Tournaments | Story | 6/27/2019

Genesis claims 14u BCS title

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Genesis Baseball (Perfect Game)

FORT MYERS, Fla. – As the start of the championship game at the Perfect Game 14u BCS National Championship approached on yet another steamy 100-degree afternoon in Southwest Florida, the players and coaches from Fort Lauderdale-based and No. 4-seeded Genesis Baseball suspected they’d be involved in a dogfight.

And how, exactly, did they know this? Mostly because each of their previous eight games at the PG national championship tournament had been dogfights, so why would this one be any different?

And, to top it off, on this afternoon they were facing the No. 7 Legends Prospects 14u, a team based in Middleton, N.H., of all places, but also a squad that already had eliminated the playoffs’ Nos. 2 and 3 seeds on their way to the championship. To the surprise of no one, it came right down to the wire.

The Genesis (9-0-0) managed to push across a single run in the bottom of the sixth that snapped a 1-1 tie and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Legends in a championship game played at venerable City of Palms Park near this city’s historic downtown river district.

“I’m proud of the boys and this is the kind of baseball we want to play,” Genesis Baseball manager Frank Pena told PG after all the  obligatory postgame photos had been snapped. “That team we played today (Legends Prospects 14u)  is a heck of a team.”

The game was scoreless through the first 3½ innings before the Genesis managed to push across a run in the bottom of the fourth. Chris Arroyo and Ariel Antigua both stroked singles to lead off the frame and Arroyo eventually scored on a Legends Prospects’ defensive miscue.

The Legends tied it in the top of the fifth when talented two-way 2023 prospect Thomas White received a lead-off walk and after Austin Brune reached on a fielder’s choice, he was able to race home on a two-out single off the bat of John Curran.

Arroyo and Antigua did their thing again with singles to get things started in the bottom of the sixth and Arroyo eventually scored what proved to be the winning run when Mateo Serna received a bases loaded walk.

Genesis 2023 right-hander Nathaniel Coupet got the start and worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing the one run on three hits with four strikeouts and a walk. 2022 righty Derek Yahel Rodriguez worked the last 2 1/3, shutout, hitless innings with a strikeout and a walk.

The Genesis scored their two runs on seven hits and Arroyo and Antigua accounted for four of those seven safeties; each scored a run. White, Curran and Damian Gigante all singled for the Legends Prospects with Curran driving in the lone run. 2022 righty Colin Ensminger threw six innings of seven-hit ball allowing one earned run while striking out two and walking three.

The championship game matchup was actually a rematch. Genesis Baseball and the Legends Prospects 14u met in both team’s pool-play opener back on June 21, and Genesis escaped with a 3-2 victory. White made the start in that game and the presence and poise he showed stuck with the Genesis’ Pena.

“When we played them that first game coming in and I saw their discipline at the plate,” he said. “And that pitcher they’ve got, No. 99 – I think his name is Thomas White – he’s an incredible talent; God bless him and God bless that whole team.”

White is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound 2023 left-hander/first baseman from Rawley, Mass., who has already grabbed the attention of scouts while performing at seven PG events over the last couple of summers.

He made three appearances on the mound down here, finishing 2-0 after throwing 8 1/3 innings of one-hit, shutout ball while striking out 19 and walking three. It was arguably one of the most dominant pitching performances in the history of the 14u BCS and he was named the Most Valuable Pitcher.

And, not to be outdone with a bat in his hand, he was also 11-for-23 (.478) at the plate with a double, a home run, six walks, six RBI and four runs scored and accumulated a 1.238 OPS.

Genesis Baseball’s Fabian Amaro, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound catcher from Puerto Rico, was named the Most Valuable Player after batting 8-for-17 (.471) with a pair of doubles, two RBI and four runs scored.

“If you look at the team overall, maybe one or two of the guys hit a little better than the others but they all contributed,” Pena said. “It’s not about one player, it’s about one team and Perfect Game facilitates that in a very nice way.”

The Legends Prospects (7-3-0) really had to go above and beyond to reach the championship game. As the No. 7 seed, they had to play in a play-in game on Wednesday against the No. 8 seed, which they won.

After that, they beat the No. 2 Central Florida Select in Wednesday’s quarterfinals and then vanquished the No. 3 Florida Hurricanes 14u Platinum in Thursday morning’s semifinals.

“To win of these tournaments … you’ve got to persevere, you’ve got to stay strong,” Pena said. “You’ve almost have to go undefeated to do it and that’s tough to do in the game of baseball. … These are 14 year old kids and they’re still young and sometimes they can be a little immature and overall I’m proud of the way the kids grew up in this tournament.”

In semifinal-round play Thursday at COP, the Genesis beat the No. 8 Elite Squad 14u Outlaws (6-3-0) out of Miami Lakes, Fla., 4-1, and, as mentioned, the Legends Prospects topped the No. 3 Florida Hurricanes 14u Platinum, 3-2.

“That’s what unique about the BCS – you have teams from all over the place,” Pena said. “You get to see a little bit of different pitching, different baseball and the boys showed up. We went 9-0 for the tournament and some of the games were really close; it was really a team effort.”

2019 14u BCS National Championship runner-up: Legends Prospects 14u

2019 14u BCS National Championship MVP: Fabian Amaro

2019 14u BCS National Championship MV-Pitcher: Thomas White

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