Angels Blue Earn Top Seed in San Diego

Angels Blue, behind solid starting pitching fashioned an impressive performance at the USABF Fourth of July Classic in San Diego, Calif. The team went 5-0 in pool play and earned the top seed in the 16u bracket before being upset in the quarterfinals of the playoff bracket.  Here are some recaps of each game …

Game One (Angels Blue 8, Falcons 0; WP- Matt Bergevin)

Matt Bergevin (Seton Catholic) and Kyle Kloeppel (Campo Verde) combined to no-hit the Falcons as the Blue won 8-0 in a run rule contest. Bergevin threw three innings, striking out six.  Kloeppel finished the last two innings walking two and striking out five.  At the plate Bergevin, Garret Thormahlen (Campo Verde), Mason Macaluso (Campo Verde), Easton Erwin (Hamilton) and Andrew Piotrowski (Campo Verde) led the charge as the Blue scored five in the third before adding on an additional two in the fourth and one in the fifth to complete the rout.

Game Two (Angels Blue 5, BNL El Paso White 0, WP – Brandon Melendez, SV – Trent

Adams)

At Grossmont High School, Brandon Melendez (Skyline) threw 4 ⅔ innings of no-hit ball against BNL El Paso White en route to a 5-0 Blue victory. Melendez finished going five plus innings, allowing two hits and striking out three, throwing only 64 pitches. Closer Trent Adams (Campo Verde) came in with two runners on in the sixth and shut down the El Paso rally with a pop up, fly out and strike out.  Angels Blue jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second as catcher Andru Collins (St. Mary’s) led off the inning with a single. Courtesy runner Matthew Spangle (Campo Verde) came into score on a wild pitch with two outs in the inning. In the fourth with one out, Collins connected on his second hit of the contest hitting a double over the right fielder’s head. Piotrowski followed with a single to center to score Spangle and the Blue had a 2-0 advantage.  After Adams heroics on the mound in the top half of the sixth, Blue used the momentum from escaping the El Paso rally to score three in the bottom half of the sixth. A lead off single by shortstop Kyle Hasler (Hamilton), a walk to right fielder Kyle Kloeppel set the table for Erwin who ripped a single to right center to score Hasler, followed by a triple to right by Macaluso to knock in two more and give the Blue the final margin of victory. Adams closed out the top of the seventh with relative ease to end the game and pick up the two inning save.

Game Three (Angels Blue 6, RIP Black 5, WP – Kyle Kloeppel, SV – Trent Adams)

For the first time in the tournament, Angels Blue had to come from behind to get a victory as they defeated RIP Black 6-5 behind the work of four pitchers.  Angels Blue jumped out to a 4-0 lead scoring one in the first, behind hits from Thormahlen, Bergevin and Collins and three in the second behind singles from Will Thompson (McClintock) and Kaden Wetzel (Williams Field), plus doubles from Melendez and Bergevin.  Defensively, Thormahlen threw the first three innings allowing two runs on four hits, striking out three. Mason Macaluso came in for 1 ⅔ scoreless innings before he ran into trouble allowing 3 runs which gave RIP the lead after the fifth inning. Kyle Kloeppel came in to close out the fifth.  The Blue team responded right away in the bottom of the fifth as Marcus Lucas (Basha) led off the inning with a double, followed by Thormahlen who reached via a two base error by the RIP right fielder which allowed Lucas to move to third. A sacrifice fly by Bergevin and a single by Collins plated both of those runners and allowed the Blue to retake the lead.  Closer Trent Adams was called upon for a two inning save and once again he came through allowing only one hit, while striking out four to close out the game.

Game Four (Angels Blue 18, SC Bandits 2, WP – Kyle Hasler)

In the second game of this Saturday double header, Angels Blue rode the momentum of the previous contest to put 18 runs on the board against an overmatched SC Bandits team who seemed to run out of pitching as the contest moved along.  The Bandits jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after an error and a bout of wildness by starter Kyle Hasler. This was the only bright spot for the Bandits on the day as the Blue tallied six runs in the second and five in the third to break the game open and break the backs of the Bandits as they then held an 11-1 margin. They added seven more in the fourth to bring them to their final total of 18 runs.  Hasler pitched the first three innings allowing just the one unearned run and no hits but did walk three and hit a batter. He did strike out three. Noah Rios (Sunnyside) pitched the last two innings to finish the game for the Blue allowing one run on three hits.

Game Five (Angels Blue 5, Lookouts Red 2, (WP – Kaden Wetzel, SV – Andru Collins)

Looking to close out pool play undefeated and secure a No. 1 seed for the playoffs, Angels Blue took on an 0-4 Lookouts Red squad and while they did not play their best, they did just enough to come away with the victory.  The Lookouts moved out to a 1-0 lead after a leadoff double and two ground balls plated their first run. Angels Blue responded in the bottom of the second with a tally as courtesy runner Easton Erwin scored with two outs from second when the Lookouts misplayed a popup.  The Blue added two more in the fourth with a leadoff walk by Thormahlen followed by a double by Bergevin and a two RBI single by Hasler to give them a 3-1 advantage, After the Lookouts added a run in the fourth cut the deficit to one, the Angels responded with one in the fifth and one in the sixth to salt the game away.  Kaden Wetzel went five strong to pick up the win, allowing two runs on three hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Closer Andru Collins came in and threw the sixth and seventh inning to pick up a two inning save allowing one hit and four strikeouts.

Quarterfinal (So Cal Nationals 5, Angels Blue 4, LP Mundo Leon)

An early pitching duel, turned into a slugfest at the end, but unfortunately, Angels Blue came up a run short in the quarterfinals of the Fourth of July Classic at Canyon Crest High School losing to the So Cal Nationals 5-4.  Both teams had rally’s come up short in the first four innings as the game was still 0-0. In the fifth, relief pitcher Mundo Leon (Tucson) walked two hitters and allowed a 2 RBI single before being pulled for Kyle Hasler who proceed to quell the rally. After tacking on one in the sixth to take a 3-0 lead, The Angels responded in the bottom half of the six the with walk, stolen base and RBI double by Bergevin to cut the deficit to two.  Closer Trent Adams was called upon to hold the lead at two, but struggled for the first time in the tournament allowing two runs in the top of the seventh and the Angels were going to need a big time rally in the bottom half to salvage the game.  And they almost pulled it off. After Erwin led off being hit by a pitch, Lucas and Adams were retired to bring the Angels to the brink, Pinch hitter Andrew Piotrowski doubled to left center to score Erwin. Noah Rios singled to center and Thormahlen doubled to right to score Piotrowski and the Blue had the tying run on second. Bergevin stepped to the plate and down to his last strike laced a single to right. Rios scored easily, but Thormahlen was thrown out at the plate ending the game and the tournament for Angels Blue.

“I cannot be prouder of how this team competed throughout this tournament,” said Head Coach Preston English. “While we fell short of the perfection and the championship we sought, the improvements these players have made throughout the summer really started to come together in this tournament and I look forward to see how we continue to improve and compete.”