Righthander Chris Goyette tossed a four-hitter and Niagara Thunderwolves struck late on the way to a 3-0 victory over Zoom Baseball Academy in the 17/18U Summer Finale Gold Bracket championship game.
Goyette struck out 10, walked one and hit a batter and the bottom of the Niagara batting order triggered a three-run top of the sixth inning that proved the difference in a tidy, cleanly played championship game.
“Chris showed a lot of competitiveness today,” said Niagara Thunderwolves coach Jeff Ziemecki. “He commanded all of his pitches. His breaking balls set up his fastball. He throws around 81-83 but his fastball looks much harder because of his breaking balls.”
Goyette had to outduel Zoom Baseball’s lefty Ryan Albin, who shut out Niagara on one hit through five innings. But the narrative changed in the top of the sixth when Nick Castellana, Niagara’s No. 7 hitter, led off with a single to right field. Liam Ward then dropped a sac bunt down the third base side and was safe at first as the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. Castellana alertly raced all the way to third on the bunt when he noticed the base uncovered.
Gavyn Boyle, the No. 10 hitter, stepped in and squared to bunt on the first pitch. But Albin’s pitch was in the dirt and got away for a wild pitch that allowed Castellana to score the game’s first run and Ward to take second. The count would run to 1-2 on the lefty-hitting Boyle after he missed at two bunt attempts. He quickly rectified that failure by hitting an opposite field laser into left-center field for an RBI triple.
“Gavyn is just a 2022 and is an exceptional talent,” said Ziemecki. “He’s a fun kid to watch.”
Andrew Stillinger, Niagara’s leadoff hitter, capped the rally with a quality at bat, hitting a bouncer to the right side that scored Boyle with the third run of the inning.
Goyette, who was named the Gold Bracket Most Valuable Player, retired Zoom Baseball in order in the sixth and got through the seventh for he complete game despite Jesse Jaconski’s two-out double.
“My slider felt real good and my curveball had good movement,” said Goyette. “I started to get a feel for my changeup around the third or fourth inning and went to that for strikes a lot.”
Goyette did have to survive Zoom Baseball’s biggest threat when the game was still scoreless in the bottom of the fifth.
Albin, batting fifth in the Zoom order, started the rally with a leadoff bunt single down the third base side. Jaconski bunted him to second before Shaun Levan drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch from Goyette. Nick Micciche dropped another bunt down the third base side that went for a single and loaded the bases with one out.
Goyette, however, struck out the next batter before inducing the No. 10 hitter to hit a bouncer to the shortstop Ward, who forced Miccicche at second to end the threat. Ward, however, nearly lost the handle on the grounder but managed to roll it to second baseman Stillinger who grabbed it just before Micciche got to the bag.
Goyette, in the end, was extremely efficient in taming the Zoom Baseball lineup.
“My philosophy is to hit spots,” Goyette said. “I pride myself on hitting my spots and using the movement of my pitches to keep hitters off balance. I think I had good control of my slider after about 50 pitches. I got a backdoor slider on the outside corner to get one of their lefty hitters.”
Albin permitted three runs, two of which were earned, over five-plus innings on three hits. He struck out five and walked two. He also picked off a runner at first base and got a 1-3-6 caught-stealing when he threw behind another runner as he broke for second base.
Incredibly, the Thunderwolves won three games and tied two despite scored just 15 runs in their five games. That good fortune arrived courtesy of outstanding pitching that permitted just five runs. Mitch Pascarella, in fact, pitched a seven inning perfect game in the semifinals when Niagara defeated Freedom baseball, 1-0. Pascarella struck out eight in the perfecto.
“Chris’ and Mitch’s pitching performances were two of the best we’ve seen all season,” said Ziemecki. Niagara scored a single run in two other games but strong pitching enabled it to come away with a pair of 1-1 ties against Pacoy Dragons Showcase and Pro Tech.
Niagara had competed in the 17/18U Blue Chip Prospects last week, registering a 3-1 record and winning its pool before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
“We’ve been here since last Sunday,” said Ziemecki. “The Blue Chips was a great tournament and it just worked out for us that these two tournaments were back-to-back. We love coming here.”
Zoom Baseball Academy (4-1) held a 22-7 runs advantage on its opponents.
17/18U Blue Chip Prospects
Baltimore Redbirds 5, Syracuse Sports Zone Braves 0
The Baltimore Redbirds defeated the Syracuse Sports Zone Braves, 5-0, in the 17/18U Blue Chip Prospects Black Bracket championship game. The Redbirds’ Noah Rodriguez was named the Black Bracket Most Valuable Player. The Redbirds (5-0) outscored their opponents 27-5 while Syracuse Sports Zone (4-1-1) held a 24-12 runs advantage on its opponents.
Northeast Pride Scout 7, 9ers Baseball Club 18U 1
Northeast Pride Scout defeated 9ers Baseball Club 18U, 7-1, in the 17/18U Blue Chip Prospects Red Bracket championship game. Bryce Reimer of Northeast Pride was named the Red Bracket Most Valuable Player. Northeast Pride (5-0) outscored its opponents 22-3. 9ers Baseball Club (5-1-1) held a 36-12 runs advantage on its opponents.
Diamond Jacks Super 17U 9, Next Level Titans 6
Diamond Jacks Super 17U defeated the Next Level Titans, 9-6, in the 17/18U Blue Chip Prospects Green Bracket championship game. Matt Gluck of Super 17 was named the Green Bracket Most Valuable Player. The Diamond Jacks (5-0-1) outscored their opponents 32-15. The Titans (5-1) held a 52-25 runs advantage on their opponents.
East Coast Sandhogs 8, Baseball U. Prospects 2
The East Coast Sandhogs defeated Baseball U. Prospects, 8-2, in the 17/18U Blue Chip Prospects Gold Bracket championship game. The Sandhogs’ awarded the MVP to their entire team. The Sandhogs (6-0) outscored their opponents 29-9. Baseball U. Prospects (4-2) held a 21-16 runs advantage on their opponents.
Baseball U. North Jersey 5, Long Island Body Armor Titans 16U 2
Baseball U. North Jersey defeated the Long Island Body Armor Titans, 5-2, in the 17/18U Blue Chip Prospects Blue Bracket championship game. Baseball U.’s Andy Serretti was named the Blue Bracket Most Valuable Player. Baseball U. North Jersey (5-0) outscored its opponents 22-7. The Titans (5-1) held a 34-8 runs advantage on their opponents.
Redblacks Baseball 2, NY Bluebirds 11U Blue 1
Redblacks Baseball defeated the NY Bluebirds 11u Blue, 2-1, in the 11U August Showdown championship game. James Sorrentino of Redblacks Baseball was named the 11U Most Valuable Player. Redblacks Baseball (3-2) outscored its opponents 32-17. The NY Bluebirds (3-1) held a 25-8 runs advantage on its opponents.
13U Silver Bracket
RCBC Nationals 14, New Jersey Bulls 0
The RCBC Nationals defeated the New Jersey Bulls, 14-0, in the August Showdown 13U Silver Bracket championship game. Coach Ron of the Nationals was named the 13U Silver Bracket Most Valuable Player. RCBC (3-1) outscored its opponents 40-5. The New Jersey Bulls (3-2) were outscored, 27-22, by their opponents.
13U Gold Bracket
CrossBridge Raiders 6, Diamond Jacks Super 13U 3
The CrossBridge Raiders defeated the Diamond Jacks Super 13U, 6-3, in the August Showdown 13U Gold Bracket championship game. CrossBridge’s Bryce Meccage was named the Gold Bracket Most Valuable Player. The Raiders (5-0) outscored their opponents 29-8. The Super 13U (3-1) held a 27-10 runs advantage on its opponents.
17/18U Summer Finale Wood Bat
Mid-Atlantic Show 10, Lehigh Valley Revolution 1
Mid-Atlantic Show defeated the Lehigh Valley Revolution, 10-1, in the 17/18U Summer Finale Wood Bat Silver Bracket championship game. Sam Portnoy of Mid-Atlantic Show was named the Silver Bracket Most Valuable Player. Mid-Atlantic Show (5-0) outscored its opponents 33-10. The Lehigh Valley Revolution (3-1) was outscored, 13-9, by its opponents.