Tournaments | Story | 10/21/2017

Arms carry CSA to playoffs

Bryan Cooney        
Photo: Perfect Game

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The old adage of pitching and defense winning championships is the mantra the Chicago Scouts Association has taken at the Freshman WWBA World Championship.

Dominating work from eight CSA pitchers, who have yielded an astounding four hits in 21 innings and just one lone unearned run have the Midwest club through to the playoffs where they will have a chance to duke it out for the championship among the last 16 teams.

Andy Deain, in his first year with the CSA organization, has been more than thrilled with not only the effort his club has shown in the first two days of this event, but how they adjusted to the environment of playing in this prestigious event with everything on the line.

“Having our first game Friday in the stadium, I could tell our kids were a bit taken aback,” Deain said. “With the surroundings, the stage may have been a bit too big for them at first. It took us a little while to get our feet underneath us and realize it’s still 60 feet, six inches and 90 feet. Just go play baseball. We were able to scratch across the two runs and our pitching was outstanding combining for a no-hitter.”

Against the South Jersey Sand Sharks Hayes, CSA starter Grant Comstock (2021, Valparaiso, Ind.) worked the first 3 1/3 innings, striking out four batters. Tylor Phommachanhom (2021, Jolliet, Ill.) followed Comstock with three impressive frames, striking out seven.

In the midst of the excellent pitching, CSA picked up their two runs in the fifth, as Benjamin Lloyd (2021, Pleasant Prairie, Wis.) brought home the first run on an RBI groundout and Q Phillips (2021, Wauwatosa, Wis.) knocked home a run on a single to right field.

Noah Miller (2021, Fredonia, Wis.) closed it out for CSA on the hill, picking up the 12th strikeout of the game in the process for CSA pitching to complete the no-hitter.

As well as that performance went Friday, Saturday morning’s outing by righthander Tyler Fullman, the No. 91 ranked player in the class of 2021, may have been the top outing out of any in the Freshman event thus far. Working in the 85-88 mph range, while sprinkling in a 72-74 slider, Fullman (2021, Homewood, Ill.) was nearly unhittable himself in the early going against Power Baseball 2021, as the first six outs he recorded were via strikeout.

CSA was able to give Fullman an early lead to work with, as Steven Sanderson (2021, Chicago, Ill.) used a great two-strike approach to line a single to right-center field to score George Korompilas (2021, Northbrook, Ill.) from second to make it 1-0.

Fullman continued to impose himself on the Power Baseball lineup, picking up two more strikeouts in the third. He allowed a leadoff single to open his fourth inning of work, but promptly picked off the runner and continued mowing down batters into the sixth inning, continuing to hold the 1-0 lead.

Phommachanhom’s bases-loaded walk in the top of the sixth made it a 2-0 CSA lead, but after Fullman walked the leadoff man in the home half, Carter Doorn (2021, Schererville, Ind.) entered for the righthander, who finished with 10 strikeouts in his five-plus innings of work. Doorn picked up a big strikeout with first and second and one out, and was helped even more on a brilliantly executed back-pick on a pitch to the ensuing batter in which catcher Camden Janik (2021, Wauconda, Ill.) threw a laser on the money to nail the trail runner to keep the game 2-0.

CSA again needed to go to the bullpen after Power Baseball loaded the bases with nobody out and called upon Lloyd to try and lock down the victory.

After a fine stop and throw home for a force out by third baseman William Pauling, Lloyd got another ground ball that Pauling (2021, Flossmoor, Ill.) fielded by the bag and his touch on third and perfect throw across essentially wrapped up CSA’s spot in the playoff round by moving to 2-0 in pool play.

For Fullman, his performance Saturday will surely open up even more eyes to those that may not know too much about the Homewood, Ill. native and what is all about.

“I’ve been working hard and focusing on using my lower half better this whole summer and it turned out good for me, picking up a few miles an hour on my fastball,” Fullman said.

Fullman feels there is a comfort factor with the CSA organization as far as his continued growth in concerned and hopes there is much more improvement to come.

“I feel like I need to get my breaking ball over for strikes more, mix it up some more,” Fullman added. “I really feel comfortable on this team and I hope to continue to keep getting bigger and stronger. That’s my plan going forward.”

In the final pool play game, CSA’s Aubrey Yarbrough along with Lloyd combined to allowed just a lone hit, but the bats were unable to push across any runs as they fell 1-0 to Canes Gold 2021.

With a chance to do some big things in West Palm Beach, Deain also wants his kids to remember to enjoy the moment of playing in a high-pressured environment regardless of the outcome.

“These kids have been grinding it out since April, and they will roll right their high school seasons,” Deain said. “We haven’t put up a lot of runs, but we’ve barreled some balls up right at guys. We keep a chart of quality at-bats and it keeps the kids from not trying to do too much. They’re really into it and it’s something I’ll probably always have with them to go off on.”

With a group of kids from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin all coming from different schools, Deain has noticed one aspect of the kids from his team do that not many others display: coaching each other up and not being afraid to try and help one another.

“For a kid from Wisconsin to go coach up a kid from Indiana without knowing much about each other, that’s unbelievable to me about this group,” Deain said of his team’s character. “As a coach, nothing makes me happier. The wins and losses don’t matter so much, we just want to play good baseball.”

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