With Monday's third day of pool play of the 2015 Cal Ripken World Series completed, Thursday's likely U.S and International qualifiers have become a little clearer.
There are, however, still two pool play days left at the Ripken Baseball Complex in Aberdeen to determine which teams will move on to the semifinal round.
Two teams looking to guarantee a spot on Thursday, played one of the better games of the tourney Monday evening on Cal Sr.'s Yard. East Brandywine, Pa., and West Raleigh, NC., waged a back and forth battle, eventually won by East Brandywine, 7-4, to lead the National Division (Group B) standings.
The winners jumped ahead in the bottom of the first on Matt Turner's long opposite field home run over the right field wall. A throwing error by East Brandywine in the top of the second fueled a three-run rally by West Raleigh, the 2014 Ripken Series World Champion. Two runners scored on the errant throw, while Dominic Fritton's RBI single pushed West Raleigh ahead, 3-2.
West Raleigh (2-1) added another run in the third on Timothy Pate's RBI double, scoring Payton Green, who had singled. West Raleigh got nothing more and East Brandywine (3-0) reliever Jack Ginsburg made sure of it.
Ginsburg came into the game with his team trailing 4-2 in the fourth. Ginsburg allowed a single over his first two innings of work.
His teammates, meanwhile, scored twice in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game and three more times in the fifth to win it.
Lonnie White, who went 3-for-3, started the comeback, drilling the first pitch he saw in the fourth inning over the right-center field wall. Spencer Mochulski drove in the tying run with an two-out single.
"It was to right-center, which is my spot, that's where I get all my power from," White said of the homer. "I just go up there looking to hit the ball hard and find a hole."
"When Lonnie hit the home run, that was like driving the flag into the ground, saying we're not going away here," manager Dennis Reardon said.
A hit batter to lead off the fifth inning aided the winning rally. Casey Caufield was the hit batter and Cole Rupp tripled him home off the glove of the West Raleigh second baseman. Chase Reardon's sacrifice fly scored Rupp and the third run was driven in when Ginsburg grounded out.
Ginsburg ran into a little trouble in the sixth, but bore down and refused to give up a run. Singles by Green and Blake McCain with one out, were followed by walk to Garrett Moffett to load the bases.
Ginsburg struck out the next batter, his fourth, and then got the next batter to ground into a game-ending putout. "You know, I have a lot of players behind me that can play defense and I'm just trusting everybody on this team and I knew that we would come out with the win," Ginsburg said.
Mobile gets crucial win
Mobile, Ala., (3-0) won for the third time in as many tries in American Division (Group A) play, beating Meridian, Idaho, (1-1), 9-3, on Cal Sr.'s Yard. The win gives Mobile the upper hand in the division.
Mobile blew the game open with an eight-run, second inning rally. Highlighting the big inning were two blasts, a three-run homer by Cole Tillman and a two-run shot off the bat of Drew Murray. Andrew Shirah also had two hits and two RBIs for Mobile and Brayden Brooks added two hits.
Brayden Rundell supplied Meridian's scoring, crushing a long, three-run home run over the 263-foot sign in center field in the fourth inning. Meridian loaded the bases, but failed to push another run across when a questionable call at first ended the inning.
Shirah pitched into the fourth for the win, while Mason Kielty couldn't get out of the second inning in taking the loss.
Hawaii still unbeaten
Manoa, Hawaii, (2-0) stayed alive in American Division play in Monday's final game at Cal Sr.'s Yard, blanking Maryland Champion Charles County (0-3), 6-0.
The winners scored in four of five at bats, including twice in both the first and second innings. Kadon Harth led the way with two hits and two RBIs. Rafael Macias added two hits and an RBI.
Quade Peters had a pair of hits and two RBIs to pace West Fargo. Drew Clouse also had two hits and a run scored in the loss.
Tresdon Rybarczyk tossed a complete game for the win, striking out six and walking four, while allowing nine hits.
Carter Birrenkott pitched into the second for West Fargo and was dealt the loss. Abe Hestdalen threw three-plus innings in relief.
Japan beats Dominican Republic
Japan (2-0) beat Dominican Republic (1-1), 7-4, in International group C play at Nationals Field. Japan built a 5-0 lead into the fourth inning, but the Dominicans plated four in the bottom of the fourth to pull within a run. The Dominican runs came on a pair of two-run home runs off the bats of Anderson De los Santos and Esmeraldo Perez.
Japan had eight hits, but none for extra bases, and Nao Kaneko was the only batter with two hits. Kazuki Konishi and Ryunosuke Saito drove in two runs each for Japan.
Kaneko also collected the win, pitching four innings. Dominican starter Luis Ortiz Soriano worked the first three innings in taking the loss.
Mexico blanks New Zealand
Mexico's assault on its International foes continued in a big way Monday morning at Cal Sr.'s Yard. Mexico (2-0) pounded New Zealand (1-1) pitching early and often, winning 11-0 in four innings of Group D play.
Roque Salinas pitched an four-inning no-hitter, striking out 10. Salinas aided his own cause at the plate with a hit and two runs scored.
Vidal Sotelo had the big swing, a three-run home run. He finished with two hits and four RBIs. Joel Ibarra also had two hits and Carlo Rios had two RBIs.
Jaden Dawson, Beckham Crooks and Taylor Irwin all pitched for New Zealand with Dawson taking the loss.
Puerto Rico pounds Canada
Puerto Rico (1-1) evened its record in Group C play, needing five innings to defeat Canada (0-2), 13-3, at Nationals Field.
The winners jumped on Canada with four runs in the first and five more in the third. Canada responded with three runs in the top of the fourth, but Puerto Rico answered with three runs in the bottom half as well. A single run in the fifth for Puerto Rico closed out the game.
Luis Rodriguez (3-for-3) and Dylon Luna (2-for-2) both had two RBIs for Puerto Rico and Oscar Bonilla had a 3-for-3 day with an RBI and two runs scored.
Alejandro Cazorla took care of the scoring for Canada, belting a three-run homer to center field. Nolan Sparks and Markus Otto also had hits for Canada.
Bonilla pitched four innings, striking out seven, to earn the win. Cazorla took the loss, working three innings.
Korea rebounds with win
Republic of Korea (1-1) bounced back Monday to defeat Australia, 9-3, in International group D play at Nationals Field.
Korea broke open a scoreless game with five runs in the third and then two in the fourth and single runs in the fifth and sixth. Australia scored all three runs in the fourth.
Jaeyoung Jang had two of Korea's 11 hits, including the game's lone home run. He also scored three runs. Seonghun Jung added two hits and three RBIs and Yongjun Lee also had two hits and an RBI.
Joshua Paull tripled in a run and scored as well for Australia (0-2). Benjamin Hewett doubled and scored, while Maddux Stivey and Tyson Noel had RBIs.