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Tournaments | Championship | 9/22/2020

Sandhogs Secure Bid, Win NE Qualifier

John McAdams        
Photo: East Coast Sandhogs
The East Coast Sandhogs-McGloin came into the Northeast Qualifier stockpiled with a roster of all the necessary pieces for a deep playoff run with a WWBA World Championship bid on the line. A loaded lineup filled with Division 1 commits and a pitching staff with uber-projectable arms and plenty of depth.

The Sandhogs worked their way through pool play unscathed, garnering the #1 overall seed going into bracket play. Their round of 32 matchup with Nexgen Elite was a back and forth affair that went to extra innings before the Sandhogs erupted for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to ultimately secure the 4-3 win. Wichita State commit Jace Miner (2021, Reynoldsville, PA) got the start and delivered one of the top pitching performances of the event. The long, lean lefthander delivered seven innings of one run ball, scattering just three hits and amassing ten strikeouts along the way. Uncommitted Evan Bruder (2021, Royersford, PA) tied the game with a line drive single up the middle before Florida Tech commit Kyle Lenhart (2021, Gibsonia, PA) punched through the right side for the winning run.

The Pennsylvania based Sandhogs would win their next two playoff matchups without much fireworks before coming from behind in their 14-6 victory vs Time To Sign Scout in the semifinals. Down 4-0 after an inning and a half, the “Hogs” erupted for 8 runs in the bottom of the second and never looked back. Coastal Carolina commit Andrew Muraco (2021, Murraysville, PA) paced the offense with three hits, setting the table for this talent laden lineup to drive him in. Elon commit Christo Garrelts (2021, Killingworth, Conn.) and Jacob Bazala (2021, Larimer, PA) battled throughout the game, maneuvering in and out of trouble.

This set the stage for a championship matchup with the undefeated Long Island Titans-Quattrini. The Titans secured the #10 seed in bracket play after a 7-0 win vs the Staten Island Orioles and a 5-3 victory vs a loaded Keystone War Eagles team. Timely hitting, dominant pitching and just enough defense were the keys to Long Island based team’s playoff run. The aforementioned pitching staff secured 7-0, 3-1 and 2-0 victories in their next 3 playoff matchups before an extra inning affair versus a well-coached .9ers Baseball Club and their strong lineup of Division One commits including Perfect Game All American participant Shane Panzini (2021, Spring Lake, NJ). The battle-tested Titans would come out victorious in the highly anticipated match-up 7-6 with multiple hit performances by Mathew Destefano, Logan Kobis and Josh Graham. Maryland commit Ryan Van Buren (2021, Meadowbrook, PA) came out of the bullpen to deliver four-and-a third shutout innings, keeping a lineup filled with numerous Division One commits off the board.

The Championship game got started relatively slow, considering all the scoring that occurred earlier in the day. Fordham commit Jacob Steinmetz (2021, Woodmere, NY) and uncommitted Tyler Oneill (2021, North Bellmore, NY) traded zeros for the first two innings before the Sandhogs broke through on an RBI single by Coastal Carolina commit Orlando Pena (2021, Jersey City, NY). The teams would go scoreless in the fourth inning, trading big pitch after big pitch in this exciting match-up. Pena would come through again with his second hit of the day scoring Kyle Lenhart. Another run would come across on a throwing error, to give the Sandhogs some breathing room. Oneill would do the rest, delivering six full innings of shutout baseball to take home MV-Pitcher’s honors. The uncommitted New York native scattered four hits and some command issues to deliver for his squad and get them closer to a coveted bid to the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in Fort Myers, FL. Gardner-Webb commit Phil Fox (2021, Ruffs Dale, PA) would come in to shut the door for the Sandhogs and punch their ticket.

Elon commit Vincent DiLeonardo (2021, Arlington, VA) would take home MVP honors by hitting .533 (8 for 15) on the weekend with timely hits in each of his team’s victories.

If this past weekend is any indication of what is to come, the Northeast region is stockpiled with both current and upcoming talent that will continue to prove that baseball is in a strong place in the cold weather states for years to come.

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