7/5/2010 3:31:47 PM
C.T. Bradford singled home pinch runner Carlos Garmendia with 2 out in the bottom of the 7th inning to give the Florida Bombers a dramatic 4-3 victory over the East Cobb Braves 17's. It was the Bombers unprecedented sixth WWBA 18U National Championship and avenged their 11-10 loss to the Braves in the 2009 championship game.
Both teams were visably nervous at the start of the game and a sloppy first inning ended with the score 1-1. Each team's starting pitchers settled down nicely after that. RHP Ben Lively of the Bombers pitched 6 innings, allowing DH Brandon Stephens' 2-run double in the third inning but otherwise controlling the game and only allowing 3 hits. The Braves Kyle Burchfield matched Lively, though, giving up 3 hits and 3 runs over his five innings of work before giving the ball to reliever Alexander Cruz.
The Bombers 7th inning rally started with a strikeout but C/RHP Luke Guarnaccia laced a double deep to left centerfield with one out and was replaced by Garmendia. 3B Tyler Filliben flied out to right field for the second out before the Braves walked 2B Adam Frazier to put men at first and second. That brought up the leadoff hitter, Bradford, who lined a hard single up the middle. The throw from CF Michael Hodorowski beat Garmendia to the plate but was bobbled by catcher Garrett Boulware, allowing Garmendia to slide under the late tag.
Guarnaccia got the win with a scoreless inning of relief.
Bradford, a Mississippi State signee and the Bombers captain, was named the tournament Most Valuable Player. The 5-10 left hander went 2-0 on the mound, including a complete win in the Bombers semifinal victory over the Orlando Scorpions. Bradford batted leadoff and played centerfield when not on the mound and led the Bombers in runs scored in addition to his final game heroics.
Braves RHP John Magliozzi was named the tournament Most Valuable Pitcher. The Massachusets native and Florida signee went 2-0 in 11 innings, allowing only 1 run while striking out 12. He threw a complete game 1-hit shutout against the Texas SunDevils in the Braves 3-0 semifinal win.