Tournaments : : Championship
Monday, September 17, 2012

Nighthawks PG/Evo Upper champs

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Trombly Nighthawks are the 2012 Perfect Game/EvoShield National Championship (Upperclass) national champions.

The Placentia, Calif.-based Nighthawks recorded a perfect 6-0 record at the event, which concluded Monday at sun-drenched Goodyear Ballpark, the spring training home of the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds.

Most of the damage Trombly did over the course of the four-day national tournament came at the plate, where it scored 57 runs in six games. As a team, the Nighthawks hit .357 (60-for-168) with 20 extra base hits, an on-base percentage of .460 and a slugging percentage of .524.

Josh Morgan (2014, Corona, Calif.), the 145th-ranked overall national prospect in his class and a UCLA commit, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Morgan was 8-for-14 (.571) with four doubles, eight RBI, eight runs scored, a .739 OBP and .857 slugging percentage.

Right-hander Morgan Earman (2013, Indio, Calif.) earned the Most Valuable Pitcher award after working seven innings of five-hit ball and allowing one earned run while striking out five in the Nighthawks' semifinal victory Monday morning.

The No. 7-seeded Nighthawks delivered knockout punches early in their 6-1 win over 11th-seeded Iowa Select Black in the semifinals, pushing across two runs in each of the bottom of the second and the third, and single runs in the fourth and fifth.

David Miranda (2013, Placentia, Calif.) was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI to lead the Nighthawks' nine-hit attack. Austin O'Banion (2013, Yorba Linda, Calif.) was 2-for-3 with a double, Daren Preece (2013, Huntington Beach, Calif.) had a pair of singles and Chris Witten (2013, Surprise, Ariz.) smacked a two-run single.

Matthew Johnson (2013, Ankeny, Iowa) had an RBI double and PG All-American A.J. Puk (2013, Cedar Rapids, Iowa) was 2-for-3 with a double to lead Iowa Select Black.

After outscoring their three pool-play opponents by a combined 28-8, the Nighthawks continued their scoring binge by plating 23 more runs in the first two rounds of the playoffs. They beat No. 10 GBG Yak Baseball, 8-4, in the first round then ambushed the No. 2 ABD Bulldogs, 15-8, in the quarterfinals.

The other two semifinalist at the PG/EvoShield National Championship (Upperclass) were Team Maryland and the So Cal Bombers 2013 Black.

The Bombers needed some late heroics to escape top-seeded Team Maryland (5-1) in the other semifinal. Trailing 1-0, Alec Smith (2013, Quartz Hill, Calif.) tied the game with an RBI single in the top of the sixth and Ty Boyles (2013, Lancaster, Calif.) drove in what proved to be the winning run with a line-drive triple to right field in the top of the seventh. Boyles also pitched a scoreless, hitless bottom of the seventh, striking out two.

Team Maryland, playing in its second straight PG/EvoShield National Championship, scored its only run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single from Nicolas Fisher (2013, Pasadena, Md.). Right-hander Josh Kutchey (2013, Frederick, Md.) threw six effective innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and striking out five.

The So Cal Bombers 2013 Black, who earned the No. 4 seed, beat No. 13 Team Rip, 4-2, in the first round of the playoffs and escaped the No. 5 West Coast Clippers, 2-1, in the quarters.

Team Maryland earned the playoffs' No. 1 seed after allowing just one run in three pool-play wins. It snuck past No. 16 AZ Pro 18u, 5-4, in the first round and then shutdown Team CALIFORNIA Baseball, 4-0, in the quarterfinals.

Iowa Select Black was the only team to advance to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs with a loss after completing pool-play with a 2-1 record and earning the No. 11 seed. But Iowa proved scrappy in the playoffs, and beat the No. 6 So Cal Dirtbags, 3-1, in the first round and thumped the No. 3 Dbacks Elite Scout Team, 10-4, in the round of eight.

Due to the use of an ineligible player by the So Cal Bombers, Trombly coaches filed a protest during the championship game, and after checking the rosters, tournament officials awarded the Championship to the Nighthawks. Both teams entered the championship game with unbeaten records of 6-0.

The So Cal Bombers had a couple players go down due to injuries which left them short-handed for the championship. They told tournament officials they didn’t have enough players to continue, in which tournament officials told them that, by rule, they could add a couple of players to their roster. The Bombers were not informed that any players they added could not have played on another team during the tournament, leading to this miscommunication between the coaching staff and tournament officials. Because of this, tournament officials shared the blame, but once the protest was filed, the rules clearly defined the outcome.

Both teams are highly respected travel ball organizations from Southern California, and both were very understanding of the rules. The chain of events that led to this decision was more of a technicality than it was a case of blatant violation of the rules.

This marks the second time in PG history that a game was ruled a forfeit because of an ineligible player. In both cases the winners were from Southern California. In 2008 the ABD Bulldogs were the winners in a similar situation at the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., with the Bulldogs advancing as champions of that event.

2012 PG/Evoshield National Championship (Upperclass) MVP: Josh Morgan


2012 PG/Evoshield National Championship (Upperclass) MVPitcher: Morgan Earman

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