CARY, N.C. -- Southeast Stars pitcher Brandon Washington tossed five innings of shutout baseball and struck out six batters in a 3-1 victory over Northwest Stars in the championship game of the 14U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Coleman Field on Sunday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
After withstanding a two hour and 10 minute-weather delay following the first inning of the finale, Southeast Stars put the pressure on the Northwest Stars immediately. The first run scored on a bases loaded wild pitch and Joshua Wilhide and Leo Lupienski followed with RBIs in the infield to go ahead 3-0.
That score would hold thanks to stellar pitching from Washington and tremendous defense that seemingly kept Northwest Stars one hit away from getting back into the game. The Northwest Stars would finally tally a run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a bases loaded hit-by-pitch to Chase Johnson, but it was all the offense they could muster on the day as Southeast Stars won 3-1.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Brandon Washington led the game off for Southeast Stars with a double but Northwest Star’s Braeden Butler eliminated the early threat with an unassisted double play, snagging a liner and diving into the second-base bag for the double play.
- The defense carried into the bottom of the first inning as Southeast Stars’ Leo Lupienski made an incredible backwards diving catch at the warning track in left field to end the inning.
- The game was delayed for two hours and 10 minutes due to inclement weather and resumed at 10:33 a.m.
- Southeast Stars scored the first run of the game thanks to a bases-loaded wild pitch by Northwest Stars starter Eric Johnson. An RBI-groundout to second from Joshua Wilhide and an RBI-single up the middle by Leo Lupienski put Southeast up three in the top of the second inning.
- The Northwest Stars threatened in the bottom of the third, putting runners on first and second with one out, but Eric Johnson induced an infield-fly and a strikeout to escape the jam and head into the fourth with the 3-0 lead.
- With Southeast Stars’ Jalen Moton on third base with two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Davis Wilson made a diving play on a short ball in center to end the inning and keep the Northwest Stars in striking distance.
- Chase Johnson drew a one-out bases loaded hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning to push across a run for Northwest Stars; however, Southeast Stars reliever Joshua Wilhide came in and escaped the jam to keep Southeast up 3-1.
- Southeast Stars starting pitcher Brandon Washington earned the victory on the mound, pitching five innings of shutout baseball and striking out six batters.
- Joshua Wilhide struck out two batters over the final 1.2 innings to earn the save for Southeast Stars.
- Northwest Stars starter Eric Johnson gave up three runs on three hits to suffer the loss. Johnson struck out one batter on the day in 2.1 innings pitched.
- Adam Plascencia was strong in relief for Northwest Stars, striking out two batters in 2.2 innings before turning the ball over to Emmett Brown, who pitched two innings of hitless baseball.
- In addition to a SportsCenter-worthy diving play in the first inning, Leo Lupienski went 1-for-2 with an RBI-single for Southeast Stars.
- In addition to a stellar outing on the mound, Brandon Washington went 1-for-2 with a walk, tallying one of three hits on the day for Southeast Stars.
- Despite the loss, Northwest Stars outhit the Southeast Stars 5-3, with hits from Adam Plascencia, Makai Plaza, Seddrick Henderson III, Sam Lakey, and Wyatt Plyler.
- The 11U/13U NTIS Champions Cup will begin with the Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday, August 24, and games will begin on Thursday, August 24 from the National Training Complex and Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.