U.S. Elite Baseball Captures Gold at the 15U East Championships
Elite Squad 15U Prime won silver, while Evoshield Florida 15U Gold took home bronze
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Each year, a multitude of the United States' best amateur baseball programs are invited to attend the 15U East National Team Championships, which is one of the most elite tournaments on the annual summer travel baseball schedule. After four days of tough competition, only four teams - Evoshield Florida 15U Gold, Elite Squad Underclass Prime, U.S. Elite Baseball and Elite Squad 15U Prime - remained upon the resumption of competition on Wednesday.
At 8:00 a.m., U.S. Elite Baseball squared off against Elite Squad Underclass Prime, while Evoshield Florida 15U Gold took on Elite Squad 15U Prime to determine who would advance to the Gold Medal Game.
U.S. Elite Baseball jumped out to an early 4-run lead in the first inning and cruised to a 4-1 victory over Elite Squad Underclass Prime as a result of a strong performance at the mound by Matt Warrington (Millsboro, Del.). During 6.2 innings at the bump, Warrington only surrendered three hits and one run, while striking out eight hitters.
Elite Squad 15U Prime secured a berth in the championship game after weathering a late rally by Evoshield Florida 15U Gold in the top of the seventh to win, 5-2. Taylor Clapp (Lake Worth, Fla.) came up big for Elite Squad at the plate, going 2-for-3 with one double, one triple, one RBI and two runs.
Gold Medal Game
As a reward for advancing to the championship game, Elite Squad 15U Prime and U.S. Elite Baseball had the opportunity to play in Roger Dean Stadium, the spring training home of the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins.
The two high-caliber programs took to the field at 12:30 p.m. to determine who would take home the 2016 15U East gold medal. Coming into the matchup, U.S. Elite Baseball had a record of 5-2, while Elite Squad 15U Prime held a perfect 7-0 record.
In the first day of pool play on Friday, Elite Squad 15U Prime defeated U.S. Elite Baseball, 6-3, as a result of a 4-run fourth inning. On Wednesday, U.S. Elite Baseball flipped the script, defeating Elite Squad 15U Prime, 6-1, to win the 15U East gold medal.
The offensive fireworks started quickly as both squads registered a run in the opening frame of the championship game. Bobby Whalen (Camp Hill, Pa.) slid into home plate following a walk by starting pitcher Ethan Kramer (Wellington, Fla.) to give U.S. Elite Baseball an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Elite Squad 15U Prime followed up with a strong offensive showing in the bottom of the first to tie the game, 1-1.
In the third inning, U.S. Elite Baseball re-took the lead after bringing home two more runs off of three hits and one error. Jimmy Johns scored the first run of the inning following a fielder's choice to second base. Adam Cecere (Windber, Pa.) knocked an infield groundball to the shortstop, allowing Whalen to slide into home plate for U.S. Elite Baseball.
The offensive flurry of U.S. Elite Baseball continued into the fourth inning, when the team added on two more runs to take a 5-1 lead. Following three consecutive singles, Ben Greenspon (New York, N.Y.) brought home Jayson Kramer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) after grounding out to third base. Ryan Kutz (Hummelstown, Pa.) slid into home plate the next play following a line drive single by Johns.
Following two defensive dominated innings, U.S. Elite Baseball notched an insurance run in the seventh inning to expand the lead to five runs. Two walks and a fly ball single to right field loaded the bases for U.S. Elite Baseball with only one out when Whalen scored off a fielder's choice to second base.
Elite Squad 15U Prime was unable to respond in the bottom of the seventh as Xavier Moronta (Miramar, Fla.), Jorda Carrion (Miami, Fla.) and Drew Beno (Wellington, Fla.) all hit popups and groundouts that were easily corralled by the U.S. Elite Baseball defense.
Will Carlone (West Seneca, N.Y.) was a dominant force on the bump for U.S. Elite Baseball and provided a massive boost to lead his team to gold. Carlone pitched a complete game, striking out four batters, while only surrendering three hits and one run on Wednesday. Whalen had a strong performance at the dish for U.S. Elite Baseball, going 1-for-2 with three runs and two walks.
Bronze Medal Game
Following losses in the semifinal round, Elite Squad Underclass Prime and Evoshield Florida 15U Gold took to Red 2 to determine who would claim the 15U East bronze medal. Headed into the game, Evoshield Florida 15U Gold and Elite Squad Underclass Prime both held records of 5-2.
Evoshield Florida 15U Gold weathered a late game rally by Elite Squad Underclass Prime to win 10-7 and capture the bronze medal at the 15U East National Team Championships on Wednesday.
The offense of Evoshield Florida 15U Gold was firing from all cylinders during the second inning as the team put three runs on the board to jump out to an early lead. Dylan Delucia (Port Orange, Fla.) began the offensive spurt after smashing a line drive single to right field to plate Derick Stager (Trinity, Fla.). Four plays later, Anthony Barrone, a courtesy runner for Delucia, slid into home plate following a fielder's choice to shortstop. A single by Pablo Ruiz (West Palm Beach, Fla.) brought home Quinten Romo (Wellington, Fla.) to extend Evoshield Florida 15U Gold's lead to 3-0.
Elite Squad Underclass Prime responded in the third inning, notching one run to cut into Evoshield Florida 15U Gold's early lead. Jet Lica (Coral Springs, Fla.) smacked a sacrifice fly ball to left field to score Nicholas Vera (Miami, Fla.) and put Elite Squad Underclass Prime on the board.
Evoshield Florida 15U Gold's bats woke up in the fourth inning, as the team notched another run to take a 4-1 lead in the bronze medal game. The team followed this up with another run in the fifth inning to expand the lead to four runs.
In the sixth inning, Elite Squad Underclass Prime fired back in a big way, putting an additional four runs on the board to tie the game. Chase Chatman (Cape Coral, Fla.), Timothy Manning (Coral Springs, Fla.), Isaiah Hood (Tamarac, Fla.) and Adrian Figueroa (Miami, Fla.) all scored runs during the timely offensive flurry for Elite Squad Underclass Prime.
As Evoshield Florida 15U Gold returned to the plate in the seventh inning, the team re-gathered its composure from a tough sixth inning defensively and tacked on five additional runs to take a 10-4 lead headed into the game's final half-inning.
Elite Squad Underclass Prime started off the bottom of the seventh with three line drive singles to load the bases. After a single by Figueroa, Eduardo Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Enrique Bradfield (Hialeah, Fla.) slid into home plate to narrow the deficit to three runs with only one out away from defeat. Ultimately, Elite Squad Underclass Prime was unable to complete the miraculous comeback, as Matthew Corpas (Miami, Fla.) flied out to end the game on the very next play.
Stager, the starting pitcher for Evoshield Florida 15U Gold, had a phenomenal day, both at the plate and the mound. Offensively, Stager was on fire all afternoon, going 3-for-3 with one double, two RBIs and two runs. On the other side of the ball, Stager pitched 4.0 dominant innings, striking out three batters and only allowing three hits and one run.