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Tournaments | Story | 9/28/2019

Elite Squad Sweeps Pool Play

Blake Dowson        
Photo: Derek Bermudez (Perfect Game)

Event Page |  Game 1: Elite Squad 2022's/Midland Swarm Southeast | Game 2: Elite Squad 2022's/ASBA Futures Navy 2022 | Game 3: Elite Squad 2022's/Hit & Run Outlaws 2022

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Elite Squad 2022’s comes to the ball field with a presence about them. Other teams watch them. They carry about their business, and their business seems to be winning ball games by any means necessary. Pitching. Hitting. Either or. Sometimes both. The team swept its way through pool play on Saturday at the WWBA Sophomore World Championship, finishing 3-0 against their competition.

On Friday night for Game 1, the bats and arms both got it done for Elite Squad.

Connor Hegan threw a 1-2-3 first inning for Elite Squad 2022’s on Friday night, needing only 13 pitches to do it. He looked impressive in his first inning, touching 87 mph with his fastball.

He was one strike away from an immaculate inning in the second inning, getting the six-hole hitter to roll over to the second baseman on an 0-2 count. The rest of the night went much the same way.

Elite Squad rolled to a run-rule victory in four innings, winning 12-0 over Midland Swarm Southeast. Hegan threw three innings, striking out four and not allowing a hit. Blake Gollott threw the fourth and final inning, sealing the no-hitter with a 1-2-3 inning, including two strikeouts.

Hegan and Gollott combined to throw just 43 pitches, which in a tournament policed by pitch counts, is crucial to a team moving forward.

“We do a lot of planning when we figure out who’s going to throw when,” Elite Squad head coach Scott Morrison said after Game 3. “The guys throwing Friday we make sure to keep under a certain pitch count to keep them available throughout the tournament. That’s really important. Not only was it a great showing on the pitcher’s parts, but it helps us with pitching management and pitcher availability come later in the tournament.”

Seven Elite Squad hitters recorded a hit in just four innings in Game 1, and eight different players scored a run. Raymond Bermudez, Friday night’s cleanup hitter, notched two hits, scored two runs, and knocked in a pair of RBI.

A quick turnaround saw Elite Squad back in action at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday morning, playing against ASBA – Futures Navy 2022.

Back-to-back singles and a couple passed balls meant a lead for ASBA after one inning, 1-0. But Elite Squad starting pitcher Evan Chaffee settled in after the first, throwing four innings total and giving up just the one first inning run, on top of seven strikeouts and one walk, and Elite Squad beat ASBA, 4-1.

“[Chaffee] was awesome,” Morrison said. “He came down from Buffalo, and I don’t think very many people knew who he was. He came out and he was absolutely awesome. I’m sure his notoriety will change after this weekend. We’re happy to have him as part of our organization and get him out of New York for a little bit.”

Blake Cyr earned the biggest hit of the game for Elite Squad, a single over the second baseman’s head in the top of the sixth inning that pushed the lead to 3-1. Cyr ended up on third after an overthrow and came around to score two pitches later on an Aiden Macks double that pushed the lead to the final of 4-1.

ASBA got a big-time performance out of starting pitcher Roberto Alberto Costas, who went five innings pitching to contact and giving up only two earned runs on five hits, all of which were pretty spread out.

But the Elite Squad lineup doesn’t let up at any point in the order, and easy outs for Costas were hard to come by. It was an exercise in patience for the Elite Squad lineup until they broke through for three runs in the final two innings.

Cyr, who was slotted in as an extra hitter for Game 2 against ASBA, played a silky-smooth shortstop for Elite Squad in Game 1 and again in Game 3 against Hit and Run Outlaws.

The Miami commit looks every bit the part of an ACC middle infielder in the way he carries himself on the field and how he conducts his business.

He showed off his rocket arm multiple times, which buys him another second at shortstop, although he rarely needs it with his smooth hands.

“[Cyr] is no doubt the leader of this team,” Morrison said. “Emotionally, physically, and athletically. It seems like he’s somewhere around the baseball no matter where the baseball is. He’s always up in a big spot, and more times than not he’s going to come through. He’s been awesome for us all summer and he’s only going to continue to get better.”

The biggest moment in Game 3 for Elite Squad came in the top of the fifth inning, when Steven Hammond entered the game and inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam. With one run already in for Hit & Run, Hammond induced two pop-ups to Cyr at shortstop to get out of the jam and preserve a 4-2 lead.

It turned out to be a momentum-shifter. Elite Squad poured on five runs in the bottom of the fifth to win by run-rule, 9-1. It was led off by a two-RBI double by leadoff man Mel Rubiera, a screaming line drive down the right field line off the lefty’s bat.

Singles by Cyr and Derek Bermudez followed Rubiera, and Raymond Bermudez finished the game off with a two-RBI double to walk things off.

Now Elite Squad moves on to the playoff bracket, with plenty of pitching and plenty of bats to seriously compete for a title, something the program has capture each of the first two years of the event.

One thing is for sure – teams are watching.



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