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Tournaments | Story | 7/20/2019

Upsets abound at Prospect Meadows

Annika Wall        
Photo: Josh Krulich (Perfect Game)

MARION, Iowa – With day one of playoff action done at the WWBA 17u Prospect Meadows National Championship, half of the 33 original teams have been eliminated. Only 16 remain. Even so, there was a trio of upsets and one extra-innings rematch from the first round of tournament action.

NorthStar Neon knocks off No. 4 Windy City

The biggest upset of the day would arguably have to go to NorthStar Baseball 17u Neon. After a 0-3-1 finish in pool play, they nearly doubled their number of runs scored with a 6-3 victory over Windy City-Herbert

While Windy City was undefeated heading into the game, NorthStar didn’t break a sweat. Instead, NorthStar forced three walks in the first inning before Nick Friedman drilled a line drive double to center field for two RBIs. Friedman also earned the win on the mound, striking out five batters and spreading out eight hits amongst five innings of work.

“Honestly I think we’re better than a 0-3-1 team. We didn’t play well in pool play, but we came today with a much more aggressive approach, did much better at the plate and jumped on them for six early,” head coach Jake Plucinak said. “I think the energy we carried was the biggest difference between our first four games and today.”

As a team, NorthStar created six runs off of three hits, but the majority of their offense came from being patient at the plate. NorthStar earned 11 trips to first via walks. Spencer Krohn came in relief, tallying two loud strikeouts and only allowing one hit.

NorthStar Navy dominates Indians

NorthStar Baseball 17u Navy also pulled off an impressive upset, kicking off tournament play with a dominating 13-2 victory over the no. 13 Illinois Indians.

The game was scoreless until the third inning when NorthStar exploded for 10 runs. It seemed like they got on base every way possible, from hits and errors to walks and hit batters. NorthStar had already scored six runs before designated hitter Matt Olive came up to bat. With two outs and the bases loaded, he drilled one over the fence for the tournament's only grand slam.

The Indians tried to rally in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs, but were unable to recover. NorthStar added a single run in the fourth and two in the fifth to make the final score of 13-2. Olive went 4-for-4 from the plate with five RBIs. Kieran Schmitz and Peter Tveite split time on the mound, combining for six strikeouts and three hits.

The two NorthStar teams will find out who is the best head-to-head as they face off in the quarterfinals.

“I’m sure they will be favored, but we’re going to give them a run,” Plucinak said of NorthStar Navy. “It’ll be fun. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of friendly trash talk.”

Navy enters as the No. 20 seed while Neon is No. 29.

Cangelosi White holds off Northern Illinois Reds

It didn’t matter that Cangelosi Sparks 2020 White was facing off against a future Division I pitcher. Instead, they stepped up to the plate and smacked 10 hits, fueling them toward a 7-5 win over the No. 10 Northern Illinois Reds.

Cangelosi scored first in the top of the fifth as Nick Muscolino drove in Jake Mucha off a single to right field. That was only the beginning, though, as Cangelosi’s offense sparked for six runs in the seventh. The Reds rallied, though, coming up just one run short.

With the tying run up to bat, closer Luke Sefcik forced a ground ball to first. With only one out needed, second baseman Ethan Imlach put away the game with a caught pop fly.

Offensively, Trevor King, Chase Jankowski and Jake Hesselmann led the way with two hits each. King and Adam Huekels drove in two runs apiece as well. On the mount, four Sparks split time, combining for three strikeouts and giving up four hits.

Cangelosi will take on No. 7 Michigan Select. Cangelosi Sparks 2020 Black is also still alive in the tournament and will face off against No. 14 STIKS Academy Red as the No. 3 seed. 

Lightning strikes against Starters

It took eight innings to decide the winner of Illinois Lightning and MN Starters 17u. But between Noah Deluga’s expertise on the mound and timely hitting in extra innings, the Lightning got it done. While it might not have been an upset, the crowd was on the edge of their seats as Breck Nowik singled to left field, driving in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth for a 1-0 shutout victory.

Deluga showed excellent work on the mound, striking out 10 batters and only allowing a pair of hits, both to Starters’ Robert Hogan. For the Lightning, Nowik had two of the team’s four hits.

No. 9 Illinois Lightning will take on No. 8 St. Louis Prospects Scout Kirchner next. 

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