API’s 13U “Big” Red rebounded from a tough start on Day 1 of the CBA Elite year-end tournament by closing out with two wins to secure the bronze championship on Day 2.
Day 2, Sunday, June 16, started off with a defensive gem of a semifinal against the Southern Maryland Aces with Nathan Morris and Nick Dinunzio allowing three total runs and just one earned run over seven innings. The momentum of the game shifted in the fifth inning with a relay on a single from right fielder Navey Navarette through second baseman Jack McDonough to Brendan Abell at the plate for a diving tag, keeping the go-ahead run off the board. Morris then drove in Navarette for the winning run in the bottom of the fifth and API held on in the seventh with bases loaded when Teagan McDonough and Aden Narock connected for a game-ending double play, sending API into the final.
The final game against Kent Island had even more fireworks and drama including a nine-run second inning for API marked by a two-run double from Jamon Dick and an RBI single for Josh Reil. The sixth inning was key as well for API with Navarette, Spencer Bond, Jack McDonough and Nathan Murphy scoring to push the lead to 14-9. Kent Island drew even in the top of the seventh with defensive miscues from API, but Abell was able to get out of the jam in his fifth inning of work by inducing two strikeouts and a pop-up to keep it even. With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Dinunzio drew a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball to set the stage for Narock, who coolly stepped up to the plate and drove a hard line drive to right for the walk-off win.
“These kids really hang together and play hard for each other no matter the situation,” said head coach Sean Abell. “They showed real grit this weekend … They deserve to get this one.”