Southwest Stars Walk-off to Win 11U NTIS Gold Medal

Stars come from behind for second straight day

CARY, N.C. -- The Southwest Stars overcame a three-run deficit to claim gold at the 11U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, topping the South Stripes, 5-4, in walk-off fashion at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.

After falling behind for the second consecutive game, the Stars rallied for three runs in the fifth before Grady Klovstad's walk-off single in the seventh clinched the gold medal.

The scoring started early in the contest, with the Stars jumping out to a quick lead after a scoreless top of the inning from Josh Johnson. Carson Reis hit an RBI-single in the bottom of the frame to give the Stars an early 1-0 advantage.

The Stripes struck back quickly in their next at-bats. Anthony Frausto led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on Dylan Mercado's infield hit to put a pair of runners on. A wild pitch then put the runners on second and third, and Frausto scored on a sacrifice fly by Gabriel Silva-Whatley to tie the game.

The Stars put a runner on base in their half of the second but didn't score before the Stripes rallied in the third to take the lead. The inning started with a double by Beau Stevens, who was eventually plated on a sacrifice fly by Arden Calagan to make it 2-1. William Pepper scored on an error to extend the lead, and Frausto drove in another run with a double to give the Stripes a 4-1 lead.

After the Stars scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, they rallied for two more runs in the fifth to tie the game. Maximus Villalva got the inning started with a walk before scoring on an RBI-double by Grady Alonso, who would come around to tie the game on an RBI-ground out.

Grady Klovstad and Dylan Hottle exchanged scoreless innings in the sixth to send the game to the seventh in a 4-4 tie. Micah Wilcox took the mound in the top of the seventh for the Stars, keeping the Stripes off the scoreboard.

Villalva led off the bottom of the inning with a single and stole second, putting the winning run in scoring position with no outs. After a hit-by-pitch and single loaded the bases with no outs, Klovstad singled up the middle to plate the winning run and secure the gold medal for the Stars.