Generals’ Ben Rodgers starts his dive back to first base on pick off attempt in fifth inning.
Aidan Kim homered, Nick Nush singled home the decisive run and Brandon Purdy worked a gritty five innings as the Bucks County Generals edged Full Count Prospects, 6-4, in a 16U World Series pool play game at Diamond Nation on Tuesday.
The victory vaulted the Generals (3-0) to the top of the 65-team standings with one game left in pool play. Bucks County plays Power 5 Baseball at 5:20 p.m. on Wednesday at Jack Cust Baseball Academy. A victory should ensure it a berth in Friday’s playoffs.
“We put the bat on the ball pretty well top-to-bottom,” said Generals coach Patrick Devlin. “And we had a strong effort on the mound from Brandon Purdy, who battled in the heat.”
Purdy permitted four runs, two of which were earned, on five hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked four. He also extricated himself from what could have been much bigger innings when he stranded the bases loaded in both the third and fourth innings. Purdy grinded gamely through a 92-pitch effort.
Righthander Tyler Behm protected the two-run lead when he closed out the game in the sixth. Jake Memoli drew a leadoff walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Behm got the side in order from there. The game was ended at that point due to the time limit.
Trailing 2-0, the Generals erupted for six runs in the bottom of the third to reset the tone of the game for the Pennsylvania squad. Full Count’s righthander Sal Della Fave had four very effective innings but right in the middle of it he lost command, allowing the first six batters to reach base in the fourth.
Della Fave put the Generals in business when he hit Ben Haines with a pitch and walked Ben Rodgers to start the fourth. Shane Anhalt then laid down a perfect sac bunt and Della Fave’s throw to first was wide of the bag and sailed into right field. Both runners scored on the error to tie the game at 2-2 and Anhalt raced all the way to third base. Jackson Mott then drew a walk and stole second base. Tyler McCord followed with a two-run single to left field to give the Generals their first lead, 4-2. McCord took second on the throw home.
And the Generals weren’t done.
Nush slashed a single to left to score McCord and boost the lead to 5-2. Nush was erased by catcher Donovan Shum on a caught-stealing, but Kim stepped in with two outs and the bases empty and launched a shot just inside the left field foul pole for a home run and a 6-2 lead. It was Kim’s first homer of the summer.
“His fastball was tailing away, so I was looking to go the opposite way,” said the lefty-hitting Kim. “He gave me a fastball and it started inside and tailed over the plate. When I hit it I thought it was slicing foul. That was good after starting out the tournament 0-for-3. I made pretty good contact today.”
Kim, the Generals’ cleanup hitter, also singled leading off the second inning but was stranded there. Kim, a rising junior at Central Bucks West in Pa., packs a lot of power in a 5-10, 225-pound frame.
“We preach hitting first-pitch fastballs,” said Devlin. “We had some good swings early and think that led into the big third inning.”
Full Count built its 2-0 lead on an error in the second inning and Jaydon Cabezudo’s home run in the third. Jake Memoli drew a leadoff walk to start things, reached second on a wild pitch and stole third. With one out, Shum hit a bouncer to first base. The throw home was in time but wide of the plate, allowing Memoli to score.
Cabezudo led off the third with a blast to left field that got out of the park in a big hurry, putting Full Count ahead, 2-0. Jose Fabian then singled with one out and Purdy walked Ty Nikolay and Jack O’Donnell with two outs. But, after a visit from Devlin, Purday retired the next batter on a fly ball to center field.
Full Count trimmed the deficit to 6-4 with two runs in the fourth. Memoli reached on an infield error and Tyler Johnson hit a long double to center field to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Full Count would get them both home. Rob Geisler’s bouncer wide of third ticked off of Nush’s glove as Memoli scored and Evan Nejad singled through the middle to chase Johnson home.
Purdy, however, bounced back with a 1-2-3 fifth before Behm closed it out.
Full Count Prospects (0-2) lost their second close game in the first two days of the tournament. The Middlesex-based team fell, 7-5, to Legkick Nation in its tournament opener on Monday. Next up for Full Count is Power 5 Baseball at 9 p.m. on Wednesday on Field 1.