Tournaments | Story | 10/2/2017

NBS wins National Qualifier

Greg Gerard        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – After coming from behind, Nelson Baseball School 18u Black defeated the Upstate Mavericks ST by a score of 8-2 to win the 2017 WWBA National Qualifier. With the win Nelson Baseball School has earned a paid invitation to play in the 2017 WWBA World Championship October 19-23 in Jupiter, Florida.

Nelson scored an early run in the top of the first as Blake Evans singled to lead off the game and was followed by an Ethan Anderson two-out triple to deep center field to drive in Evans. Nelson would also receive a good start on the mound from Ethan Underwood who pitched to contact well going 4 2/3 innings, striking out one.

Upstate tied the game in the third inning thanks to a Jackson “Sonny” Dichiara RBI single that drove in Jett Kern, who also singled in the inning. In the fourth inning, Upstate would take the lead as back-to-back-to-back-to-back hits by Johnny Cook, Makenzie Stills, Timmy Conway and Kern would lead to the go-ahead run for the Mavs, making the score 2-1 after four innings of play.

The next half inning the floodgates would be opened for the Nelson offense as they put a crooked number on the scoreboard in both the fifth and sixth innings. To lead off the fifth inning, Nick Blubaugh would grind out a nine-pitch at-bat that would eventually lead to a double. Zach Elmy would follow suit with a double of his own to score Blubaugh, making the score 2-2. With two outs in the inning and the top of the order up, the Nelson offense would put together four more runs. An RBI single by Blake Evans and a hit by pitch by Mickey Maguire would bring Isaac Bouton to the plate. Bouton put a strong swing on an 86 mph 1-2 fastball and sent it over the left field fence for a three-run home run.

The Nelson offense would put two more insurance runs together in the sixth inning. Nick Blubaugh led off the inning with a single, stole second and was driven in by a Tres Gonzalez double to center field. Blake Evans, who was the hitting leader in the championship game for Nelson, drove in Gonzalez with a double of his own for the final run of the game.

Bouton would come in to the game to pitch the final two innings of the game for Nelson to close out the win. Bouton, like Underwood, pitched to contact and was sent to the bottom of a dog pile by his teammates after the last out was made in the seventh inning.

Coach Clay talked after the game about how it felt to earn a berth to Jupiter.

“It feels great,” Clay said. “We faced a lot of really good teams and we came prepared to play. It was the most fun I have ever had on the baseball field.”

Nelson’s offense was on display all day on Sunday as they played three consecutive games and logged a total of 33 hits in those three games.

“It’s all in our approach,” Clay said of his offense. “These guys came ready to hit today, we work on our approach everyday in BP, and we didn’t miss many fastballs. We didn’t miss many pitches at all and hitting is contagious.”

The MVP of the 2017 WWBA National Qualifier was Joey Gill of Nelson Baseball School who went 7-for-18 (.389) with a double, a home run, three RBI and three stolen bases.

The MV-Pitcher of the tournament was Mitchell Gross of Upstate Mavericks ST who tossed 3 2/3 innings of one hit ball with 10 strikeouts.

2017 WWBA National Qualifier runner-up: Upstate Mavericks ST

2017 WWBA National Qualifier MVP: Joey Gill

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