds' early lead seemed fairly commanding at the time, Cangelosi
Black battled back in the bottom of the third with four runs of their
own to make it a 5-4 game. Anthony Faron and Mark Khoury each hit RBI
singles and gave new life to the team.
added another run in the fifth to pull even with the Reds, as Matthew
Gruber drove home Faron -- who led off the inning with a double -- with a
Reds Midwest Scout Team answered quickly with a run of their own in
the top of the sixth to pull ahead 6-5 when Skender hit a sharp
single to left field that was misplayed by the outfielder and rolled
to the warning track. Cole Daily scored from first on the play, with
Skender ending up at third.
not the most orthodox approach to hitting, but the guy just finds a
way to put the barrel on the ball and hits a lot of balls very hard,”
Stack said of Skender. “The strength and bat speed in his swing is
pretty impressive. He's been a very good hitter for us for two years,
really good numbers down in Jupiter for us as an underclassmen and
he's just been light's out for us. He's our go-to guy.”
once again Cangelosi came right back, scoring another run in the
bottom of the sixth when Brett Stratinsky hit a hard ground ball that
Reds second baseman Mitch Boe couldn't handle. The play scored Ryan
Kairis and tied the game at 6.
game remained knotted at 6 until the 10th inning when the
Reds Midwest Scout Team scored five runs to put an exclamation mark
on their championship. Joshua Stowers hit an RBI single to start the
scoring, which was followed by an Ethan Skender sac fly. Chris Botsoe
put the game out of reach by driving in a pair thanks to a sharp
single up the middle and Scott Kapers finished the scoring with an
RBI single to left.
was the first time since 2011 that the Reds Midwest Scout Team had
won the WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship, also taking the event
in 2009. The Reds had also claimed the upperclass portion of the
inaugural Central Labor Day Classic held in Des Moines, Iowa earlier
been our thing all fall. We've only had one loss in 15 games. It's
never been pretty, but we keep finding ways to do it and come out
with a win. I
think that's a testament to the kids and how they've jelled. Early on
in the Des Moines tournament we kind of came together in winning that
thing. You see it out here. We never give in, we make plays when we
need to and come up with big hits. Finding a way, finding a way.”
Reds entered the playoffs on Sunday as the No. 4 seed after allowing
only four runs to score during their 3-0 start to the tournament.
Cangelosi Black 2015 was the No. 3 seed, also allowing only four runs
in pool play.
went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI and a run scored in the game, and overall
went 6-for-15 (.400 batting average) in the tournament. Skender was
also named the MVP for the Reds at the aforementioned Central Labor
you can help your team it's a great feeling,” Skender said of his second MVP award in the month of September.
Cal Jarrett worked the final three innings for the Reds, keeping
Cangelosi off the board to earn the win.
the semifinal game prior to the championship contest, St. Louis
Gamers 18u starter Michael Plassmeyer, last year's Kernels Foundation
Championship co-Most Valuable Pitcher, and Malcolm Grady of the Reds
were sharp over the early innings. The teams traded single tallies in
the first and second innings before the Reds blew the game open in
the bottom of the fourth, and finished the game with a 5-1 victory on
their way to their championship matchup with Cangelosi Black.
Reds scored four runs in the fourth, with Tyler Paulsen providing the
big hit, a two-run triple that he sliced down the right field line.
ended up going the distance, allowing just the first inning run. He
allowed only three hits and two walks while striking out four,
keeping hitters off-balance by complementing his 87-89 mph fastball
with a sharp low-70s breaking ball.
That performance led to him being named the event's Most Valuable Pitcher.
feels great,” Grady said of his team's championship. “Me and my
brothers right here, we've been tough through the fall, we've been
working hard and it's paying (off) as we're going to Jupiter.”
been unbelievable for us this fall,” Stack said of his star
pitcher. “Kind of came in as a kid that I wasn't sure what to
expect. I saw him at a tryout camp (where he was) 83-85, I like the
body and the delivery and he's made really good strides. He works
hard at baseball and he did an outstanding job.
told me in the fifth or sixth inning 'You're not taking me out of
this game coach.' So the plan was to use him for about five and get
another guy in, but once he got on a roll I just said 'go get 'em big
boy because you're throwing the hell out of it.'”
semifinal complete game victory was Grady's second appearance in the
tournament, posting a 1-0 record and spotless 0.00 ERA over his nine
innings of work.
the first semifinal game of the day, Cangelosi knocked off Chicago
White Sox ACE 8-0 in five innings. Cangelosi jumped on the White Sox
early, scoring three in the first, one in the second and four in the
third leading to the run-rule victory. Alex McGimpsey and Alex Ragusa
both hit two-run singles, with McGimpsey also adding a sac fly,
giving him three RBI in the game.
Robert Talarico faced one batter over the minimum in going the full
five innings. He struck out four and allowed only one base hit while
inducing 10 ground ball outs.
Saturday night Jordan McFarland of the St. Louis Pirates claimed the
2014 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship Home Run Derby title.
McFarland, an infielder from the class of 2016, has committed to play
for Arkansas and is currently ranked 174th in his class.
2014 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship runner-up: Cangelosi Black 2015
2014 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship MVP: Ethan Skender, Reds Midwest Scout Team
2014 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship MV-Pitcher: Malcolm Grady, Reds Midwest Scout Team