Spanish Fork (UT) took home the championship of the 2011 Big League Dugout Invitational tournament with a 3-2 win over national power Bishop Gorman (NV). The Dons, who were ranked #8 in the preseason Perfect Game National Top 50, proved that they were among the top teams in the country, something that cannot be said often about a team from Utah.
The 16 team tournament, played in the Scottsdale, AZ area, featured a stacked field, with teams from California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Illinois, and North Carolina.
Spanish Fork is currently #14 in the National Rankings and went 2-1 in pool play, their loss coming to Forsyth Country Day (NC), to advance to the championship day. They beat Regis Jesuit (CO) to advance to the much anticipated championship.
Bishop Gorman also went 2-1, losing to Downers Grove South (IL), before beating Corona Del Sol (CA) in semi-final play to earn a championship berth.
Starting on the mound for Bishop Gorman was junior RHP Joey Gallo, the 12th ranked player in the 2012 class, and recent LSU commit. Gallo, who threw earlier in the tournament, went 2 2/3 innings, surrendering single runs in the first and third as Spanish Fork jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. He allowed three hits, striking out five while walking three.
Gallo struggled at times with his command, but showed the great body and projection that make him a top prospect. His fastball sat 88-91 and touched 93; he complimented it with a low 70s slurve that is a developing second pitch.
Gorman trailed 2-0 going into the bottom of the 5th, before plating two runs off Spanish Fork starter Matt Nelson, with AJ Van Meetren and Tyler Baker picking up the RBI.
Nelson was very impressive facing an offense that had scored at least eight runs in 8 of their 11 contests on the year. He worked in the low 80s with his fastball, showing excellent command and sink. He picked up the victory, allowing two runs on six hits over 6 innings, striking out five while not walking a batter.
Spanish Fork pushed across the go-ahead run in the top of the 6th on a two-out passed ball off Gorman reliever Billy Richardson.
Richardson was the tough-luck loser, allowing only one run on one hit in 4 1/3 innings of relief. He struck out eight while not walking a batter and threw an impressive 74% of pitches for strikes. His fastball sat 85-88 with a very good slider at 76-78.
Nelson pitched to one batter in the 7th, allowing a leadoff single, before being lifted for ace RHP Kayden Porter. He induced two outs on groundballs and allowed a single before striking out the final batter to end the game. Porter, a North Carolina commit ranked #9 in the 2012 class, worked 92-94 and also showed a biting 81-83 mph slider, and was very impressive.
Coming off the huge tournament win, Spanish Fork looks to move up in the national rankings. They get back in action back in Utah with games against Maple Mountain on Tuesday and Thursday.
Gorman gets back to Nevada play with games tonight against Pahrump Valley, and tomorrow against Western. They face Clark and Bonanza early next week before a huge matchup at Sierra Vista, which is part of the PG Hittin’ the Road trip. We cover the game live, providing live scoring and blogs as well as live twitter updates and video of top prospects.
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