CARY, N.C. – Dulins Dodgers Prime, Top Tier Roos American, East Coast Sox Franchise and Scorpions Marucci advanced to Monday’s 2021 16U National Team Championships North Carolina semifinals after winning their quarterfinal games on Sunday morning.
Dulins Dodgers Prime 2, Canes National 1
The Dulins Dodgers Prime were the first team to punch its ticket to the semifinals with a 2-1 win over Canes National on Sunday. Neither team could get the bats going early, with the first nine batters of the game being retired before Barrett Kent got the game’s first hit for the Dodgers in the bottom of the second. It took another inning before Dulins put its first run on the board.
Connor Bartz hit a one-out double into left to get the offense started and Aidan Smith followed it up with a single to put runners on first and third. Three pitches later, Kyler Proctor drove in the game’s first run with a single of his own that plated Bartz. Dakota Howard then brought Smith in on a sacrifice fly one batter later for the 2-0 lead and a run that proved to be crucial later in the game.
In the top of the seventh, with the score still 2-0, Zach Wadas hit a two-out solo shot over the right field wall to cut the deficit to one. Trent Caraway then sent a double deep into left to put the tying run on second, but Austin Haley was able to induce a ground ball and get out of the jam to secure the 2-1 win for Dulins.
Haley pitched the complete seven innings and got the win for the Dodgers, striking out five batters, while Tucker Holland took the loss for Canes National. Aidan Smith went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead Dulins while Wadas’ home run was the offensive highlight for Canes National.
“We just trusted each other. We decided we were going to come out here and give it our all,” Smith said after the game. “We just have to keep throwing strikes and grind out runs at the plate,” he continued, looking forward to Monday morning’s semifinal.
Top Tier Roos American 1, Resmondo 0
In a pitcher’s duel, Top Tier Roos American squeezed out a 1-0 win over Resmondo to earn their spot in the semifinals. It was the bottom of the sixth inning before Top Tier would score the game-winning run.
Resmondo threatened in the top of the first after back-to-back two-out singles from Ariel Antigua and Gian De Castro put runners on first and second before an error allowed them to load the bases. But Top Tier’s Cristofer Walley was able to get a fly ball to get out of the inning before settling in for the remainder of his start, allowing just two hits for the rest of the outing.
Top Tier tried to get something going in the third, with its own pair of back-to-back singles off the bats of Aidan Miller and Cade Kurland. They would move over to second and third but could get no further when Resmondo starter Brandon Olivera got a flyout and strikeout to end the inning.
Finally, in the bottom of the sixth, the Top Tier Roos American were able to break through. Wes Mendes led off the inning with a single before Fletcher Hislop moved him over to third with a one-out drive into right. Troy Reader then plated Mendes with a sacrifice fly into center for the game’s only run.
“We had a fast guy on third, I knew I just had to drive the ball somewhere into the outfield,” Reader said on his approach before bringing in the deciding run.
Miller reached base three times for Top Tier with a hit and two walks while Atingua and DeCastro each went 2-for-3 with two hits for Resmondo. Walley’s six shutout innings with five strikeouts earned him the win while Olivera also had an impressive six-inning outing, but suffered the loss after allowing the game’s single run. John Abraham earned the save for Top Tier, striking out two of the four batters he faced in the seventh.
East Coast Sox Franchise 8, 5 Star National 0
In the strongest offensive outing of the quarterfinals, East Coast Sox Franchise pulled ahead to win 8-0 over 5 Star National. A seven-run third inning propelled the team to its fourth victory of the tournament and a spot in Monday’s semifinals.
5 Star National tried to get a two-out rally going in the first when Dunford and Hays hit back-to-back singles but East Coast’s Owen Egan was able to escape the jam with his first of five strikeouts of the game.
The offensive onslaught in the third for East Coast began with a leadoff single by Myers followed by a double from Hamilton to put runners on second and third with no outs. An error and three straight walks brought in two runs before McAbee sent a two-run double into right to clear the bases and make it 4-0.
“I just tried to attack the first pitch fastball,” said McAbee about jumpstarting his team’s offense. “I thought it was coming so I was able to get ahold of it.”
A few more errors would turn out to be costly and allow East Coast to add three more runs in the inning to make it 7-0. They were then able to add one more run in the fourth when Kaler hit a leadoff triple and came across to score on a passed ball.
RJ Hamilton led the way for East Coast, going 2-for-2 with an RBI while Andrew Dunford went 2-for-3 at the plate for 5 Star National. Egan got the win on the mound, allowing no runs on five hits in the shortened game while Kaleb Johnson was credited with the loss for 5 Star.
Scorpions Marucci 1, Tucci National 0
In another low-scoring pitcher’s duel, Scorpions Marruci came away with a 1-0 win over Tucci National in Sunday’s 16U National Team Championships North Carolina quarterfinals to claim the last spot in Monday’s semifinals. The two teams combined for just five hits in the game while both team’s pitchers combined to allow nine walks. Scorpions Marucci used small ball and a timely hit to get the win.
The run came in the third when McKenzie drew a leadoff walk and Simpson moved the courtesy runner Breydan Calapa with a sacrifice bunt. Then, Richardson collected the biggest hit of the afternoon when he brought Calapa in on a single into right.
“Their pitcher was hitting his spots, so I just tried to choke up and put something in play,” Richardson said after the game. “It felt like a game where one run might do it with the way the pitchers were throwing."
Despite allowing the run, Cameron Tilly was impressive for Tucci National, allowing just two hits while striking out eight batters. Olin Johnson started the game and allowed just one hit in three innings before Lucas Glendinning threw the last four frames for Scorpions Marucci. Richardson and Cooper Jones had the two hits for Scorpions Marucci while Jack McMullan went 2-for-3 for Tucci National.
With the semifinal matchups set, Scorpions Marucci will play Top Tier Roos American at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 12, while first pitch between the East Coast Sox Franchise and Dulins Dodgers Prime is set for 8:15 a.m. The gold medal game will follow on the USA Baseball National Training Complex’s Coleman Field at 10:45 a.m. and can be streamed live on Playsight.