Blacksburg, Virginia – The Scout team kicked off their two event southern swing with a second place finish at the 2016 18u Impact Blue Ridge Championships held at Virginia Tech.
Yohn Zapata set the tone for the tournament by fanning seven in a complete game win to open pool play at Salem Kiwanis field, the former home of the Salem Red Sox. The park was built in 1932, and contained seats from the original Yankee Stadium. It was an incredible place to play. Austin Cole also fanned four batters in one inning of work.
Trevor Johnson set a new organizational mark by swiping his 20th base of the summer, and now has a total of 22. Brendan Brooks hit .545, scoring seven runs and stole three bases. Outfielder Edward Madera went 9-16 (.563) with a booming home run in the championship game. He also scored six times. Nick Vella was 8-19 (.421) scoring three times, swiping three bags and driving in six. Rory Smith drove home four while batting .438. As a team the Nine hit .340 with a .455 OBP.
The road weary Nine then made the six hour trip into beautiful Charleston and prepped for their 9am game vs the Indiana Rawlings Tigers, which was postponed by rain in the bottom of the seventh with the Nine trailing 3-2 with the bases loaded and one out. More on this at the end of the article.
For the week, the Nine battled to a 2-2-1 record and were on the fringe of making the playoffs. Matt DeMartini fired a complete game shutout over the Carolina Prospects allowing only one hit while striking out two. Chris Pichardo was masterful in a complete game tie with Team Ontario. He scattered seven hits while fanning four. Shandon Herrera went 5 2/3 allowing six hits while fanning nine vs the playoff bound Upstate Mavericks.
Danny Perez got on base to a .600 clip while also blasting a long home run vs the Upstate Mavericks. Edward Madeira continued his torrid hitting by batting .455, slugging .636 and reaching base .625 pct of the time. Danny Alfonzo drove home five while hitting .333. As a team the Nine walked 32 times against only 18 strikeouts. This set up an amazing finish as the Nine needed a win in the completion of the rain shortened first game to have a shot to move into the playoffs.
After pool play was done the Nine returned to Dennis Park where they loaded the bases with one out and their 3 and 4 hitters due up. On a 2-1 count, Danny Perez got under a fastball and lifted a fly to shallow center which the runners were unable to advance. Nate Webb fell behind 1-2 when he drove a fastball deep to right center and appeared to have ended the game with a walk off grand slam. The Tigers center fielder made a catch for the ages as he went over the fence bringing the ball back, and held the ball while crashing into the fence to end the game. It was a spectacular play on a ball that was hit on the button.
With the college coverage and follow up, pro coverage, and our juniors getting a jump on their college process it was a very successful trip.