Michael Madigan, Mason Mingle and Lucas Crystal delivered clutch run-scoring singles to guide the Syracuse Baseball Club Yeti Crabs to a 7-6 victory over the Diamond Jacks Super 14U in a wild 14U Summer Bash championship game.
And the SBC Yeti Crabs’ bullpen limited the Diamond Jacks to one run over the final four innings in an entertaining game that saw four lead changes before the Crabs put away the championship in the A-B Bracket.
Rising Stars Baseball of Pa. broke a 4-4 tie with three runs in the top of the seventh to defeat the Diamond Jacks Gold 14U, 7-4, in the 14U Summer Bash C-D Bracket final.
It was Madigan who came in to close the championship game against the Super 14U squad. And the job he performed was thorough.
The Diamond Jacks (4-1) rallied in the bottom of the sixth without making much noise as two Yeti Crabs relievers issued four walks and hit a batter, the last of which allowed Matt Fattore to force home Nick Baillargeon and tie the game at 6-6. The Crabs, perhaps, saved another run when John DiGregorio was caught stealing for the first out of the inning. DiGregorio led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. He then had second base stolen but overslid the bag and was tagged out.
The turf was a bit slick from a short rain shower in the fourth inning. Baillargeon, Rory Finn, A.J. Surace and Fattore then drew consecutive walks to tie the game. But in came Madigan to shut the door. The hard-throwing lefthander induced two straight infield pop ups to strand the bases loaded, end the threat and preserve the tie. Then Crystal delivered a huge two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh to put the Crabs back in front, 7-6.
Ethan Harris had led off the seventh for the Crabs with a single to right field. Carter King bunted Harris to second. It was the third successful sacrifice bunt by the Crabs in the game and all led to runs. Andrew David then singled to left as Harris stopped at third. Super 14U reliever Matt Kosuda struck out the next batter for the second out. Crystal, however, jumped on a first-pitch fastball and ripped it through the left side to score Harris with the go-ahead run.
Kosuda got out of the inning when he tagged out David at the plate as he tried to score on a wild pitch. Catcher DiGregorio delivered a perfect strike from the backstop. So the pressure was on Madigan to protect the one-run lead with the Nos. 11, 1 and 2 batters due up for the Diamond Jacks.
Madigan could clearly smell the championship hardware and he wasn’t playing. He retired the Diamond Jacks in order via strikeout, strikeout and a pop up to first base to set off a Yeti Crabs celebration near the mound.
“Wherever you are playing, whether it’s at Diamond Nation or Myrtle Beach or wherever, getting to a championship game is a big deal,” said Yeti Crabs coach Brian Smith. “You have to find a lot of ways to push runs across.”
The Crabs (3-1-1) had struck for two runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-5 lead. Jonathan Schirmer started it with a leadoff single inside of third base. Crystal sacrificed him to second and Madigan followed with a hard single to center field that chased Schirmer home with the tying run. Joe Seliger drew a walk and Mingle stepped up and singled to left field to score Madigan for a 6-5 lead. Kosuda relieved Super 14U starter Logan Force at that point and deftly escaped further trouble on a 6-4-3 double play.
While the Madigan, Crystal and Mingle efforts stood out, the contributions were many for the Yeti Crabs, leaving Smith with an impossible choice for MVP. He wisely chose not to make one.
“We’re a very good team and hit 1-to-9 in the order,” said Smith. “You can’t win a tournament against good teams like (the Diamond Jacks) unless everyone chips in. Guys move around in the order and they all get hot at different times. You never know where the hits will come from.”
Today, the hits came from almost everywhere in a Crabs lineup that mashed for eight of them and worked six walks. The Crabs also drove in a pair of runs on sac flies and layed down three sacrifice bunts.
Seliger, the Crabs No. 7 hitter, and Ben Ryan, the No. 9 hitter, each delivered an RBI single in Yeti’s three-run top of the second. Harris brought home the third run of the inning on a sac fly. Ryan’s sac bunt helped set up another run in the fourth that cut the Diamond Jacks lead to 5-4 at the time. Seliger led off the inning with a double to right field and Mingle followed with a walk. Ryan bunted them both into scoring position before King’s sac fly to right scored Seliger.
The Diamond Jacks trimmed the Crabs’ early 3-0 deficit to 3-1 on Surace’s RBI single in the bottom of the second. DiGregorio led off with a single and took second on a fielder’s choice grounder. Super 14U took its first lead at 5-3 when it struck for four runs in the third courtesy of three hits and a Crabs error.
Matt Diskin brought the first run in and Baillargeon drove in the last one with RBI singles. Tate Derias scored from third on a double play grounder and Kosuda raced home on a wild pitch.
The Crabs bullpen stepped up in a big way as four relievers — Casey Gurnip, Jackson Cerio, Tanner Kellogg and Madigan — combined to limit the Diamond Jacks to one run on three hits over 4.1 innings, striking out four, walking four and hitting one batter.
“We knew they were a good hitting team,” said Smith, referring to the Super 14U squad. “We tried to mix it up and give them different looks.” Starter Ben Ryan, Cerio and Tanner are righthanders and Gurnip and Madigan are lefties.