By Will Harrigan
Summer has been successful for the BC Cyclones Red 14U squad, but they came into Diamond Nation this weekend with no hardware to show for it.
More than 25 wins since June and two losses in championship games in tournaments, but no prize to show for it.
Until Sunday night, that is.
Riding the strong pitching of Anthony Gonzalez and a late three-run burst, the Cyclones claimed a 4-1 victory over Baseball U-Anthracite on Sunday night in the 14U Summer Bash championship game.
Taking home the title capped off a 5-0 weekend for the Cyclones, who outscored their opponents by a 33-16 margin along the way. Baseball U-Anthracite knocked off its top-seeded sister program, Baseball U-Philly, to reach the final, and went 3-2 on the weekend.
Cyclones first baseman Isaiah Rodriguez garnered MVP honors.
“That was a tight, tight game all the way through. Two tough pitchers out there throwing it well – props to (Baseball U’s) kid as well. We did enough to rally late and win,” said Cyclones coach Hector Rodriguez.
A fielding error by the Anthracite squad allowed the winning rally to start, as Andres Polanco put himself into scoring position.
A batter later, David Acevedo roped a double down the third base line, scoring Polanco and giving the Cyclones the go-ahead, and eventual winning, run.
Later in the inning, Jacob Greenberg’s grounder to first and a single by Sebastian Santana drove in a pair of insurance runs to extend the lead to 4-1.
The three-spot allowed Gonzalez to earn the win in what was a terrific outing. Gonzalez allowed just one hit over six innings, while striking out seven different Baseball U batters.
“Anthony hasn’t actually pitched great lately, but he found the zone today. I’m very proud of the way he threw the ball,” said Rodriguez.
The Cyclones drew first blood, and it came right away in the first inning.
Isaiah Rodriguez of BC Cyclones Red was named 14U Summer Bash MVP.
Raniel Medrano reached on a fielding mishap by Baseball U and followed that with a rare two-base move to third after running on a pitch that resulted in a grounder to third.
A batter later, Acevedo cashed in, lacing a single to center to give the Cyclones an early 1-0 lead. Acevedo finished 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs batted in, and a run scored.
“David is a strong kid, and when he puts the ball in play, it usually is good news,” Rodriguez said.
Baseball U-Anthracite – from the greater Hazleton area in Pennsylvania – leveled things up in the top of the third, starting its rally when Jake Yanser ripped a line drive double down the left field line.
After a wild pitch, Baseball U nine-batter Mike Baloy did his job perfectly, laying a safety squeeze bunt down the third base line to score Yanser, leveling things up at 1-1.
With Gonzalez out of the game in the seventh, Baseball U-Anthracite drew a pair of two-out walks and a hit batsman to load the bases and make things interesting at the end. But Medrano induced a grounder off of Deshaun White’s bat to end the game.