New York Nine Finishes in National Final Four at NABF World Series

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For the first time since 2008 in Jackson, Mississippi the New York Nine Scout Team appeared at the NABF Senior Division World Series. This year’s sixteen team event was held in Struthers, Ohio at the beautiful Bob Cene Park. The 2008 club made a run all the way to the Semi-Final game, losing a heartbreaking 1-0 decision on a throwing error. The 2018 iteration that hoped to claim the first national title for the Nine boasts solid pitching and defense and a very capable but boom or bust offense.

The first game of the tournament saw the Nine play College Connect, out of Michigan. The Nine struggled to get going offensively as their offense was completely stifled by a legitimate knuckleballer with a mid 80s fastball and pinpoint control. With the aid of some defensive miscues, Connect posted a six run second inning and cruised to a 7-0 victory.

The 2nd game of the day saw the Nine playing the Ohio Longhorns. The Longhorns opened the scoring in the 2nd inning by plating 4 runs. In the bottom of the 3rd, the Nine scored 2 runs on a Jean Carlos Morillo walk, a Freddy Rojas, Jr. RBI double and a Chris Mondesi, Jr. RBI double. Joe Wozny, who came in in the 3rd inning, shut down Ohio giving the Nine the chance to come back and win the game. With two outs in the bottom of the 6th inning, Jesse Spellman and Joe Caba singled pushing pinch runner Tommy Tavarez to 3rd. JP Compres delivered the 2 out RBI single to cut the Ohio lead to 4-3. Wozny continued his dominant pitching and threw a clean top of the 7th with 2 strikeouts to give the Nine a shot to win. Pinch hitter John Garcia opened the inning by singling up the middle then Freddy Rojas, Jr. roped a single to center putting runners on first and second with no outs setting the stage for Chris Mondesi, Jr. Mondesi hit a line drive to the opposite field that got past the right fielder scoring Garcia with Rojas, Jr. racing home behind him to give the Nine their first win of the tournament.

The next day saw the Nine play the West New York Tigers under the lights in prime time. The Nine manufactured the first run with a Jeissy De La Cruz walk, stolen base and scoring on a wild pitch. In the 2nd, the Nine again took advantage of a defensive miscue when Joe Caba scored on an error. West New York got to Bryce Martino in the 4th inning when a few ground balls got through the infield after a Nine error. With 2 runs in and men on 1st and 3rd, JP Compres came in and threw three straight fastballs, each at or near 90 mph, to shut the door on the rally. The Nine came out in the bottom of the 4th and started to put the game away. Showing plate discipline, Nine hitters walked three times in the inning and Wilmer Polanco hit a 2 RBI double. The bottom of the 5th saw more of the same from the Nine. Nazir Mendez singled, Teo Estevez was hit by a pitch and Joe Caba singled to load the bases. Phil Li walked in a run and Estevez and Caba scored on wild pitches to make the score 8-2. The game ended when catcher, John Garcia threw an absolute seed to 2nd base to pick off a runner. The Nine struck out 10 Tigers, including 6 from Martino and 3 from Alejandro Soler.

The final day of pool play saw the Nine controlling their playoff seeding. With a win vs Diamond Hit Club, the Scout team would advance. In a game being broadcast live, The Nine opened scoring in the bottom of the first with De La Cruz hit by a pitch Martin Jimenez doubling him home on a long fly ball to center field. In the 3rd inning, De La Cruz hit a triple on a fly ball to right field and scored on an error by the SS. Jimenez also singled in the inning. In the 3rd inning, Freddy Rojas, Jr. singled home JP Compres, who singled earlier, on a fly ball to left field. In the 4th inning, the Nine once again plated a run when Jimenez singled to lead off the inning, followed by a Spellman walk and a Morillo RBI single. In the top of the 6th the Hit Club opened with a single and a FC error. Starter Jon Allcock was stellar through five plus strong innings. After a CS, a ground out, an RBI ground ball single to right and a walk, JP Compres came in to pitch with the score 4-1. Compres allowed a ground ball single to center and a walk to make it 4-3. With the bases loaded and the count 3-2 count, Compres induced a fly out to end the inning. Compres came back out for the 7th, striking out 2 and not allowing a baserunner, advancing the Nine to the playoffs.

The Quarter-Finals of the NABF World Series saw the Nine face off against Troy Post 43 Legends, from Ohio. In another live broadcast, The Nine started off the scoring in the bottom of the 1st. Freddy Rojas, Jr. singled to center field, followed by a Chris Mondesi, Jr. RBI double to left. Martin Jimenez immediately hit a line drive single to left to bring in Mondesi, Jr. Wilmer Polanco led off the 2nd with a triple to center, followed by a Jeissy De La Cruz RBI line drive single to center. De La Cruz stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch during Rojas, Jr. at bat, who then walked. Mondesi, Jr. followed with a walk during which Rojas, Jr. stole 2nd and De La Cruz scored on a wild pitch. Jimenez made it 5-0 with an RBI single to left that scored Rojas, Jr. After a sac bunt, Mondesi, Jr. scored on a passed ball and John Garcia drove in Jimenez with a ground ball single to left. In the top of the 3rd, Troy scored on a wild pitch with 2 outs. The Nine capped off their scoring in the bottom of the 4th after Jimenez opened the inning with a walk, followed by a Spellman walk, a Morillo fly ball RBI double to right and a Garcia 2 RBI ground ball single to left making the score 10-1. DJ Flug was outstanding pitching into the sixth, allowing no earned runs. Troy managed to close it to 10-6, but it was too little, too late as Kristian Castro got the final outs to move the Nine along to the Semi-Finals on Sunday.

The Semi-Final game pitted the Nine against the first team they played in the tournament, College Connect. Both teams matched zeroes through the first five frames. Joe Wozny was brilliant, firing 5 innings with 2 hits, 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. Unfortunately for the Nine, Wozny tired in the 6th and after a quick fly out, Wozny allowed a walk and HBP and gave up an RBI double and after an intentional walk to their Texas Tech bound switch hitting catcher. A 2 RBI ground ball single put Connect up 3-0. In the 7th, the Nine got runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs but failed to push across a run. With the loss the Nine once again finished in the National Semifinals.

NABF National Senior Division President Derek Topik stated, “There were some really competitive teams at the NABF Senior World Series this year in Struthers, Ohio. One in particular, the New York Nine, showed a lot of enthusiasm and talent this past week. The Nine played hard all week and showed why they were deserving of a spot at the World Series. I really enjoyed watching them play at a high level all week.”

NABF World Series Notes:

Martin Jimenez was named to All-Tournament Team and hit .433/.500/.500 with 2 RBI and 3 runs

Jesse Spellman got on base in all 6 games and had a .529 OBP with 5 walks, leading the team in both

Jeissy De La Cruz had a .478 OBP with 4 runs scored and 4 HBP

Joe Wozny threw 10.1 IP with 8 K and .968 WHIP

Alejandro Soler threw 5 innings with a 0.00 ERA

DJ Flug threw 5 innings with 6 Ks and a 0.00 ERA

Kristian Castro threw 5 innings with a 0.00 ERA

Bryce Martino threw 3.2 with 6 Ks

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