Northeast Stars and Southwest Stars Crowned 16U NTIS Champions Cup Co-Champions

Game called in the ninth due to inclement weather

CARY, N.C. – The Northeast Stars and Southwest Stars were crowned co-champions of the 2021 16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, after the gold medal game was called in the bottom of the ninth due to inclement weather. 

The Northeast Stars got on the board first when Josh Knoth sent a two-RBI single up the middle with two outs in the first for an early 2-0 lead.

The Southwest Stars responded in the bottom of the frame, though, when Ryder Dykstra and Bryce Navarre scored after drawing a pair of walks and taking advantage of some Northeast errors, tying the game at two apiece.

Neither team would score again until the ninth but the Southwest threatened, loading the bases in both the second and third innings. Each time, Northeast starter Gregory Bruno was able to escape the jam, first with a punchout in the second and then inducing a popout to end the third.

After a quiet few middle frames, the Northeast bats got going once again when Gabriel Tirado sent a 3-0 pitch to the wall for a leadoff double in the fifth. While they were eventually able to get runners on the corners, the Northeast wasn’t able to capitalize and the game remained tied at two.

The Southwest Stars again made a push in the bottom of the seventh, putting runners on first and second but couldn’t bring the game-winning run across, sending the championship game to extra innings.

After an inning and a half of extras, the game went into a lightning delay in the ninth with one out and a runner on first. The game was then called because of the impending inclement weather, officially ending in a 2-2 tie with the Southwest Stars and the Northwest Stars named co-champions of the 16U NTIS Champions Cup.