Claycomb, Dolan lead South Stars to 14U NTIS Champions Cup Gold

The 14U gold was the second gold medal for the South Region at the 2021 NTIS Champions Cup
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
SW STRIPES 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 1
SOUTH STARS 0 0 1 2 1 0 X 4 10 0
WP: Jeffrey Claycomb  |  LP: Nathan Chavez


CARY, N.C. -- The South Stars tallied runs in three consecutive innings and picked up a stellar outing in relief by Jeffrey Claycomb to defeat the Southwest Stripes, 4-1, in the gold medal game of the 14U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Coleman Field at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

The win secured the South region’s second championship at the 2021 NTIS Champions Cup, following the 13U South Stars gold medal win over the Southwest Stars last week. 

Southwest Stripes’ Miles Scott led off the game with a single and moved into scoring position with one out to start the game; however, South Stars catcher John Dolan threw him out trying to steal third and ended the early offensive threat. Dolan followed that up by throwing out two more base runners in the top of the second inning, tossing out Ryder DeJournett and Brock Johnson in back-to-back at-bats to end the second.

The Southwest Stripes once again threatened in the third inning after a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and a bunt single loaded the bases with no outs. But, back-to-back infield flies and a fielder’s choice to short ended the threat to keep the game scoreless.

Bryce Nixon tallied the first hit of the game for the South Stars to lead off the bottom of the third inning, and followed it up with scoring the first run of the game on an RBI-single down the left-field line by Davidenko Rodriguez to give South Stars a 1-0 lead.

Dolan then contributed with the bat, leading off the fourth inning with a single and moving into scoring position when Marcus Cantu was hit by a pitch. South Stars’ starting pitcher Joseph Carreon followed with a booming two-run double to left field to extend their lead to 3-0.

The Southwest Stripes tried to rally. A walk and a single led off the top of the fifth inning to kickstart their lineup and a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Murphy moved runners to second and third. That is when Jeffrey Claycomb came on in relief for the South Stars and took over the game from there, picking up back-to-back strikeouts to keep the Southwest Stripes off the board.

Ethan Downum legged out an infield single to lead off the bottom of the fifth for the South Stars and advanced to third on a Davidenko Rodriguez single and an error by the right fielder. Dolan followed with his second hit of the game with an RBI-single to left to put South Stars up 4-0.

Down to their final three outs, Jeffrey Peters III slammed a lead-off double to right-center in the top of the seventh inning for the Southwest Stripes. Down to their final out and with Peters on third, Luke Herrera came on to pinch hit. Facing Claycomb, he struck out swinging, but the ball got past Dolan, allowing him to advance to first and Peters to score from third to cut the deficit to three.

But that is all Claycomb would allow, picking up a groundout to third base on the very next batter to close the game out, securing the 4-1 win and the gold medal for the South Stars.

Nathan Chavez suffered the loss on the mound for the Southwest Stripes, giving up three runs and striking out two batters in his 3.1 innings of work. Jack Lorenz gave up a run in his 1.0 inning of work, striking out one, and Jason Rodriguez struck out two batters in his 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.

Claycomb picked up the win in relief for the South Stars, striking out five batters and giving up just one hit and one unearned run in 3.0 innings. The South Stars starter, Carreon, gave up three hits in 3.0 innings in a no-decision and Antonio Solis gave up a pair of hits in his scoreless inning of work as well.

Offensively, Dolan (2-for-2, RBI) and Skyler Branam (2-for-3) led the South Stars offense with multiple hits on the day, while Carreon (1-for-1) contributed half of the team’s RBIs with his double in the fourth inning. Bruin Agbayani led the Southwest Stripes offense on the day, finishing 2-for-3.