Through the first three days of American Division pool play at the 2013 Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series, one thing is for sure. The Pacific Southwest champions from Elk Grove, Calif. are guaranteed a spot in Friday's United States semifinals.
Elk Grove won its third straight game Monday morning, beating Pacific Northwest's Meridian, Idaho, 12-5 at Cal Sr.'s Yard. At Nationals Park a bit later in the afternoon, New England champion, New Milford, Conn., needed extra innings to slide past Maryland champion, Charles County, 4-3, in seven innings.
Through three days of play Elk Grove is on top at 3-0, while New Milford was 1-1. Charles County is 1-2 and Meridian is winless at 0-2. Pool play continues Tuesday and Wednesday.
In Elk Grove's victory, the winners banged out 11 hits, including five for extra bases. Elk Grove scored six runs in the first on an RBI single by Cole Bendle, a wild pitch, a two-run double by Carson Stevens, a sacrifice fly by Christopher Long and an RBI double by Riley Sikora.
Bendle racked up three RBIs on two hits to lead Elk Grove and Sikora also had two hits.
Meridian shook off the six-run first inning by Elk Grove, scoring five runs over the first four innings. The score was 7-5 into the sixth when Elk Grove rallied for five runs.
Carson Smith, Nicholas Romano (two runs), Matthew Nichols (two runs) and Jaydon Yancey (two RBIs) led Meridian.
CJ Long pitched two innings for the win, and Yancey suffered the loss.
New Milford got off to a quick start in its win. Max Cotier drilled a two-run home run and Kurtis Krizan followed with a long solo shot for a 3-0 first inning lead.
Charles County answered with its own long ball, a solo shot from leadoff hitter Michael Oglesby in the bottom of the first.
New Milford starting pitcher Tyler Bowe allowed three more singles and a hit batter over his three innings but left with the 3-1 lead.
Cotier came on in relief in the fourth and in his first inning, ran into some trouble. Three walks, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly, allowed Charles County to tie the game at 3-3.
"I wasn't happy with the middle part of the game, I thought we gave them some runs," New Milford manager Paul Gesualdi said. 'It was a heckuva game, just happy with the way our kids fight."
Fight is what New Milford did in winning the game in the seventh. Joey Shine reached base on a one-out walk. Tim Cianciolo followed with sharp single to center field.
With Kendall Greene at bat and squaring to bunt, both runners were able to move up a base when the ball bounced away from Maryland catcher Clark Burroughs.
Seconds later, Shine raced across the plate on a wild pitch from Ian Remalia.
Leading 4-3, New Milford still had to get three outs. Cotier gave up two singles and had runners on first and third when he struck out the final batter. Chris Gesualdi added a double and Nick Dicandido had a single.
Remalia was 4-for-4 to lead Maryland.
Elk Grove beats Maryland; Mountain Home gets win Sunday
The Laguna Purple, as they are known at home in California, turned back Maryland State Champion, Charles County, 8-4, at Cal Sr.'s Yard Sunday. At Nationals Park, meanwhile, Southwest champ Mountain Home, Ark., won 9-3 over Meridian, Idaho. Meridian, the Pacific Northwest champ, was seeing its first action after a first-day bye.