PG Select Baseball Festival | General | 9/2/2019

Team Gordon strolls to 14u win

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: 14u Select Baseball Festival (Perfect Game)

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Good teams are always opportunistic, taking advantage of every gift with their name on it that enables them to put a run or two up on the scoreboard. And that even goes for all-star teams.

Team Gordon totaled seven hits and was gifted 14 walks from Team Sturtze pitchers and four errors from Team Sturtze fielders and strolled to an 8-2 victory at the Perfect Game 14u Select Baseball Festival all-star game played late into the night at jetBlue Park. A combined four RBI from Nolan Schubart and Nikolas Sanders certainly didn’t hurt either.

The start of the game was delayed by about an hour due to seasonable and almost predictable lightning and rain. There were no more weather delays the rest of way, but the nine-inning game took 3½  hours to play, with the postgame fireworks finally going off around 11:30 p.m. EDT. The players loved every minute of it.

“It was one of the most fun games I’ve ever played in with my teammates and the team we played against,” Team Gordon’s Schubart said after getting doused with a large cooler of ice water by those same teammates. “It was great competition, best in the world, and we were able to stay on top.”

The Gordons led 2-1 after three and 5-1 after five on their way to the win. While they scored their eight runs on seven hits without committing an error, the Sturtzes plated their two runs on six hits, with the four errors standing out like a sore thumb.

Schubart went 2-for-2 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored and pitched a scoreless fifth inning, allowing one hit and striking out one with 14 pitches; he was named the Most Valuable Player.

“I was proud of both parts, my pitching and my hitting,” he said postgame. “I was able to stay strong with two strikes on me and get a hit and be able to get the runs in, and my pitching, I was able to stay within myself when there were people on base and get us out of the inning.”

Other Team Gordon pitchers that threw well during their one shutout inning included Thomas White (3 Ks, 1 hit, 1 BB), Matthew Ossenfort (2 Ks), Steven Milam (2 Ks, 1 BB) and 2019 14u Pitcher of the Year Jake Lankie (2 Ks, 1 BB); the Gordon pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts and four walks.

It wasn’t quite as rosy on the other side with the Team Sturtze pitchers combining for 16 strikeouts but also issuing the 14 walks. Rayner Rafael Castillo, Dylan Lonergan, Lance Williams, Matthew Matthijs and Trenton Lape combined for 12 strikeouts during their stints but also walked 10; because of the errors, only two of the Gordons eight runs were earned. Owen Egan had a pair of singles and scored a run to lead Team Sturtze at the plate.

Team Gordon got the scoring started in the top of the third when it sent eight batters to the plate and two of them scored, giving it an early lead that would never vanish. Devan Meran got it started when he was hit by a pitch with two outs and eventually ended up at third after a pair of stolen bases.

Ryan Reckley had reached on a walk while Meran was running around the bases, and Meran eventually scored on an RBI infield single to the left side to put the Gordons up 1-0. Jaxon Willits then received a walk to load the bases and Reckley scored when Matthew Ossenfort also walked.

Team Gordon had wasted an excellent scoring opportunity in the top of the second when Nolan Schubart led-off with a groundball single up the middle and Cade Kurland walked, and after a pair of stolen bases had runners on second and third with one out. Sturtze right-hander Rayner Castillo got out of the jam by striking out the last three batters he faced.

Team Sturtze got on the board in the bottom of the third when Nicholas Perez led off with a triple into the right field corner and came in to score an out later on a sac fly to dead center off the bat of Nazier Mule.

The Gordons broke things open a bit in the top of the fifth when they pushed across three runs on the strength of a single, a pair of walks and two throwing errors.

Walter Ford and Cade Kurland both walked to start the frame, and Ford came around to score on a fielder’s choice groundball from Dylan Cupp while the Sturtzes were attempting to turn a double play. With Cupp perched on first, Nikolas Sanders hit a line drive, RBI single to center that scored Cupp and then came all the way around to score on an errant throw home that was trying to cut-down Cupp.

Looking to widen its lead, Team Gordon used three walks to load the bases with two outs in the top of the sixth but were unable to capitalize.

The Sturtzes got back on the board in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a lead-off single from Owen Eagan, who eventually made his way to third on first a wild pitch followed by a passed ball; he scored on a one-out balk.

Team Gordon wasn’t quite done yet though, either. Steven Milam reached on an error to lead-off the top of the eighth, Drew Burress and Manuel Beltre both singled to load the bases and Schubart delivered the big blow with his two-run double to make it 7-2. The eighth run was added in the top of the ninth thanks to a pair of Team Sturtze errors and a wild pitch. Game over.

“This is one of my all-time moments,” Schubart concluded. “These guys are amazing. I got close to everybody and I kept calling them my brothers. We had a great team, we were playing as a family and we were able to come out on top.”

Not surprisingly, the same lightning and rain that delayed the start of the game brought the pre-game Long Ball Challenge to a premature ending. Cam Collier, Braden Holcomb, Termarr Johnson, Nazier Mule and Ethan Robinson had dropped one bomb apiece before the event was ultimately cancelled.

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