South­ern Mary­land Elite wins ti­tle

Base­ball team takes 12-U Coop­er­stown All-Star Vil­lage World Se­ries crown

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page -

Some­times big things re­ally do come in small pack­ages.

That has been the motto of the South­ern Mary­land Elite 12-U team this year, and re­ally since the core team was formed in 2012. The team proved this motto to be true from July 16 to 21 at the Coop­er­stown All-Star Vil­lage Tour­na­ment in Oneonta, N.Y.

The only team rep­re­sent­ing Mary­land in a tour­na­ment with 48 par­tic­i­pants from Canada and 13 U.S. states, in­clud­ing Florida, Texas and Cal­i­for­nia, SOMD Elite 12-U won the cham­pi­onship de­feat­ing the No. 6 seed DHYS Red Devils (Ga.), 11-8.

Although the team was able to put to­gether a stel­lar week of base­ball, the road to the cham­pi­onship did not come with­out its share of chal­lenges. In fact, on the first day of pool play, Elite lost to Storm Base­ball Blue (Ill.), 5-1.

Dis­ap­pointed by the team’s lack­lus­ter per­for­mance, the coach­ing staff de­manded all play­ers re­turn to the bunkhouse for a manda­tory team meet­ing. Dur­ing the team meet­ing, the coach­ing staff de­liv­ered a pas­sion­ate speech, re­mind­ing the team what was at stake and the sac­ri­fices par­ents, play­ers and coaches had made to get to Coop­er­stown.

The coach­ing staff is­sued one fi­nal chal­lenge, as ev­ery player in the bunkhouse hung on ev­ery word, “Lay it all on the line for the du­ra­tion of the week. If you do the things we ask of you, we prom­ise you will be pleased with the out­come.”

That con­ver­sa­tion in the bunkhouse would prove to pay div­i­dends later in the tour­na­ment.

The team re­sponded by win­ning the next four pool play games by a mar­gin of 56-11. As a re­sult of the Day 1 loss, the team fin­ished pool play as the No. 9 seed with a record of 5-1. The top eight seeds earned a first-round bye, en­abling those teams to rest. Elite missed out on the op­por­tu­nity to earn a first-round bye by a mar­gin of three runs. Con­se­quently, Elite’s first elim­i­na­tion game would took place ver­sus the Troy Ti­tans (Ill.). Elite would go on to de­feat the Troy Ti­tans, 14-1.

In the sec­ond game of the sin­gle elim­i­na­tion rounds, Elite squared off against Oaks Base­ball Academy (Cal­i­for­nia).

Oaks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on a home run and then padded the lead to 3-0 with a pair of homers in the sec­ond. Fol­low­ing a score­less third by both teams, sin­gles by Aden Hill and Bryce Whitney in the fourth were fol­lowed by a Shawn Cameron three-run homer to tie the game.

Alex Borges, Blake Pe­sante, Chet Bowl­ing, Tyler Quade, Tyler Wil­liamson and Ryan Clarke hit con­sec­u­tive sin­gles, which scored Borges, Pe­sante and Bowl­ing. Derek Zumpano then crushed a grand slam to right-cen­ter field, mak­ing the score 10-3.

Nathan Robey home­red to cen­ter af­ter Zumpano to ex­tend the lead to 11-3. Nick Stearns and Hill would then add backto-back sin­gles be­fore Cameron hit his sec­ond homer of the in­ning to cap the 14-run top of the fourth. Oaks re­sponded to make it in­ter­est­ing by tack­ing on five more runs in the bot­tom of the fourth for a 14-8 game. How­ever, in the top of the fifth, the Elite scored four more times high­lighted by Quade’s two-run bomb and Stearns’ sin­gle to cen­ter to cap the scor­ing at 18-8.

The quar­ter­fi­nal game pit­ted Elite against the No. 1 seed of the tour­na­ment, Elite Base­ball Train­ing from Chicago.

Elite Base­ball jumped off to a 1-0 lead on a solo homer. The lead held un­til the third when start­ing pitcher Pe­sante home­red to cen­ter, knot­ting the score at 1. Robey sin­gled to cen­ter later in the in­ning, ad­vanced to third on a Stearns sin­gle and scored on a passed ball, giv­ing SOMD Elite a 2-1 lead af­ter three com­plete in­nings.

The score held un­til SOMD Elite hit two solo homers by Quade and Clarke to ex­tend the lead to 4-1. Elite Base­ball an­swered with a homer in the bot­tom of the fifth, but could get no closer. SOMD Elite added an in­sur­ance run in the top of the sixth when Cameron walked and scored on a Bowl­ing sin­gle. Pe­sante scat­tered three hits while striking out 10 bat­ters over six in­nings for the win.

In the semi­fi­nal game, SOMD Elite faced the New Jer­sey Thun­der, the cur­rent 2016 New Jer­sey 12-U USSSA state cham­pion.

The Thun­der jumped out to a 5-0 lead af­ter the first in­ning, the largest deficit of the tourna- ment for Elite. How­ever, in the top of the sec­ond, af­ter a Bowl­ing sin­gle, Pe­sante de­posited a homer to left-cen­ter for a 5-2 score. Later that same in­ning, Wil­liamson sin­gled and Clarke launched his sec­ond homer of the tour­na­ment to make the score 5-4 Thun­der.

The Thun­der re­sponded by scor­ing four more runs in the bot­tom of the sec­ond to grab an 8-4 lead. Hill’s solo shot and Cameron’s two-run homer in the third pulled Elite within 8-7. In the back-and-forth af­fair, the Thun­der scored two more runs to end the third at 10-7.

In the fourth, af­ter a walk to Clarke and a Zumpano sin­gle, Robey dou­bled, scor­ing Zumpano. A Stearns sin­gle and Hill’s three-run home pro­pelled Elite to a 12-10 lead. Whitney then home­red af­ter Hill for a 13-10 Elite lead.

In the fifth, Borges sin­gled to right and Pe­sante home­red to left for a 15-10 score. Wil­liamson fol­lowed with a solo shot to make the score 16-10. The Thun­der re­sponded with three runs in the bot­tom of the fifth to make the score 16-13.

Elite put the game away in the top of the sixth when Stearns and Hill sin­gled and Stearns scored on an er­ror. Cameron put the ic­ing on the cake with a two-run homer to cen­ter for the fi­nal score of 19-13. Hill and Cameron paced Elite with two homers and 4 RBIs each. Each team pounded the oth­ers pitch­ing with a com­bined 41 hits.

In the cham­pi­onship game, Elite faced the only un­de­feated team in the tour­na­ment, the No. 6-seeded Red Devils, who had only al­lowed one run in the pre­vi­ous three elim­i­na­tion games.

Elite found themselves in fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory, down 3-0 af­ter three first-in­ning Red Devils solo homers. Elite re­sponded in the sec­ond with back-to-back homers by Bowl­ing and Quade and later tied the score at 3 on a Robey sin­gle scor­ing Wil­liamson. A Stearns dou­ble later that in­ning scored Clarke and Robey for a 5-3 lead.

Elite held the Red Devils and then scored four more runs in the top of the third. Af­ter a Whitney sin­gle and stolen base, a Cameron sin­gle scored Whitney. Pe­sante then smoked a two-run homer scor­ing Borges, who had reached first on a walk, mak­ing the score 9-3. A Stearns solo homer in the top of the fourth padded the lead to 10-3.

Elite tacked on an in­sur­ance run in the top of the sixth when Cameron sin­gled, stole sec­ond and scored on Bowl­ing’s line drive off the right=field fence for an 11-4 lead. The Red Devils tried to rally in the bot­tom of the sixth, scor­ing four runs, but came up short with the fi­nal score 11-8.

Both teams com­bined for 27 hits and 12 ex­tra-base hits. Borges twirled a com­plete game with four strike­outs for Elite.

Elite fin­ished the tour­na­ment 10-1, record­ing 43 home runs for the tour­na­ment and fin­ish­ing the year with a 48-7-1 over­all record. Elite is man­aged by Den­nis Hill. As­sis­tant coaches are Steve Zumpano, Tommy Clarke, Dale Quade and Tim Cameron.

SOMD Elite is a non­profit, 501(c)(3) or­ga­ni­za­tion. For more in­for­ma­tion on South­ern Mary­land Elite, go to face­book. com/SOMDElite/ or con­tact man­ager Den­nis Hill at [email protected]­hoo.com or 240-2984593.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

In the bot­tom row, from left, are Nathan Robey, Tyler Quade, Tyler Wil­liamson, Ryan Clarke and Nick Stearns. In the mid­dle row are Bryce Whitney, left, Aden Hill, Alex Borges, Blake Pe­sante, Shawn Cameron, Chet Bowl­ing and Derek Zumpano. In the back...

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