Youngstown wallops Massachusetts team
Nine stolen bases triggered a 13-1 win for the Ohio Valley champions.
By NATE CROSSMAN
QUINCY, Mass. -- Youngstown coach Al Franceschelli never leaves home for a baseball game without two items: a stopwatch and his square, black briefcase.
The stopwatch times the opposing catcher's throws from home to second and home to third.
The briefcase contains spreadsheets that show how fast his players run from first to second and second to third.
If the player runs faster than the catcher throws then he has the green light to steal. It's an example of science building a better baseball team.
Youngstown used science to overwhelm Pittsfield, Mass., 13-1 in six innings, on Sunday at the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series.
The Ohio Valley region champs stole nine bases and took two more on a wild pitch and passed ball.
Shephard walks four times
Cory Hill went 1-for-3 with a run scored and three stolen bases, while Jaymee Shephard went 0-1 with four walks, three runs scored and three stolen bases.
"A lot of these kids are real, real quick," Franceschelli said. "Once they get going, we're going to keep stealing until they throw you out. Once you get a lead its tough to stop a running game."
It's also hard to stop the running game if the other team can't keep runners off base.
Aside from Youngstown's 10 hits, Pittsfield pitchers issued 11 walks and its fielders committed five errors. Of the 16 batters who reached on a walk or error, seven scored.
"Quick game summary: you can't walk [batters] and you can't make errors," Pittsfield coach Jack Quinn said. "These are all good teams and if you make errors [they will hurt you]."
Said Franceschelli: "At this level of competition, a team can't be giving passes on the bases, it's not going to work for them. If you can't find the plate here you can be in for a long, long day."
Pittsfield scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first on a RBI ground out by Ryan Aitken.
But Youngstown got that run back and a few more in the second. Hill led off with a single and promptly stole second and third.
Ricky Segesto walked and stole second. Shawn Roman drew another walk and Shane Wagner drove both Hill and Segesto in with a single down the right field line to make it 2-1.
Drew Fitzpatrick drove in the third run with a single to right before aggressive base running netted Youngstown two more.
With Shephard at the plate, Pittsfield pitcher Matt Shove threw a wild pitch, allowing Wagner to score. The catcher's throw back to Shove went over his head and Fitzpatrick scored from second to make it 5-1.
"Some of the older kids have good command of the mound, but some of the younger guys, they're not even throwing over," Quinn said about Youngstown's base-stealing prowess. "They're getting running leads.
"You can't check the runner; you have to step off and throw over."
Youngstown scored three more in the fourth, including one on a long triple by Jason Bagoly. After picking up one in the fifth, Youngstown put the game away with four in the sixth. Anthony Franceschelli delivered the big blow with a two-RBI single.
Roman gave way to Nick Crum in the fourth and Crum allowed only a single in two innings of work. Shephard and Jared Turocy worked the sixth.
Youngstown improved to 2-1 in pool play and does not play again until Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. against Norwood, Mass.
According to Shephard, his team is more focused after losing to Tri-Valley (Calif.) on Saturday.
"We needed to lose because we went through states and regionals 9-0 and I think we were a little too big-headed," Shephard said. "I'm not glad we lost but it was a good thing for us."