16u and 17u Intersquad Games Recap

New Lenox, IL- It was a beautiful weekend for another round of intersqaud games, this time between all of Top Tier’s 16U and 17U teams. The weather was perfect, sitting in and around the mid 70’s with a slight breeze all weekend. Players from both age levels were able to get acclimated with their new teammates while also finding their role with their new teams. The weekend featured high-end talent, with some players already committed to Division I, Division II, Division III, and even NAIA college baseball programs. Additionally, there was no shortage of runs as multiple games featured homeruns, including one inside-the-park. The great weather and setting at Tom Dedin Field would provide the perfect backdrop for the first weekend of competition these teams, players, and parents had long been waiting for. Game play would produce both pitching duels and offensive firepower over the two days. With bragging rights having finally been claimed by the victors, let’s take a look back at Saturday and Sunday’s action from Tom Dedin Field at Providence Catholic High School.


17U Americans Drop Opener to 16U Americans

The first game of the weekend would prove to be the “big brother vs. little brother” battle you want to watch play out.  Featuring multiple Division I commits on both rosters, the 17U Americans looked to put the younger 16U Americans in their place. But that wasn’t the case early, as the 16U Americans were determined to show they were the better team. The 16U Americans got out in front first, taking a 1-0 lead after Jai Hsieh-Bailey singled and then stole second and third in the next 3 pitches, eventually scoring on a passed ball that kicked off home plate on a breaking ball down. After that, pitching duel ensued between 16U starter, Ben Hernandez and 17U starter, Grant Leader. That was until the bottom of the 5th when Jack Mahoney tied the game at one a piece with an RBI double to the left center gap. But the tie would not hold for long. 17U American Ashton Schwab was a bit wild coming on in the 4th from the bullpen. He gave up a wild pitch which allowed Hsieh-Bailey to score from third base and help younger brother reclaim the lead, 2-1, going into the bottom of the 6th inning. That’s when 16U American head coach, Griffin Phelps put in Chris Seropian to shut down big brother once and for all. And that’s exactly what he did, giving up no runs in the bottom of the 6th before teammate Dylan Whitney was able to extend the lead to 4-1 after a clutch two out, 2 RBI single in the top half of the 7th. The 17U Americans never recovered, dropping the first game of their 2018 summer season to the 16U Americans, 4-1. “It was awesome,” said Whitney. “I thought we played really well and I’m looking forward to the summer, its going to be a lot of fun.” Other players like 16U American, Anthony Mangano expected his team would come out on top. “It feels great to start the weekend off on a win,” said Mangano. “I think we were expected to win this game, we are a good team and we gelled well together.”


17U Americans Claim Victory Over 17U Nationals with Offensive Surge

The 17U Americans had no trouble scoring on offense in game 2, winning big over the 17U Nationals, 10-2. It all started in the top of the 1st inning when the Americans leadoff hitter, Brendan Carrane, worked his first at bat of the day into a leadoff walk. Following the walk Americans head coach Matt Plante put the pedal to the medal with his offense right away, coaching aggressively on the base paths. They were stealing bases left and right, putting players into scoring position time and time again. This allowed Khyle Radcliffe to drive in a run with a groundout to third base, putting the Americans in front 1-0. Tyler Snep then followed that up with a RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0. After making it 4-0 going into the bottom of the 3rd, starting pitcher Eric Lundell surrendered his one and only run of the game. The Nationals Conor Warner drove a crisp, line drive, RBI single to right field, putting the Nationals on the board at 4-1. After a couple of walks and some timely hits, the Americans extended the lead to nine heading to the 7th.  That’s when the Nationals tried to stage a late rally back as they scored another run before eventually falling to the Americans 10-2. Radcliffe was the player of the game as he led his team with 3 RBI’s. “I just wanted to stay inside the ball and make full extension,” said Radcliffe. Head coach Matt Plante was also pleased with the team’s bounce back victory. “We had much better approaches at the plate in this second game,” said Plante. “And the success showed because of it.”


16U Nationals Falls to 16U Americans after Fifth Inning Score

The Nationals stayed in it until the end, but the Americans would pull away late in a 6-1 victory on Saturday evening. The game was tied 1-1 going into the fifth inning. Nationals pitcher Billy Le Pretre was dealing, retiring the first nine batters of the game against the Americans. It wasn’t until Americans infielder Aiden Stewart hit a line-drive RBI single to left field, tying the game at 1-1. “In the first game against the 17U Americans my swing was kind of long, so I went back to the cages and made the adjustment to shorten up my swing, and it paid off,” said Stewart.  At that point it was anybody’s game going into the fifth inning. But then the Americans started to heat up, Jack Lochner led off the fifth with an absolute laser to centerfield, giving him a lead-off triple. Ben Hernandez then knocked in Lochner with a RBI single to right field. Johnny Hernandez followed that up with another RBI single to give the Americans a 3-1 lead headed to the bottom of the 6th. The Americans scored three more late to finish off the Nationals, 6-1. Ben Hernandez led the Americans in hits, going 2-3 at the plate. “I think we had a lack of focus when Le Petre was on the mound,” Said Hernandez. “We just had to get ourselves together and put our minds to it.”


17U Nationals Bounce Back to Knock Off 17U Nationals-Navy

The 17U Nationals were determined to bounce back after an earlier defeat at the hands of the 17U Americans in the game prior. And it showed, as they coasted to an easy victory over the 17U Nationals-Navy Saturday night. In a game that featured 17 walks and 6 hit-batters, its no surprise this game was as high scoring at it was. But it didn’t start off that way as Nationals-Navy Pitcher Will Melby started the game off strong, going three up three down to start the 1st inning, including 2 strikeouts. 17 Nationals-Navy then got things moving in the bottom of the 1st, after Tim Rickey drew a walk and Adam Gaydos got hit by a pitch from Nationals pitcher, Owen DellaMaria. This put the Nationals-Navy up 2-0 after two innings. As the innings rolled on, the Nationals would be able to recover and take a 3-2 lead in the top of the 3rd. In the bottom half of the inning the bullpen would be called upon. After walking the first three of the first four batters of the inning, DellaMaria would force head coach Zak Worsley’s hand and bring in the imposing 6-2, 215 pound right-handed reliever, Ed Kerner, to try to get them out of the jam. He would come into the jam and escape unharmed, allowing the offense to produce zero damage, forcing a 5-3, third to home, fielder’s choice and a strikeout to end the 3rd. “I was just looking to go out there and have fun,” said Kerner. “We walked a lot of guys and I wanted to go out there and fill it up.” After regaining the momentum behind Kerner’s brilliance, the Nationals were able to put up six runs in the 4th thanks in large part to patient at bats that lead to walks, followed by timely singles from Max Engstrom, and James Carey. The Nationals finished the fourth inning leading 9-3, before ultimately claiming a 12-5 victory. Top Tier Nationals tallied eight hits in the game, with three coming from catcher, Logan Riley. Coach Worsley wasn’t proud with how his team performed, but he was happy they were able to get the victory. “It’s tough for your defense to be clean when your pitching staff is walking guys on four pitches consistently,” said Worsley. “But we did enough to win.”


17U Americans Prove to Be Too Much for 17U Nationals-Navy

The scoring got started early on Sunday morning. Nationals-Navy pitcher Jake McKendry was filling up the zone, but it was to no avail as the Americans jumped out the gate with five hits in the bottom of the 1st. One of which included a no-doubt about it, solo homerun to dead centerfield by first year Top Tier player Zac Tuinei. The homerun extended the Americans lead to 6-0. “Coming in this morning to BP I just really focused on up the middle,” said Tuinei. “Coach gave me the green light on a 3-0 pitch and the pitcher just gave it to me.” Additionally, Americans pitcher, Nathan Rintz gave the Nationals-Navy no chance to build a rebuttal case, as he struck out seven batters while cruising through three innings as the Americans starter. “My fast ball location was working for me really well,” said Rintz. “The curveball looked pretty good too, I felt good out there, and the team behind me helped me by making plays.” The Nationals-Navy did try to rally in the 5th inning however, down 10-0 with the bases loaded, American’s pitcher Michael McCormack walked in a run to put the Nationals-Navy on the board. Following that he hit the next batter before walking the next to put the Nationals-Navy down 10-3 through five innings. After another home run from Casey Kmet, the Americans led 11-3 with no signs of slowing down. When the dust finally settled the Americans came out on top, 13-3.


16U Americans Victorious over 16U Nationals-Navy Thanks to Second Inning Boost

The Top Tier 16U Americans went into Sunday’s game looking to complete perfection. Already 2-0 on the weekend, the Americans looked to finish the weekend as the only team to finish with a clean 3-0 record. The Americans came out with high energy and it showed in the first inning. Outfielder, Ryan Thiesse hit an inside-the-park solo homerun on a line drive to centerfield in the top of the 1st. “The pitcher threw a good pitch on the outside,” said Thiesse. “And I just ran the bases as hard as I could, coach Griffin did a great job waving me in.” That home run, along with some early control issues by Nationals-Navy pitcher, Declan Gallagher allowed the Americans to take an early 4-0 lead after the one complete inning of play. Americans pitcher, left-hander, Cole Anderson followed suit on the bump, pitching a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in the bottom of the first inning. The Americans offense continued in the second inning as they piled on seven more runs to put the score at 11-0. Brendan Holloway, Ryan Thiesse, Jack Lochner, and Alec Gonzalez each had RBI’s in the big inning, with Lochner’s coming from a three-run homerun to right center field. That barrage of runs would basically put the game out of reach for the Nationals-Navy, but they continued to fight and were able to match the Americans to some degree, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second inning off RBI singles from Cameron Smith and Myles Derbigny. However, the Americans then shut them down, winning the game 12-2. 16U Americans assistant coach, Scott Youngbrandt sees a lot of potential in this group of guys. “I think this team is going to be as good as they want to be,” said Youngbrandt. “If they play with that fire they have and show, I think they’ll be pretty legit.”

16U Nationals-Navy Claim Victory over 16u Black with Late Heroics

The final game of the weekend was one to remember. 16U Black stayed in it until the end, but 16U Nationals-Navy pulled away late in a 9-7 victory on Sunday. The Vikings got on the board early, scoring off a wild pitch by Nationals-Navy pitcher, Zach Starr in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. The Nationals-Navy bounced back with a 2 RBI single by Brock Bevil in the 3rd, giving the Nationals-Navy a 2-1 lead. After leading 5-1 in the top of the third inning 16U Black was able to capitalize on Nationals-Navy unforced errors. The errors in the infield allowed the 16U Black to get back in the game as they trailed 5-4 after three innings. Following that, the Vikings took the lead, 6-5 after a RBI single by Luke Hinicks. But the Nationals-Navy tied it again in the sixth inning, 6-6. It looked as if the game might go into extra innings they way each team fought back. But the Vikings got sloppy, allowing one hit and two walks to leave Nationas-Navy player, Jack Landmesser up to the plate with bases loaded and two outs. Landmesser delivered, hitting a 3 RBI triple to right field, giving the Nationals-Navy the edge in a 9-6 victory over the Vikings in the last inning. “I’m really happy to be able to deliver for my teammates,” said Landmesser. “Two days in a row we had comeback wins, so getting the big hit is really exciting.” Head coach Eric Bunnell was also proud of his guys being able to come through in an up and down game, especially after losing the game previously by such a wide margin. “I’m really proud of the guys for staying at it,” said Bunnell. “It didn’t matter the score, they played hard and I’m really happy how we ended it.”

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