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Tournaments | Story | 7/23/2019

643 secures Summer Showdown title

Cory Van Dyke        
Photo: 643 DP Cougars 16u Sterling (Perfect Game)

DUNWOODY, Ga. -- Barely grasping to a 6-5 lead, 643 DP Cougars 16u Sterling head coach visited his pitcher Tyler Hare on the mound. Home Plate Chilidogs 16u Argila had the bases juiced with two outs in the bottom of the seventh with the championship of the 2019 PG 17u Summer Showdown Protected by G-Form on the line.

Sterling had a brief message to Hare to break the ice and any tension that was remaining in the process.

“Tyler lives five minutes from here, so I told Tyler, ‘If you lose this game your mother is still going to make you lunch.’ That’s pretty much what it was,” Sterling said. “I just wanted to make sure he was calm. That way you don’t lose with nerves, you lose with what you got.” 

Sure enough three pitches later, Hare induced a combacker to the mound, flipping it to first to preserve the title for 643.

The opportunity provided a little bit of redemption for Hare, who picked up the save in his inning of work. When the two teams faced off in the quarterfinals of the 2019 WWBA 16u National Championship Qualifier, Home Plate scored four runs in the seventh off Hare to win 7-5.

Over a month later, the Atlanta native was afforded another chance and prevailed.

“It came full circle,” Sterling said. “Tyler got an opportunity to pitch against them. I went out and said the baseball gods put you here.”

643 jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning in a rain-soaked beginning of the game and never looked back from that point. Drewbie Pinkston, Parker Lester, and Blake Redman all tallied two hits in the triumph. Pinkston in particular had an outstanding week at the plate, batting .545 with seven walks for a .737 on base percentage. Alyjah James Richardson and Grant Guinther limited the stout Chilidogs lineup to four hits over the first six innings.

643 played loose all week, and it was truly a group effort en route to the title.

“This group has a ton of fun,” Sterling said. “Honestly, the biggest thing is making sure they don’t have too much fun sometimes. Getting them to actually focus. I know that when we get into bigger games and playoffs, they tend to show up.”

Heading into bracket play, the Cougars found themselves matched up against Ninth Inning Royals 16u Radcliff in the quarterfinals. Andrew Herrmann pitched a gem for 643, firing a complete game shutout in the 4-0 win.

“I just want to do this thing for my team,” Herrmann said. “Any means necessary. Anything I could do to help make our team win I was willing to put forth to do.”

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound southpaw scattered just two hits and two walks over the seven innings, while striking out eight. Herrmann was named MVPitcher of the tournament for his performance.

“I don’t think it was my best performance, but it was probably one of them,” Herrmann said. “It means a lot, especially Perfect Game being the organization that it is. It really means a lot to me.”

“Herrm does it all the time,” Sterling said. “He definitely wants the ball in every single game.”

Before winning the championship on Tuesday, 643 needed a thrilling 6-5 victory earlier in the morning in the semifinals against Rawlings Southeast 17u National. 

Trailing 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, 643 was down to the final out on four separate batters. Down to his final strike, William Cawthon worked a bases loaded walk to tie the game at three apiece. 

After a scoreless eighth and ninth, Rawlings Southeast placed two runs across in the top of the 10th to take a 5-3 advantage. The Cougars immediately put pressure on Rawlings defense and tied the game. Grey Taylor delivered the knockout punch with a walk off bunt to score the winning run. Reid Jones picked up the win after tossing six innings in relief. Peyton Cariaco pitched the first four innings, allowing a lone run.

“This team absolutely believes in themselves, sometimes too much,” Sterling said. “They definitely don’t lack confidence. That team we played in the previous game was very chirpy. They had a lot to say. We were quiet until the very end. It definitely gave us a little bit of energy going into this game.”

There’s no rest for the champions. 643 will immediately begin pool play tomorrow in the 2019 PG 16u Summer Showdown Protected by G-Form after winning the 17u version of the tournament. It’s a situation that Sterling and Co. have become accustomed to, playing up in tournaments all year long. It provides the opportunity for his players to spend one final tournament of the summer to improve and close it out on a high note.

“When we play back-to-back tournaments, it’s really just trying to recoup those first couple days,” Sterling said. “If we can get into the bracket, I think we’ll get our energy back… We expect to win that tournament.”

Conner Faulkner of Home Plate was named MVP of the event. He batted .400 with a home run and seven RBI.

2019 17u PG Summer Showdown protected by G-Form runner-up: Home Plate Chilidogs 16u Argila

2019 17u PG Summer Showdown protected by G-Form MVP: Conner Faulkner

2019 17u PG Summer Showdown protected by G-Form MV-Pitcher: Andrew Herrmann

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