By Greg Gulas
The defending NABF 16-U World Series champion Astro Falcons and Little B league runner-up Baird Brothers each suffered through opening-game woes on the second day of tournament play.
Prospects on the other hand, had a hard time scoring as they fell 3-0 to Ohio Longhorns in their opener at Austintown Fitch, then dropped the second game of their doubleheader to Michigan Red Sox, 1-0.
Astro and Baird relied on strong pitching performances in their second games to get back on the winning track.
The Astros failed to score in their opener, dropping a 5-0 decision to Toledo Hawks before turning to tourney addition Patrick Coleman, who went four strong innings, allowed just two hits and faced one batter over the minimum in an 11-0 win over Frozen Ropes Outlaws in five innings.
Baird fell to the Outlaws in their opening game, 5-4, then watched as Rocco Bernadino fashioned a perfect game through four innings before allowing a lead-off single in the fifth inning of their 12-0, five-inning win over South Central 517.
Astro Falcons will meet Ohio Longhorns today at 9 a.m. at Cene Park (Field No. 2), Baird takes on West NY Tigers (Field No. 3), also at 9 a.m. while Prospects goes up against Toledo Hawks at 4:30 p.m. (Field No. 2).
TOLEDO HAWKS 5, ASTRO FALCONS 0
Brad South tossed six innings of shutout ball, striking out seven and scattering six hits to help lift the Toledo Hawks.
The Hawks got on the board first in the fourth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate to open a 4-0 lead, the first deficit the Astros have faced in world series play. Five hits and two errors proved to be Astro’s undoing as the Hawks chased Falcons starter Jorge Leedham after 32/3 innings of work.
Run-scoring singles by Ben Dunsmore, Brendan Cannon and pitcher Brad Smith were the key hits in the frame.
They added an insurance marker in the fifth inning when Cannon’s single plated Ben Dunsmore.
Dunsmore had two hits, scored twice and registered an RBI while Cannon added two hits and plated two runs to pace the Hawks.
Brayden Beck had two of Astros six hits with Connor Miller adding a triple to aid Astros offensively.
ASTRO FALCONS 11, FROZEN ROPES OUTLAWS 0
Coleman, an addition from Knightline Embroidery, aided his cause by picking off a runner in the opening frame while the Astro offense was downright offensive, belting out 10 hits with Brayden Beck going 3 for 3 with two triples, four RBIs and a run scored.
“I knew we had to win and you want to put that first game behind you as soon as possible,” Coleman said. “We hit well, played excellent defense and everything just clicked. It’s been an easy transition for me.”
Astro opened a 2-0 lead in the second inning with the first four batters reaching base on singles as Hector Rosa had an RBI.
They extended their lead to 4-0, adding two more runs on a run-scoring double by Andrew Sabella and an RBI triple by Beck.
Beck continued his assault on Outlaws pitching as Astro sent nine batters to the dish in the fourth inning, plating five more runs for a 9-0 lead.
Beck’s bases loaded triple, his third hit of the game and his second triple in as many innings was the big hit with Connor Miller and Sabella adding the other two RBIs.
“It was a tough first game for us. We needed more energy,” Beck said. “We knew that we would have to win in order to remain alive in the tournament.”
Astro added two insurance markers in the fifth inning.
FROZEN ROPES OUTLAWS 5 BAIRD BROTHERS 4
Outlaws twirler Dean Ruzich went 6 innings and scattered nine hits to pick up the win.
Sean Helpy’s two-run double in the fifth inning helped Baird cut the deficit to 5-3, adding a run in the sixth inning but that’s as close as it could get as they suffered their first loss of the tournament.
Jake Bowen tossed five innings for Astros, allowing just four hits to absorb the loss.
Trey Pancake had two hits, roped a double and scored a run, Bren Kilpatrick had two hits and scored twice while Connor Meyer also added two hits to pace Baird offensively.
BAIRD BROTHERS 12 SOUTH CENTRAL 517 0
Bernadino was perfect through four innings, allowing just a single to Brandon Young to lead off the fifth frame.
“Losing wasn’t an option in our second game and I just wanted to do anything in order to win,” Bernadino said7. “I relied on my slider down and my fast ball low. My sinker didn’t sink like I had hoped, but my fast ball worked the entire game.”
Baird scored four runs in the second, third and fourth innings with Trey Pancake roping three hits — he was a home run shy of the cycle — and scoring a run, and Brandon Mikos adding three hits, including a double with three runs scored.
Ethan Shaw and Jake Gehring also had two hits and scored twice with Shaw also adding a double.
OHIO LONGHORNS 3 PROSPECTS 0
Longhorns pitcher Tyler Jellison needed just 60 pitches for his complete game shutout.
“Our bats have come up cold this tournament,” Prospects manager Britt Taylor said. “We’ve given up just seven runs overall in the tournament, so you can see that our defense has been absolutely superb.”
Prospects starter Shane Cato also went the distance, allowing just five hits while striking out four in a losing effort.
Cameron Hollobaugh laced a double and single to pace the Prospects offensively.
MICHIGAN RED SOX 1 PROSPECTS 0
Hollobaugh then tossed a complete game, allowing just two hits while striking out six Red Sox batters.
Michael Brown led off the fourth inning with a double and then came around to score the game’s only run for the Red Sox
Gage Tomko, Evan Pirtz, Konnor Learn and Sully Brown Prospects hits, all singles.