Ryan Shurgin laced a game-tying double and Kendrick Jorge capped a wild six-run top of the seventh with a go-ahead single as the Nor’East Clippers rallied to defeat 3Up3Down Baseball, 6-5, in the 13U Labor Day Blast championship game on Sunday at Diamond Nation.
Righthander Joel Ummarino carried a two-hit shutout and a 5-0 lead for 3Up3Down into the seventh inning but opened the final inning by issuing consecutive walks to Owen Covello and Sebastian Espinal. Ummarino’s day ended there as 3Up3Down went to the bullpen to shut the door on the West Chester, N.Y.-based Clippers.
Gryffen Cappellano entered and got two quick outs, putting the Clippers on the precipice of a 5-0 defeat. But the Clippers had other plans and that included ripping six consecutive hits that turned the five-run deficit alarmingly quickly into a 6-5 lead.
Dylan Espinal hit a bouncer into the shortstop hole for an infield single that loaded the bases. Kenneth Terrero followed with a single through the middle that scored Sebastian Espinal with the Clippers first run of the game. There was certainly reason for 3Up3Down to be concerned at that point but nothing could prepare them for what lay ahead.
Evan Rosado then lofted a high pop up between the pitcher’s mound and second base. When no one took charge, shortstop Nate Lord raced over, dove and nearly caught the ball for the final out of the game. But the ball squirted free as Logan Mammola scored to shave the deficit to 5-2.
Up stepped the Clippers’ second baseman, Shurgin, who had a walk and a ground out to his credit but two pretty good at bats. The righty-hitting Shurgin worked the count to 2-0.
“I was looking for a fastball,” Shurgin said. “I got one middle-in and turned on it.”
Shurgin, the Clippers No. 9 hitter, pulled a shot inside the left field line and past the left fielder. “I thought it might get by him because of the turf,” said Shurgin. It certainly did and all three runners scored to stunningly tie the game at 5-5. The Clippers’ bench stormed the plate as Rosado crossed it with the tying run.
Shurgin called it, “the biggest hit in my career.” He was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“Ryan got ahead in the count, which we preach the importance of,” said Clippers coach Ryan Roman. “Then he jumped on a fastball like he knows he can.” As excited as the Clippers were at that moment, they weren’t done.
Conor Hayes, the No. 10 and last hitter in the Clippes’ order, laced a single through the left side to send Shurgin to third base with the potential go-ahead run. The lineup flipped to the top and Jorge, 1-for-2 with a walk to that point, ripped an 0-2 pitch to center field to score Shurgin for the 6-5 lead.
“It was a fastball on the outside half and I got enough of it,” said Jorge. “We battled back.”
Roman gave Jorge credit for his gritty effort. “Kendrick has been battling an injury the last month and a half and playing DH for us. He’s elevated his game and he gets the bit hit there.”
Jorge’s hit was the Clippers’ sixth straight but 3Up3Down got out of further trouble from there and very nearly turned the tables on the Clippers in the bottom of the seventh.
3Up3Down’s No. 11 hitter, Luke Petersen, drew a one-out walk to get things started in the last of the seventh. Carter Reed then singled with two outs and Cappellano followed with a single to load the bases, put the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run on second base. But the Clippers’ reliever induced a ground ball to second base to end it.
3Up3Down had defeated the Clippers by the same 6-5 score in pool play on Sunday.
“It was almost the same situation but they got us out that time,” said Roman. This was great. I’ve been coaching these boys since they were nine years-old and it’s been a pleasure.”
NOTES: Ummarino permitted one run on two hits, struck out three and walked four. He had retired 10 straight Clippers entering the seventh inning. … 3Up3Down built its lead with a run in the second inning, three runs in the fourth and a run in the sixth. Aiden Peterson singled and scored on Cameron Zurawski’s triple to right field in the second. Zurawski doubled home two runs in the fourth and scored on Chase Eisenhower’s beautiful bunt single. Aiden Peterson, 3Up3Down’s catcher, singled and later scored on Lord’s single to left field.
… Peterson, who had two singles, drew a walk and scored three runs, was outstanding behind the plate as well. He threw out two would-be base-stealers.