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.
In Elk Grove's win, the boys from the west jumped ahead 5-1 through three innings. Jonah Ira (double) and RJ Blanton (single) drove in runs in the first, while Carson Stevens doubled and scored on an error in the second.
Ira, who went 3-for-3, singled and scored in the third on a Cole Bendle double and Bendle later scored on a passed ball. The pair was also involved in a three-run fifth inning rally. Ira added his second double before Bendle blasted a long home run to deep center field. Jino Enriquez also homered in the inning.
Blanton, the winning pitcher, had two hits and one RBI. On the mound he allowed just three hits and one run. He walked three, struck out three and hit one batter. Justin Wilburn and Enriquez also saw action on the mound.
Maryland scratched out a single run in the second when Peytyn Gray reached safely on a fielder's choice with the bases loaded. Maryland then made things a little interesting with a three-run rally in the top of the sixth inning.
Maryland loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter. Gray drove in another run on a groundout to second and Michael Oglesby singled in another. The other run scored on a passed ball.
In Mountain Home's win, multiple runs in each of the final three innings blew open a close game.
Mountain Home grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third with Bradley Ludwig doubling and scoring on Luke Jackson's single.
In the fourth, Jordan Anderson and Austin Helms each hit home runs to highlight a three-run inning. The winners closed out the game with two runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth.
Meridian's three runs came in the fifth inning. Daniel Burns and Blake Jablonski had RBIs and the third run scored on an error.
Luke Kruse earned the win, working four and a third innings. He allowed three runs on three hits and three walks, while also striking out three. Jackson threw an inning and two-thirds in relief, walking three and striking out four.
For Meridian, Carson Smith, Nicholas Romano and Burns each pitched, giving up a combined 13 hits. Each gave up three runs.
American Division pool play opened Saturday afternoon with the Pacific Southwest champion from Elk Grove, Calif., topping the New England champs from New Milford, Conn., 11-6, at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
Jine Enriquez was Laguna's top offensive contributor, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and one run. R.J. Blanton went 2-for-3 with a home run in the victory, while Collin Dean and Nicolas Regino both has two RBIs.
New Milford's Tim Cianciolo went 1-for-2 with a double and two RBIs, while Kendall Greene was 2-for-3 with a triple and one run.
Laguna starter Alexander Morales struck out three, walked one and allowed five earned runs over 3-2/3 innings to earn the win.
Charles County triumphs
The Maryland state champions from Charles County picked up a victory in their first American Division pool play game on Saturday night at Cal Sr.'s Yard, beating the Southwest champions from Mountain Home, Ark., 12-0.
The game was halted after the fourth inning by the 10-run mercy rule.
Charles County hurler Ryan Calvert was nearly untouchable on the mound, striking out nine and allowing one hit over four innings of work.
Charles County was paced at the plate by Ian Remalia, who went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Zachary Doss and Seth White both had two RBIs and one run in the victory.
Mountain Home had just one hit, a double by Bradley Ludwig.