Noah MacNeal pitched a four-hitter to guide the Chester County Bobcats to a 6-0 victory over Whalen Baseball and the 10U Slugfest championship on Sunday night at Diamond Nation.
MacNeal struck out six and permitted just a single walk in an exceedingly tidy effort as the Pennsylvania team won its first tournament championship of the fall season.
It was particularly impressive to see a 10 year-old walk just one batter over six innings. “Noah’s a gamer,” said Bobcats coach Brian Miles. “He wanted the ball in the sixth inning, in fact he was begging for it.”
The righty MacNeal rewarded his coach’s trust in him to finish the shutout when he retired Whalen Baseball in order in the bottom of the sixth. “He does a good job changing speeds and keeping batters off balance,” said Miles.
MacNeal was named the 10U Slugfest Most Valuable Player.
Chester County had struck for two runs in the top of the fourth without the benefit of a hit and took that tenuous 2-0 lead into the sixth. The Bobcats, however, would give MacNeal some much-desired breathing room when they struck for four runs in their final at bat.
Will Mackiewicz brought the first run home in the sixth with an infield single before Noah Miles laced a shot into the left-center field gap that went for a two-out three-run triple and a 6-0 lead.
“We really hadn’t been good offensively until this year,” said coach Miles. “We’ve succeeded with good pitching and defense.” The Bobcats showcased a well-rounded game in the 10U Slugfest, outscoring their opponents 39-3 in a 3-0-1 tournament run.
It was obvious the Bobcats had been playing together for a while, as they always seemed to be in right spot at the right time on defense and took every extra base possible offensively. Meanwhile, the team’s pitchers tossed two shutouts while permitting those miniscule three runs in four games.
“These guys have been together since they were 8 year-olds,” said Miles.
Mackiewicz innocuously started the rally in the fourth with a leadoff walk. After Aidan Capobianco was hit by a pitch, both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch. Mason Sellers then walked to load the bases with no outs. Another ball got away from the catcher with Noah Miles at the plate. But catcher Angelo DiMauro reacted beautifully, retrieving the ball, chasing Mackiewicz back to third base and firing to first base to catch Sellers off the bag.
But Mackiewicz, alertly, broke for home on the sequence and just beat the throw home from first baseman Chase Scotcavage. The 2-0 lead loomed large with MacNeal peppering the zone with strikes for the Bobcats. MacNeal, in fact, retired the last 12 of 14 batters he faced and the final five batters in order.
MacNeal’s outing wasn’t without some tension. He stranded runners on second and third in the first inning after a walk to Peyton Schley and Joey Romanosky’s two-out single. Schley led off the fourth with a double to left-center field and Brody Hess singled and reached second on a throwing error with one out in the fifth. MacNeal, however, stranded both of them, too.
Landon Trout, appropriately wearing No. 27, had the other hit for Whalen Baseball (3-1), a two-out single in the second.
The Bobcats actually managed just three hits in the championship game, two of them by Miles, who also doubled in the second but was stranded.
Righthander Riley Sebastian started and pitched well for Whalen Baseball, shutting out the Bobcats on one hit over the first three innings. He struck out four and walked three before he allowed the first two batters to reach in the fourth and was lifted.
Whalen Baseball outscored its tournament opponents 45-20.