CHAMPAIGN - Day 1 of the WSL Midwest Conference event at the Univ of Illinois is in the books with the Racine Hitters, South Oakland A's and Top Tier Americans flexing their muscle in their wins of all 3 or more runs.
The Minnesota Starz, McHenry County Hurricanes and PHD Baseball will look to bounce back today as they trail 1 game back on the Pennant Race to become conference champs over the 2-week period. Next week of action picks up at Western Michigan University and Battle Creek's Bailey Park in Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, MI on August 2-5. That weekend will determine final standings and name a conference champion in the 16U and 15U age divisions. A few new teams will join the field for that event, including South Oakland As 16U, but like NCAA Baseball, those teams are in the conference but ineligible to win the conference championship.
They can, however, play the role of spoiler.
A few players are beginning to stand out amongst the rest in Champaign, IL and day 2 begins the day when Prospect Wire's Scouting Staff will name Underclass All-Americans. Prospect Wire's Underclass All-American Games is the marquee PW event of the year, with the top 100 underclass prospects visiting USF Baseball Stadium in Tampa, FL and the top 100 west coast underclass prospects visiting Cal State Fullerton University for the West Coast version. Both events are August 16-18, 2013 and draw a ton of division 1 schools.
Moving on to today's action. Rain threatened yesterday and caused a short rain delay, and it may play a role in today's games. The University of Illinois field is all turf and equipped to handle rain.
TOP TIER 13, MINNESOTA STARZ RED 1
Top Tier took control of this game right from the start and never looked back. Top Tier pounded out 13 hits, scored in every inning and proceeded to 10-run rule the Minnesota Starz Red in the 9am game by a count of 13-1.
2015 grad Mike Kogut got the win - going 5 innings of no-hit baseball and sitting 81-83mph on his fastball. He allowed 1 unearned run, but got plenty of run support lead by 2016 Matt Burch and 2015 Brett Newberg who had big days offensively out of the 2-hole and 3-hole respectively. Burch went 2-for-3, drove in 2 runs,, stole a base, scored twice and walked with one of his hits being a triple. Newberg went a perfect 3-for-3, one of which also being a triple, drove in 3 runs, scored twice, and walked.
The Starz pitching staff would allow too many base runners via base on balls in this game - walking 9 batters overall - and Top Tier took advantage of their opportunities with big hits.
Top Tier added a triple from Ben Dickey.
2015 grad Nash Datzell threw for the MN Starz and sat mostly 81-83mph.
A special congratulations are in order for Top Tier players Matt Burch, Brett Newberg, Brady Fairfield, Neil Lambert and Mike Kogut who were named 2013 Crossover Symmetry Underclass All Americans! They have been identified as one of the top players in the Midwest and have been invited to the Underclass All American Games EAST in Tampa, FL at USF Baseball Stadium. The invitation process is still on-going! These players from Top Tier were given the official jersey of the All American Games to take their photo in. (Matt Burch pictured left, and Mike Kogut pictured right, others listed below)
RACINE HITTERS 7, MINNESOTA STARZ RED 0
The Starz completed the 2nd leg of their brutal double-header by facing two of the top 16U programs in the Midwest : Top Tier and Racine Hitters.
The Starz bats got going in this game, getting 6 hits lead by Jake Thompson and Nolan Friedrich's 2 for 3 efforts.
But the Racine Hitters bats stayed red hot pounding out 8 hits en route to 7 runs scored.
Austin Brewer and Tyler Sanchez combined for 3 innings and 4 innings respectively. Neither of them cracked 76mph, but were able to change things up, keep the Starz from crossing home plate, and keep walks to a minimum.
Dominic Clementi had another good day offensively going 2-for-3 with a double, 3 RBI and a run scored. Td Walker played 2 more runs. Justin Lavey tripled, picked up an RBI and scored.
The Racine Hitters and Top Tier square off tomorrow at 430pm in a big game at Univ of Illinois Stadium.
ALL AMERICAN GAMES UPDATE:
The following players will join the Top Tier players above in being named a Crossover Symmetry Underclass All American for 2013:
Brady Fairfield, TOP TIER (pictured right)
Brett Newberg, TOP TIER (pictured left)
Neil Lambert, TOP TIER (pictured right)
Dominic Clementi, RACINE HITTERS (pictured left)
Gavin Lux, RACINE HITTERS (pictured right)
JT Athy, RACINE HITTERS (pictured left)
Sean Hjelle, PHD Baseball (pictured right)
Austin Blazevic, TOP TIER (pictured left)
Charlie Linder, PHD Baseball (pictured right)
MCHENRY COUNTY HURRICANES 3, MINNESOTA STARZ BLACK 1
The McHenry County Hurricanes 15U (1-1) got their first win in WSL history on Saturday - but it wasn't easy. The game was originally scheduled for Wabash Park, the home field of Rantoul High School. But thunderstorms knocked the game out, and it was moved to be resumed at University of Illinois' all turf field. After a rain delay, a switch to a new venue, and a resumed game - we saw 6 scoreless innings, before Mchenry busted a 0-0 tie in the 7th with a 3-spot in the top of the 7th for the win.
Josh Audette pitched 5 scoreless innings for the Starz, sitting in the 76-78mph range, and got the no decision after he scattered 3 hits.
2016 Shamus Segersten lead the way for the Hurricanes going 2 for 3 with a big RBI in the 7th. He stole 2 bases on the day and was the catalyst for the offense. 2016 Evan Liebau's RBI in the 7th was also huge.
Nothing was bigger than 2016 Nick Kirk's effort on the mound, however. The rising sophomore sat 77-79mph and went CG. He allowed a run in the bottom of the 7th, before closing the door on the Starz (0-2). He had some trouble with command, walking 5, and had his moments to pitch out of trouble, but scattered 3 hits and held the Starz in check all game.
TOP TIER 7, PHD 0
Top Tier Baseball (3-0) continued to rip through the Univ of Illinois event with a 7-0 win over PHD. Top Tier has now outscored their opponents 25-2 through 3 games w/ a showdown tomorrow looming vs. Racine Hitters.
Top Tier has had 6 of the 11 players invited to the Underclass All-American Games come from their roster as they should be well represented for the Midwest Team in the Aug 16-18 event should all players be able to attend.
In this game, Top Tier hung a 3-spot in the 1st and never looked back - adding runs in the first 4 innings en route to a 7-0 final.
PHD's Sam Mustar continued his strong defensive performance after a web gem in CF yesterday came in 2 innings of relief for PHD to slow down the Top Tier attack. Mustar topped at 83mph, going 3 innings and yielding 1 run.
Top Tier's 2015 P Tyler Lass had a strong outing, going 5 innings of shutout baseball for the win. Lass pitched in the 81-83mph range and punched out 3 guys and had just 1 walk.
MCHENRY COUNTY HURRICANES 8, MINNESOTA STARZ BLACK 0
The McHenry County Hurricanes (2-1) completed the 2-game sweep of the Minnesota Starz 15U Black today with the 2nd leg of the doubleheader going 8-0 in favor of the 'Canes.
2016 Benjamin Dolezal threw a CG shutout, scattering just 3 hits, and his only blemish being 6 walks through 7. He pitched out of a few jams with men on base to maintain the shutout. He sat 76-78mph for most of the game. The Canes got a good offensive effort from 2016 Brandon Kilday out of the 3-hole - who went 2 for 2 with a double, scored once and drove in 3 of the Canes 8 runs on the game. Kilday has 4 RBIs on the weekend and leads all hitters in the 15U event with 4 runs driven in in 3 games. 2016 Nick Kirk added a triple.
Shamus Segersten went 0-2 dropping his avg for the event down to .429 - which still leads all batters in the 15U category. He also swiped a bag, giving him 3 on the event, which also leads all base runners in the 15U category.
The Canes pulled away in the 5th with a 5-run 5th inning to expand the lead to 8-0.
The Canes play tomorrow vs the South Oakland As in a key conference game.
SOUTH OAKLAND As 7, RACINE HITTERS 3
The South Oakland As (2-0) took control of the 15U Midwest Conference with a 7 to 3 victory over the Racine Hitters (1-1) Saturday night at Univ of Illinois Baseball Stadium. The game was the 1st of a doubleheader that the Hitters must try to win to keep pace in the conference.
2016 Bo Lineberger went 6 innings, scattering 6 hits, no walks and shut down the Hitters in his 6 innings of work. Adam Slating came on in the 7th to shut the door, but got in a jam and made the 7-0 game appear closer than it really was - yielding 3 runs in his 1 inning of work. Slating was the hardest thrower in this game, topping out at 78mph.
The As got a perfect 4 for 4 effort from 2016 Curtis Stimac, who hit 2 doubles, drove in 2 runs and scored twice.
Coverage from Game 2 of the doubleheader is just around the corner.
SOUTH OAKLAND As 4, RACINE HITTERS 3
Playing at the University of Illinois until nearly midnight, the South Oakland As (3-0) and Racine Hitters (1-2) programs showed grit, determination and toughness in a critical game towards the Midwest Conference Pennant Race. After a doubleheader, the A's escaped with a 2-game sweep of the Racine Hitters to take control of the 15U Midwest Conference.
With their backs against the wall after losing to the A's in the 1st leg of the double-header, the Racine Hitters responded with an offensive hit-fest. 2016 Joe Gahm, 2015 Angel Verduzco, and 2016 Peter Koscinski each pounded out 2-hits in the middle of the order for the Hitters. Tanner Strommen did his part with 2 RBI to drive them in. But with all the times that trio reached base, they would score just twice as the remaining hitters couldn't drive them in consistently.
The As scored early, and despite a comeback by the Hitters the As were able to force extra innings.
The hit disparity was 11-3 in favor of Racine after 6 innings - but the score was tied. That lead to a California tie-breaker - the first of the event. (The Calfornia tie breaker places the last batted out on 2B, with 0 outs in an attempt to facilitate a run crossing the plate. Each team gets an opportunity, similar to extra innings.)
It would be more stranded base runners for the Hitters in the tie-breaker as they were unable to score Koscinski from 2B. Relief pitcher Mike Ryan pitched well out of the jam and got the As a chance to win it in the bottom of the 7th.
In the 7th, the A's sacrifice bunted the tie-breaker runner on 2B (Will Mullen) over to 3B. And then 2015 Zach Gordon's squeeze bunt scored the winning run for the walkoff win.
Hitters pitcher 2015 Jacob Schwark pitched well in relief, but got the tough luck loss on back to back bunts to lose in the tiebreaker.
South Oakland has another big game tomorrow at 1pm vs. the 2nd place McHenry County Hurricanes, who sit 1-game back with a 2-1 record.