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High School  | General  | 3/4/2024

Titles Handed Out at HS Showdown

Cameron McElwaney      Michael Albee     
Photo: Bob Jones HS (Perfect Game)

Bob Jones Completes the Upset to Take Home the Red Championship

Bob Jones made an impressive run through the playoffs with wins over two nationally ranked teams in the quarterfinals and semifinals. This led to a matchup with the top team in the country, the IMG Ascenders.

IMG jumped out to an early lead in the championship game in the bottom of the first after a walk to lead things off, Dean Moss followed that up with a double a few pitches later. Both Gunner Geile and Moss would come around to score to make the early score 2-0.

Bob Jones would answer right back with a run of their own in the top of the second inning after a Tanner Hermesch double would give them runners on second and third with only one out. Myles Hammonds would collect an infield single to make it 2-1.

IMG would go on to score three more in the bottom of the second and things looked to be trending in their favor early on. Joshua Campbell got the bottom of the second going with a single to center, Aukai (Jaydon) Kea would follow him up with a double the next-at bat to drive Campbell in. Dean Moss would collect his second hit of the game to score Kea and Josh Hanson would follow that up with a triple to drive in Moss.

Just like in the top of the second inning, Bob Jones would respond quickly with a four-run half to tie things back up in the top of the third. Things got started with a hit by pitch and a walk to start the rally. An infield single and a walk mixed with some errant throws would get things tied back up headed into the bottom of the third.

Bob Jones starter Kaimana Kuroda started to settle into the outing in the bottom of the third inning as he worked around an error and would get the Bob Jones offense back to the plate quickly.

Four walks in a row for Bob Jones to kick off the top of the fourth inning would break the tie. Hermersch would come up with another big swing with a sacrifice fly to left field to make the score 7-5. Jacob Pearl and MVPitcher Braden Booth would have back-to-back singles to make the game 9-5 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

IMG would go down quickly once again in the bottom of the fourth inning on just twelve pitches and Bob Jones would look to add onto the lead in the top of the fifth.

Zackary Johnson would kick things off in the top of the fifth inning with a loud double into the left-center gap. He would get to third on a Dillon Adkins groundout to the first baseman. IMG reliever Grant Wilson would make two pitches the rest of the inning to record two outs and get out of the jam.

IMG would cut into the lead by one in the bottom of the fifth inning as Sean Gamble would triple down the right field line with one out. Jackson LaLima would hit a ball well to center field for a sacrifice fly to make the score 9-6.

After two strikeouts to start the top of the sixth inning, Jacob Pearl would put together a great at-bat and would triple down the left field line. Braden Booth would hit a double into the gap the next at-bat and would score Pearl. Gresham Baker followed up Booth with a single into center to make the score 11-6.

After keeping IMG quiet in the bottom of the 6th inning, Dillon Adkins would kick things off in the top of the 7th with a ground rule double to right field. Eventually IMG would get out of things with no runs given up and would look to get a rally in the bottom of the 7th.

After getting the first two outs quickly, MVP Andre Modugno would hit a single back up the middle to keep things alive. Sean Gamble would follow that up with another single but just a few pitches later Kuroda would finish the complete game and get a shallow fly ball to right field, making Bob Jones the champions of the red bracket!

-Cam McElwaney

North Broward Prep Takes Home the White Championship

North Broward Prep and Lewisburg matched up after some huge performances throughout the weekend. Stone McCaughey took home MVPitcher after a dominant performance to get Lewisburg into the championship game and North Broward Prep outfielder Andrew Cutler took home MVP honors after hitting .455 with a double, triple and homer. Let’s go through the championship game.

Early on it looked like things were setting up for a pitchers duel as both Nathaniel Hernandez (North Broward Prep) and Matthew Osteen (Lewisburg) rolled through the first inning.

North Broward Prep would open up the scoring in the top of the second inning after an infield single and an error would get two runners on with two outs. Max Burkholz would come around to score on a wild pitch a few pitches before Osteen worked out of the jam with a strikeout.

Hernandez would turn in another dominant half inning for North Broward Prep and get the offense back to the plate quickly. Mateo Gray would get things kickstarted in the top of the 3rd with a double into center field. After a Gian De Castro groundout to the right side, Gray would move up to third. Andrew Carter would walk then would steal second base, allowing Gray to come home to make the score 2-0 going into the bottom of the 3rd.

Lewisburg would threaten with two outs in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out walk. Easton Fesmire would would single through the right side right after and Kody Gilmore turned in an incredible at-bat, walking on nine pitches. Hernandez would get out of things unscathed as Samuel Richardson popped out to the second baseman to end the threat.

The fourth inning would be a quiet one offensively as relief pitcher Cade Sanders (Lewisburg) would roll through the top half and Hernandez would continue throwing up zeroes for North Broward Prep.

The North Broward Prep offense would get started quickly as the first four hitters of the top of the fifth inning would reach base. Gian De Castro would score on an Andrew Cutler base hit into right field. Later in the inning, Julian Rodriguez and Nikolas Koorse would come home on wild pitches to make the score 4-0.

Lewisburg would answer back in the bottom half, coming up clutch with two outs to push across a run. Andrew Hendrichovsky would draw a 6-pitch two-out walk followed up by a big swing from Easton Fesmire into left center field to push across the run to make the score 4-1.

No runs would be pushed across in the sixth inning on either side as Cade Sanders would retire the North Broward offense on just seven pitches and Kiernan O’Neill would come in for North Broward on the mound and retire the Lewisburg offense quickly as well.

North Broward Prep would add on three runs in the top of the 7th inning, making the score 7-1. Julian Rodriguez would reach on an error, followed by a Nikolas Koorse single, then Max Burkholz reached on another error, scoring Rodriguez in the process. Mateo Gray came up with another big swing, plating a pair on a single through the left side to plate two.

O’Niell would shut down the Lewisburg lineup in the bottom of the 7th inning and North Broward Prep would be named champions of the white bracket!


Catholic High Hoists Title in Blue Bracket

The Parkview Panthers and the Catholic High Baton Rouge Bears squared off in a highly anticipated championship match between two nationally ranked high school programs with a track record of success. With a slew of college prospects in the starting lineup, it made for an entertaining matchup. In a close pitcher’s duel, Catholic High was able to edge it out in the end. Let’s revisit some key moments from this game that led to that moment.

In a game that saw no runs scored until the top of the sixth inning, props are due to both arms of these programs for digging deep in their biggest starts of the season and answering back zero for zero all the way through.

Ford Thompson got the ball for Parkview and produced an outing typical for what he normally does. Over five innings, he would fill the zone at a 66% clip, commanding the arm side with his fastball that sat in the 83-85 early on and used his full off-speed mix of a slider and change piece to successfully navigate through this order. He had everything working and was generating such weak contact against every bat he faced. 

Mills Richardson answered the call as well, however, going 5.1 innings for Catholic allowing just one hit and striking out four. He shut down one of the most potent offenses in the state of Georgia, successfully working his fastball to all four quadrants of the zone at 79-82 and mixing in a wipeout curveball in two strike counts. The entire mix was on point from the get go and he simply neutralized this offense to his very last pitch. Still just 15 years old, you could not have asked for a better start out of Richardson yesterday. 

Things heated up in the bottom of the fourth, as with one out and bases juiced, William Schmidt came to the plate. In an attempt to lay down a squeeze, Thompson would field the ball on his own and make the glove flip play at home to save the run from scoring. Amidst the cheering and celebration, a Catholic runner would attempt to swipe home as both Thompson and catcher Ethan Finch had their backs turned… it would get snuffed out and an incredible run saving double play ended the inning! One of the more wild plays you will see on a baseball field.
After a quiet fifth inning, Parkview would finally break through in the sixth to take a 1-0 lead. Mason Davis would reach on base via error and Makhi Buckley would lay a sacrifice down to advance Davis to third, letting Elit Pitts drive a deep sac fly to center that plated Davis. Cade Brown would collect the best barrel for Parkview on the day here as well, a low fastball that he went down and got, sending a bolt back to center field.
Catholic would not stay down for long however, as the bats woke up in the bottom half with Ford Thompson taken out of the game after the first two batters of the half inning. With runners on first and second, Andrew Clapinski would come up with the biggest swing of the tournament for his program, dropping a single into right that tied the game up and moved another runner to third. Right after this, Trip Dobson would force a bad throw on a tough charging play that would clear the bases and give Catholic a 3-1 lead late.

Wyatt Chenevert would wrap things up for Catholic in dramatic fashion, digging deep in a 3-2 count with two outs and runners on first and second (Gregory Jones E5, Ethan Finch single) with the top of the order looming. Bringing his best fastball of the game, he placed it perfectly on the black and got the strike three call, crowning the Catholic High Baton Rouge Bears the Blue Bracket Champions of the High School Showdown!

-Michael Albee

Mountain Brook Keeps Gray Title in Alabama

The Mountain Brook Spartans and Bishop Snyder Cardinals would go head to head in the gray bracket championship after finishing atop their pools and winning a semi-finals matchup. The Spartans would come out on top in this one 8-3 and claim the gray bracket title; let’s see how they did it.

The Spartans would get things going quickly in the first, jumping out to a 2-0 lead thanks to the work from Hunter Keller, James Graphos and Sam Estes. Keller did a job and put the ball in play as the table setter, advancing to third as an opportunistic base runner on a long passed ball. Graphos would shoot a fastball the other way two pitches later to plate Keller and get on the board.

Bishop Snyder answered back though, as Jackson Perry would lead things off in his own right with a bullet back to center on a center cut fastball. Just a batter later, Cody Boshell roped a single to left to drive in Perry and cut the lead in half.

Paul Barnett limited damage as the starter for the Spartans nicely, handing the ball off to John Littleton in relief.

In the top of the fourth, the Spartans executed some small ball beautifully off the back of a Bennett Love lead off single to right. Paul Barnett laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Love over to second, bringing up Brooks Allen. He would waste no time, jumping all over a first pitch fastball and sneaking it past the shortstop to plate Love, extending their lead to 3-1.

It wouldn’t take long for Mountain Brook to add on another run, as the heart of their order (John Robicheaux, Caleb Barnett, Sam Estes) would all combine for hits and extend their lead once again to 4-1 in the top of the fourth.
Going into the bottom of the fifth, Bishop Snyder was down late and needed an answer quickly in the latter half of this one… and they did just that. Adjusting their approach late, the offense came to the plate with a more patient approach. Aidan King and Jackson Perry would work walks while nationally ranked shortstop Tristan Silver found a barrel back to centerfield. With two outs and ducks on the pond, Ilias Mamea came up to the plate in the biggest spot of the tournament for his team. After going down 0-2, he would shoot a fastball the other way to drive in a run and another would come around to score on a misplay at home where the ball would get away. Just like that, it was a 4-3 ballgame.

Kenneth Diddell would come out of the ‘pen for Mountain Brook in the 6th, keeping things quiet in their half and would see the seventh frame as well.

In an offensive explosion for Mountain Brook in the top of the 7th, all the usual suspects in this order (Robicheaux, Barnett, Estes) would come up with barrel after barrel en route to a four spot that put this game at 8-3 late and proved to be the dagger. Diddell would come back out to wrap things up and did just that, crowning the Mountain Brook Spartans as the Gray Bracket Champions in the High School Showdown!