Tournaments | Championship | 9/4/2017

ELDC Upper, Under champs

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

Ostingers Baseball Academy 18u takes title at Upper ELDC

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The pitchers were wheeling and dealing. The batters were pressing and stressing. Each of the two teams battling for the championship at the Perfect Game WWBA Upperclass East Labor Day Classic were looking for a breakthrough moment at the plate, but just how long would it take? Exactly 5½ innings, as it turned out.

After being held to one hit and no runs through the first five frames, No. 1-seeded Ostingers Baseball Academy 18u used four hits to push across three runs in the bottom of the sixth, and rode the arm of 2018 right-hander Jeremy Goins to the very end in a 3-0 championship game victory over No. 2 Canes Baseball at jetBlue Park Monday afternoon.

Ostingers Baseball Academy 18u, based in Lithia, Fla., finished the 15-team tournament with a 6-0-0 mark; Fort Myers-based Canes Baseball wrapped it up at 4-1-1.

Ostingers’ Goins and Canes’ 2018 righty Derek Rascher both took one-hit shutouts into the sixth inning before OBA 18u was able to get something going. Kyle Kramer got it started with a one-out single to right field, Gage Young followed with a single to center, and the runners moved to second and third while the ball was coming back into the infield.

That set the table for Case Hannum, who delivered a hard, groundball single through the gap between first and second, which scored both base runners. Brock Hutchinson followed that piece of timely hitting with a double off Fenway South's Green Monster in left, which scored one run; Hannum was thrown out at the plate.

Goins finished with a complete game two-hitter, striking out four without walking a batter. Rascher ended up with a six inning five-hitter, striking out nine and walking two. The Canes’ only two hits off of Goins were a leadoff single in the top of the first from Tate McMenamy and a one-out double in the sixth from Nelson Smith.

It was the second appearance of the tournament for Goins, and he was impressive throughout. He worked 10 2/3 innings without allowing a run on four hits, while striking out 12 without a walk. He was named the co-MV Pitcher along with Ostingers' teammate Alex Marshall.

Ostingers’ 2019 shortstop Nico Saladino was named the MV Player after collecting six singles in 12 at-bats (.500) and driving a team-high six runs.

“Our program preaches ‘play the game the right way’ and go about things the right way, hustle on and off the field, you know, the cliché things that everybody says to do all the time,” Ostingers BA 18u manager Jim Osting said. “I think that our program goes about their business the right way.”

Osting felt like his team came out a little flat on Saturday, the event’s first day, simply because it was the first time the group had been together for the fall season. The players and coaches had a nice talk at the end of the day Saturday and it won its last four games on Sunday and Monday by a combined count of 24-0.

“Across the board, the guys played the game of baseball the right way,” he said.

Looking forward, Osting will send this team to the PG WWBA Florida Qualifier in the hopes of receiving what has been an elusive invitation to the PG WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., in late October. He also plans on sending a team to the PG WWBA Underclass World Championship.

Ostingers BA 18u and Canes Baseball reached the championship game after securing semifinal wins on jetBlue Player Development Complex backfields Monday morning. Ostingers blanked No. 4 East Coast Baseball (2-2-1) out of Coral Springs, 5-0, and the Canes tripped up No. 3 CBC Elite (3-2-0) from San Juan, P.R., 6-3.

2017 WWBA Upperclass Labor Day Classic runner-up: Canes Baseball

2017 WWBA Upperclass Labor Day Classic MVP: Nico Saldino

2017 WWBA Upperclass Labor Day Classic co MV-Pitcher: Alex Marshall

2017 WWBA Upperclass Labor Day Classic co MV-Pitcher: Jeremy Goins

Dominant FTB Tucci-Sindone 17u rules Underclass ELDC

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Dominance – pure, total, unforgiving, unchallenged, unquestioned and unadulterated dominance – was the defining characteristic exhibited by FTB Tucci-Sindone 17u over the past three days at the PG WWBA Underclass East Labor Day Classic.

The domination first showed itself in FTB’s tournament-opening run-rule win on Saturday, continued through three more pool-play run-rule victories and could still be found in a pair of playoff victories on Monday, including another run-rule decision in the championship game.

When a team is capable of putting forth such head-pounding dominance game after game after game, oftentimes all an opponent can do is nod in appreciation and get back to work to see if one day it can reach that level.

Kissimmee, Fla.-based and No. 1-seeded FTB Tucci-Sindone 17u used two walks, an RBI double from Keniel De Leon, a run-producing fielder’s choice groundout and a wild pitch to score three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on Monday afternoon.

It was enough to bury No. 3 Florida Stealth 2019 Founders, 13-1 in four innings, in the PG WWBA Underclass ELDC championship game played at jetBlue Park. It was the fifth time in six games that FTB Tucci-Sindone 17u (6-0-0) won by the run-rule at this event. After winning their four pool-play games by a combined score of 42-0, the Fighting Tucci’s won their two playoff games by a combined 18-2.

“We came into today and yesterday knowing that we could hit a little bit,” FTB Tucci 17u head coach Mike Sindone said. “We kind of had the idea we were going to hit all 11 guys and get everybody their A-B’s on our first weekend out (in the fall). We felt confident that hitting 11 we would be able to turn over the lineup just as well as if we hit nine.”

All an interested observer can say is, “Boy, howdy.” The onslaught in the championship game started in the first inning and didn’t abate until the run-rule ended it after four.

FTB pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning on the strength of a leadoff single from Ben Gilbert, an RBI double from Vaughn Grissom and a Stealth 2019 fielding error. The Stealth 2019 (5-1-0) answered with a single run in the top of the second thanks to a leadoff double from Jiovel Lantiqua and an RBI single from Edinson Renteria Jr., but the Tucci’s were relentless.

JJ Gonzalez-Molina and Anthony Martens both hit one-out singles in the bottom of the second, and both were chased home on a hard, groundball single to right field off the bat of Mike LaRocca. Peyton McIntosh made it four straight singles – still with only one out – and when Ben Gilbert kept the streak going with a single of his own – the lineup’s fifth straight – that drove home LaRocca.

A fielding error brought home the inning’s fourth run and a double from Kevin Martin sent in two more to make it 8-1. At long last, the side was retired. But FTB wasn’t finished.

It plated two more runs in the bottom of the third thanks to a walk to Jacob Herbert, a single from Justin Hobbs, a fielder’s choice groundout and a passed ball. The score was 10-1 heading into the top of the fourth; the first three innings took 1½ hours to play.

The Tucci-Sindone 17u’s Grissom – a 2019 infielder and Florida International commit ranked No. 43 nationally in his class – was named the Most Valuable Player. Grissom played in all six games and went 7-for-16 (.625) with two doubles, a triple, six RBI and six stolen bases.

2019 left-hander Daniel Gaviria made two appearances on the mound and worked seven innings without allowing an earned run on one hit while striking out seven and walking four; he was named the MV Pitcher. It was the pitching – four shutouts in six games – that pleased Sindone the most.

“We didn’t really know about our arms, this being the first weekend, so we were kind of experimenting trying to keep guys under the 45-pitch pitch-count,” he said. “We wanted to take care of their arms going into the next couple of events that we have scheduled.”

FTB Tucci-Sindone and the Florida Stealth 2019 Founders arrived at the championship game by slightly different routes on Monday.

As the No. 1 seed, FTB received a bye into the semifinals where it beat the No. 5 Florida Grinders (5-1-0) from Ocoee, 5-1. As the No. 3 seed, the Stealth 2019 had to beat the No. 6 South Florida Storm (3-2-0) from Boynton Beach in a play-in game, 3-2 in nine innings, and then got past No. 2 FTB Tucci Select (4-1-0) out of Kissimmee, 5-3 in eight innings in the semifinals.

FTB Tucci-Sindone 17u will be at the PG WWBA Underclass World Championship here in October, and based on this performance it will have to be considered one of the favorites to win the whole shebang.

“Perfect Game always does a great job of providing opportunities for our boys, and FTB does the same thing,” Sindone said. “We know every year that Labor Day Weekend is going to be our first of the fall just like Memorial Day Weekend is going to be our first of the summer, so it’s kind of a routine to come to a Perfect Game event for our first and last of each season.”

2017 WWBA Underclass Labor Day Classic champions: FTB Tucci-Sindone 17u

2017 WWBA Underclass Labor Day Classic runner-up: Florida Stealth 2019 Founders

2017 WWBA Underclass Labor Day Classic MVP: Vaughn Grissom

2017 WWBA Underclass Labor Day Classic MV-Pitcher: Daniel Gaviria

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