Righthander Gavin Moore proved once again that throwing strikes and preventing free bases goes a long way in a baseball game, especially at the 15U level where you can expect a few mistakes.
Moore pitched a tidy seven innings, scattering seven hits as he walked just one and hit two batters — aggressively attacking the inside part of the plate — as he steered Dom Brown Baseball to a 7-4 victory over Avengers Baseball and the 15U Labor Day Blast championship.
Moore, who did not strike out a batter, was able to navigate a rugged Avengers Baseball lineup that put runners on base in all but the first inning as he stranded seven of them.
It appeared Moore and Dom Brown Baseball would close out a 7-4 victory in the bottom of the sixth as the 1:50 game clock was racing to zeroes. But, with a run in courtesy of Ryan Jacobson’s one-out RBI double over third base, Joel Ummarino’s liner to second base was turned into an inning-ending double play.
Avengers’ second baseman Colin Andrews went flat out to make a diving catch of Ummarino’s liner and, from the ground, tossed the ball to shortstop Andrew Sundstam to catch Jacobson leaning. One minute remained on the game clock, giving the Avengers one more shot at Moore.
All that meant was Moore would get to grind for one more inning and, aside from hitting Ryan Campbell with a pitch, he’d make quick work of the Avengers to close out a fine performance.
“I hadn’t pitched in about a month, so I was still feeling great,” said Moore about his energy entering the top of the seventh. “I was hyped up in that last inning.”
His last inning was a bit of a microcosm of Moore’s overall performance. He allowed a runner through his own aggressive approach, but dealt with the challenge in an unflappable manner, inducing two weak grounders to the right side to end the game.
“They were getting a whole lot of hard contact,” said Moore, who got a lot of leg out of his four-seam fastball. “I got good movement on my fastball and I kept going to it.” Moore showed excellent command of the strike zone, hitting his spots and utilizing his curveball just enough to give the Avengers batters something else to consider.
Moore received some help from tournament Most Valuable Player Mateo Noto in the top of the sixth. Landen Benner led off with a single and scored on Cole Moreau’s single through the left side to shave the Dom Brown lead to 6-4. The Avengers still had two runners aboard with one out when Grant Danweber sent a looper toward short right field. The ball seemed destined for a single and another run but second baseman Noto made a terrific running catch with his back to the infield for the second out. Moore then caught the next batter looking at a curveball on the outside corner to end the threat.
“Mateo is amazing,” said Moore. “I definitely have a lot of trust in my defense.”
Dom Brown Baseball scored a quick insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Ryan Friel launched a long triple to straight away center field and scored just as quickly when reliever Ryan Campbell uncorked a wild pitch on his first offering to Moore.
While the Dom Brown Baseball bats didn’t light it up, managing just five hits, the Pennsylvania squad gamely took advantage of what four Avengers pitchers gave them, and that included 10 free bases — seven walks and three hit-by-pitches.
The Avengers seemed to be a bit short on pitching after reaching the championship game with an entertaining two-run, game-winning rally in their last at bat to defeat PAB National, 4-3, in the semifinals. Two pitchers, in fact, faced just two batters, walked them both, and were yanked. But the Avengers did find a steadying arm in Campbell, who permitted three runs on four hits over the final four innings, striking out one and walking two.
Noto had a terrific tournament at the plate, as well. He hit a pair of inside-the-park home runs and two triples while playing impenetrable defense at second base.
“Mateo is one heck of a player,” said Dom Brown Baseball coach John DeBrigida.
Noto, who leads off, walked twice and scored twice in the championship game and was complemented by some big hits by his teammates.
Moore helped himself with a two-out RBI single in the first inning, Cole Guy brought a run home in a three-run third inning with a double over third base and Brody Scullin singled in Ummarino in the fourth. Friel’s triple was a big hit in the sixth and, though it didn’t amount to anything, Jacobson hit a hard double down the left field line later in that inning.
“This was our first tournament as Don Brown Baseball,” said DeBrigida, but these guys have played together for a couple seasons. They work hard and our hitting has gotten better. To go undefeated here is unbelievable.”
NOTES: Dom Brown Baseball is owned by former major league Domonic Brown, who coached this past weekend with DeBrigida and his staff. Brown had a six-year career with the Phillies that ended in 2015. Most memorable was his 2013 season when he hit 27 HRs and drove in 83 runs. “Dom has been amazing with the kids,” says DeBrigida. “He speaks from the heart and from his experience. They kids hang onto every one of his words.”
Sundstam reached on an error with two outs in the first that allowed the Avengers’ first run to score. Moreau tripled home Benner, who led off with a walk, for a run in the fourth. Robbie Barnes’ RBI groundout brought Moreau home. And Moreau singled home Benner in the sixth. Benner went 2-for-2 with a walk.
Dom Brown Baseball (5-0) outscored its opponents 36-16. Avengers Baseball (4-1-1) held a 40-16 runs advantage on its opponents.