Tournaments | Story | 7/14/2016

All Out is all in to advance

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – The round of 16 has been set for bracket play of the 2016 16u WWBA National Championship and play is now underway. After two playoff rounds the matchups have been set and by the end of the day only four teams will remain.

Upsets dominated the early round of the playoffs again this week, as they did last week at the 17u WWBA National Championship, as four of the top 10 seeds in the tournament did not advance to the round of 16. Some teams were defeated in close games and some teams withstood comeback attempts to clinch victories.

The highest seed in the tournament to not advance was the No. 2 seeded FBI Fungo. Game On Stealth controlled Fungo from the first pitch and only allowed one hit in their 4-1 victory. Stealth got the scoring started with a sacrifice fly in the first inning to take the early 1-0 lead.

Garrett Brown, the No. 13 righthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2018 and a Georgia commit, started on the mound for Stealth and cruised through three innings. Brown allowed only one run to score and struck out six batters while not allowing a hit.

Stealth would pile onto their lead in the second inning thanks to some timely hitting. Alberto Gonzalez, the No. 7 righthanded pitcher in the state of Texas for the class of 2018, knocked in a run with a deep RBI triple. Justin Kelley came up next and plated Gonzalez with an RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0.

Stealth would cruise the rest of the game as the only run to score for Fungo came on a passed ball in the bottom of the second inning. Hunter Goodwin, the No. 7 righthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2018 and a Georgia commit, and Emerson Hancock, the No. 3 righthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017 and a Georgia commit, would come in to close out the game for Stealth. They combined to allow only one hit and struck out five over the final four innings to secure the victory for Stealth.

The No. 3 seeded East Cobb Colt .45s fell at the hands of the GBG Renegades 6-2. The game was a one-run affair for the majority of the afternoon, but the Renegades were able to pull away in the final innings to finish with a comfortable advantage. Noah O’Donnell, the No. 62 righthanded pitcher in the state of California for the class of 2017, was terrific on the mound as he twirled a two-run complete game. Only one run was earned and O’Donnell struck out two over his outing.

The Renegades were able to push the first two runs of the game across after back-to-back RBI singles. Tanner Smith, the No. 12 outfielder in the state of California for the class of 2018 and an Oregon commit, and Jared Thomas, the No. 3 catcher in the state of California for the class of 2019 and a Miami commit, came through to push the runs across and give the Renegades the early 2-0 advantage.

The Colt .45s would push a run across in the bottom half of the second on an error to bring the score to 2-1 in favor of the Renegades. The score would remain the same through five innings. The Renegades came through on offense to build their lead up in the top of the sixth.

Thomas came through again to knock in a run on an RBI groundout to bring the lead to 3-1. The next batter reached on an error by the shortstop and two runs came across to score on the costly miscue. The Colt .45s would make the most of a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to three heading into the top of the seventh.

The Colt .45s would surrender that run right back in the top of the seventh. The Renegades loaded the bases with a single, walk and a hit by pitch. They pushed a run across on a two-out, bases loaded walk in order to get the lead back to four runs. The bottom of the frame proceeded uneventfully and the Renegades were on to the round of 16.

Texas-based Twelve pulled the upset over No. 6 seeded Team DeMarini in a highly contested 1-0 victory. The score was tied at zero for the majority of the game until Twelve broke through and scored the only run of the game in the top of the sixth inning.

Joseph Menefee, a Texas A&M commit, pitched masterfully for Twelve and kept his team in the game while he waited for offensive support. Menefee pitched five scoreless innings and allowed only three hits and struck out three batters during his outing. Colson Geisler came into the game in the sixth inning and pitched two perfect innings to keep the DeMarini offense at bay.

Both teams would trade scoreless innings with multiple runners on, but no team was able to drive in the baserunners. DeMarini left six runners on base and Twelve left eight runners on base, and missed opportunities would haunt both teams. Twelve finally scored in the top of the sixth inning after a double to lead off the inning and an error to put runners on the corners. Carson Rollins would come through with a sacrifice fly to give Twelve the lead and a spot in the round of 16.

In perhaps the most intense game of the day, No. 7 seeded Team Elite Prime was upset by All Out Baseball 3-1. Emotions ran high on both sides and Team Elite manager Shane Hopper was ejected during the game as All Out was able to outlast Team Elite.

Drew Guldin, the No. 13 righthanded pitcher in the state of New Jersey for the class of 2018, dominated on the mound for All Out. He made it into the seventh inning and he allowed only one unearned run to score while striking out two batters. Guldin credited the command of his two-seam fastball for his success on the mound on Thursday.

“I had good command of my fastball,” said Guldin after the game. “Throwing the two-seamer got me a lot of ground balls and I had good defense behind me.”

All Out struck first on the scoreboard as they pushed across a run in the second inning to take the early 1-0 lead. Following a leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt, an RBI fielder’s choice was able to drive the run in.

Team Elite would have opportunities to score but failed to take advantage of them. In the bottom of the third, they loaded the bases with two outs and were unable to push any runs across. They would also strand multiple runners in the bottom of the fifth and they left nine runners on base for the game.

All Out would push two runs across in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach. Zach Taylor knocked in a run with an RBI single and then their third run of the game came in to score following an error on a pickoff attempt.

Team Elite would score a run in the bottom of the seventh on a passed ball, but they were unable to score any more runs and fell by a final score of 3-1. The upset victory was not surprising to manager Guy Lynam. He is very confident in his team’s abilities and noted that his goal every time he steps onto the field is to win.

“We expected to win,” said Lynam. “They (Team Elite 16’s Prime) have a lot of commits and are one of the premier teams here, but I felt like we had a really good team and a good shot. We walk on the field expecting to win.”

Lynam credits his team’s success to being a complete team with an excellent blend of chemistry. Having players who are as close as a family goes a long way into having overall success.

“We practice every day together,” said Lynam. “We’re not a team that shows up at tournaments, no offense to teams like that, but that’s not the way that we do things. Every guy practices together and I keep telling these guys all week that you can’t teach chemistry. When you get down to the thick of things, chemistry is the biggest thing for us. I think that carries us to another level. These guys literally play for each other. They want everybody to succeed. If one man falls the next guy if waiting to pick him up.

“We say wave after wave like the ocean crashing at the beach. If one guy fails the next guy is going to pick him up. We believe in every one of the guys here and it’s just a great atmosphere.”

Lynam is careful not to get too fired up over the victory today. He knows that there are still games to be played and his team has not won the tournament yet. He is very confident in his team and knows that by game time for the round of 16, his team will be focused and ready to play their game.

“Since we came into this tournament, our no. 1 goal is to win the tournament,” said Lynam. “Until we accomplish that I don’t think we’re going to get too high. That’s a win, a huge win, but we’re going to be grounded and we’re going to know that the first pitch of the next game is the most important. We’re going to slow the game down and let it come to us and not try to create things that happen. We’re going to play the game the right way, play hard, focus, and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”

“I’m ready to move on, we picked up the victory, and we have to keep going,” added Guldin. “Team chemistry is real big on this team, we just have to keep rolling with it.”

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