PG Select Baseball Festival | General | 9/3/2018

Erickson last standing at Fest

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: PG Select Baseball Festival

Diamondkast Box Score

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Patience is a virtue, and the 44 players involved in Sunday night’s 3rd annual Perfect Game Select Baseball Festival all-star game proved to be the most virtuous of them all. And it ultimately paid off the biggest dividends for the prospects inside the Team Erickson dugout.

A 14u all-star game that inched its way out the starting gate like a herd of turtles – the first three Team Gordon batters reached first base on walks – came to a complete stop 8 minutes in when persistent lightning and rain resulted in a 3-hour weather delay.

The non-beauty contest finally ended in the early morning hours of Monday – Labor Day – with Team Erickson topping Team Gordon by a 7-4 count in an originally scheduled nine-inning game shortened to seven. Six hours passed between the first pitch and the last.

And as even more evidence of the patience the Erickson boys showed, they waited until the bottom of the fourth to collect their first hit, a two-run, pop fly single to leftfield off the bat of Ethan Anderson. They ended up scoring their seven runs on just three hits, taking advantage of three Gordon errors and nine walks from the Gordon pitching staff.

“They were very enthusiastic today. We had that delay and they were sitting around, and they were anxious to get back out there and play,” head coach and former big-league pitcher Scott Erickson said at the end of a very long day.

“Everyone wanted to play the game, which was a great sign,” he added. “They were fired up, and we got the chance to get back out here and have fireworks, they were excited and they’re still having a great time right now.”

There was more than a touch of irony in the fact that the promised postgame fireworks display was set off before the game’s first out was recorded. In fact, Team Gordon – named for head coach and former big-leaguer Tom “Flash” Gordon – had already plated two runs before the first out was in the books.

That was because when play resumed with the bases loaded, Brady House legged-out a two-run, infield single (according to DiamondKast) to the left side that scored both Termarr Johnson and Andruw Jones, who had walked before the long delay. Team Erickson right-hander Hayden Murphy limited the damage by recording three straight outs, including two strikeouts.

There isn’t an easy way to sugarcoat this: it was a difficult game to watch. The two lineups combined for eight hits while the two pitching staffs both recorded 12 strikeouts and nine walks. It seems reasonable to assume that the lengthy delay and the lateness of the hour contributed to at-least some of the sloppiness, but no one was making excuses.

Team Gordon right-hander/shortstop Riley Stanford, a 2022 out of Gainesville, Ga., was anything but sloppy. He was 2-for-2 with a double and a triple at the plate and threw one hitless, shutout inning, striking out one without a walk. He was the only player in either lineup to collect multiple hits and was named the Most Valuable Player.

“That’s my game right there and hopefully I can continue to do it in the future,” Stanford said postgame. “This has been amazing. I’m with the best players, and not only are they the best players but they’re the best people. And the best coaches are here, also. Not only have they taught me to be a better baseball player but they’ve also taught me how to be a better person in general.”

Team Erickson pushed four runs across in the bottom of the second without the benefit of a base hit, using six walks, a hit batsman and a passed ball to do the damage. It led 4-2 after two innings of play and was still getting no-hit.

The Erickson gang scored three more in the bottom of the fourth thanks to Anderson’s pop single, a walk and a couple of errors. Anderson finished with a single, two RBI and a run scored.

It was more of the same in the top of the fifth when the Gordon guys scored two runs – both with one out – thanks to three walks, a hit batsman and a single from Tucker Toman.

There were pitchers on both sides who were spot-on during their short stints on the mound.

Erickson 2022 right-hander Matthew Porchas worked 1 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings, striking out four; 2022 right-handers Hayden Murphy and Dylan Lesko both struck-out two in their one inning of work.

On the Team Gordon side, 2021 right-handers Loreto Siniscalchi and Christian Little recorded their six combined outs with six strikeouts; 2022 righty Nathan Fink struck-out two in an inning on the bump.

The final-round of the PG Select Baseball Festival Home Run Challenge was staged at jetBlue Park about an hour before the game’s first pitch with Andre Arthur (2022, Nassau, Bahamas), Luke Davis (2022, Garden Grove, Calif.), Logan Forsythe (2022, D’Iberville, Miss.), Brady House (2021, Winder, Ga.) and Jeffery Waters (2020, Mableton, Ga.) all taking part.

Those five players had reached the finals after hitting one homer apiece during Saturday’s preliminary round on a jetBlue complex back-field, and one home run proved to be enough to win the competition. It came from House, who was the only one of the five to drop a bomb in the 1½ minutes allotted. He hit it over Fenway South’s own version of Fenway Park’s Green Monster in leftfield.

“I feel like coming out here with these boys and getting in the home run derby loosens up the nerves, especially before the game; I’m just ready to go out here and have a good time,” House said. “To get it over that big ‘Monster’ you’ve definitely got to have that launch angle.”

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