By: Frank Cooney
Fitchburg State University
Nor’easters 13U New England Invitational
Game 1 – David Blair and Nolan Puglisi Help EB to Pool Play Victory
Evolution Baseball came into the Nor’easters 13U New England Invitational Tournament fresh off of their dominant tournament performance the weekend prior which saw them crowned the CT Sportsplex Memorial Day Invitational champions.
EB opened up pool play Saturday morning at Fitchburg State University against a formidable North East Baseball team out of Hudson, MA. Evolution would strike the first blow of the game as Jack Blair (1-3 w/ 2 RBI) lined an RBI single to RF in the 2nd inning, scoring Jimmy Railsback, capitalizing on back to back walks drawn by Railsback and Nolan Puglisi. A 2 out walk issued to Matt Lussier later in the frame loaded the bases with 2 outs for David Blair (2-3 w/ 1 2B, 1 R, & 3 RBI) who laced a 2 run double to the right-center gap, putting Evolution up by a score of 3-0. Alex Irizarry capped of the offensive barrage in the 2nd inning with an RBI single to CF, putting the Evolution lead at 4-0 heading into the 3rd inning.
Following the offensive display in the 2nd inning, the EB Pitchers went to work from there, shutting down the NEB lineup, allowing just 1 hit from the 3rd inning on. Nolan Puglisi (earned the win) and Ryan Porth combined to throw 7 shutout innings while surrendering just 4 hits throughout the contest, allowing only 1 baserunner to reach 3rd base, as they lead Evolution to a convincing 6-0 victory to open the tournament.
Game 2 – Churchill, Irizarry, and Lussier Pace Evolution in Mercy Rule Win
The second half of the Saturday doubleheader saw Evolution go up against the 13U Red squad from the New England Stampede program (Woburn, MA) in game 2 of pool play. EB was once again able to jump out to an early lead as a Lussier double combined with walks to Railsback and Irizarry to load the bases with nobody out for Drew Renzella, who drove in the first run of the game on a fielder’s choice to 2nd base. A bases loaded walk to Churchill and a run scoring passed ball later in the frame put the Evolution team up 3-0 after the top of the 1st.
With a lead in hand, Jimmy Railsback set the defensive tone early as he pounded the strike zone for an efficient, 4 pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the 1st. RBI singles from Renzella and Railsback and a bases loaded walk issued to Irizarry doubled the EB lead at 6-0, where the score would remain until the 3rd inning, when yet another offensive onslaught from Evolution (7 hits and 6 walks in the inning resulted in 10 runs) would put the game out of reach with the score 16-0.
Offensively, the team was lead by Clark Churchill (1-1 w/ 2 BB, 2 R, & 2 RBI), Alex Irizarry (1-1 w/ 2 BB, 1R, & 1 RBI), Matt Lussier (2-2 w/ 3 R), and Jimmy Railsback (2-2 w/ 3 R & 3 RBI). Railsback (W) and Charlie Denomme combined to the throw the run-rule shortened 3 inning shutout.
Game 3 (Semifinals) – Magnificent Pitching Performance From Blair Sends EB to Championship
After posting two convincing shutout in pool play Evolution Baseball matched up with the Plymtpon Crush in a semi-final contest Sunday afternoon at Fitchburg State University.
After retiring the side in order in the top half of the first inning, Matt Lussier and Drew Renzella (1-3 w/ 1 RBI) would provide EB and starting pitcher David Blair with all the run support they would need. Lussier got the inning started with a hard ground ball by the sprawling first baseman, advancing to 2nd base on a steal and 3rd base on a groundout from Alex Irizarry. Renzella strode to the plate with 2 outs and Lussier at 3rd base and proceeded to obliterate an outside fastball for a line drive single to right field, scoring Lussier.
From there it became the David Blair show, as the RHP was simply dominant. Blair picked up the complete game win going 5 innings while surrendering just 3 hits and 1 walk, and not allowing a baserunner to advance beyond 2nd base. Matt Lussier (2-2 w/ 2 R & 3 RBI) and Nolan Puglisi (3-3 w/ 1 R & 2 RBI) helped carry Evolution to their 3rd straight shutout and 8th consecutive win with an 8-0 win over the Crush.
Game 4 (Finals) – Nor’easters Bats Help Defeat Evolution in Championship Game
The championship game featured Evolution Baseball going toe to toe with the tournament host, Nor’easters Prospects 13U team.
After grabbing an early lead courtesy of a 1st inning RBI single from Drew Renzella, a shaky defensive inning allowed the Nor’easters to push across 7 runs in the top half of the 2nd inning. Refusing to go down without a fight, Evolution scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd and another 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd to pull within 11-6. The Nor’easters offense proved to be too strong on this day though, as they handed Evolution a 15-6 loss in the championship game.
The Tournament at a Glance
- Evolution took an 8 game winning streak into the championship game
- This marked the 2nd consecutive tournament in which Evolution made the finals
- EB outscored opponents 30-0 en route to the championship contest
- EB continued to pound the baseball, collecting 35 hits in just 18 innings