CARY, North Carolina – Cecil Tanner (RHP; Waycross, Ga.) and Adam Plutko (RHP; Upland, Calif.) each struck out 11 batters and Dane Phillips (C; Nacogdoches, Texas) drove in the game’s only run with a seventh inning double as NABF edged AABC 1-0 June 19 to highlight action during the third day of the 16th Annual USA Baseball Tournament of Stars presented by Major League Baseball.
The eight-team tournament, which showcases 144 of the nation’s elite age 18-and-under high school and college athletes, concludes June 22 with the-medal games and consolation-round play. Action is taking place at Thomas Brooks Park at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
In other June 19 games, reliever Kurt Heyer (RHP; Huntington Beach, Calif.) came in to record the game’s final out to preserve the USA Stars’ 3-2 victory against Babe Ruth. Also, PONY rallied for a five-run eighth inning to overcome the American Legion 8-5.The event’s two remaining teams – Dixie and RBI – did not play June 19.
Three contests are scheduled for June 20. The USA Stars take on AABC (1-1) at 1 p.m. (Eastern time) followed by a 4 p.m. matchup between Dixie (2-0) and American Legion (1-1). The day’s final game at 7 p.m. pits PONY (1-1) and RBI (0-2). Babe Ruth (1-2) and NABF (2-1) do not have scheduled games on June 20.
Tanner fanned 11 while allowing just two hits in 4.2 scoreless innings against AABC, the event’s defending silver medalist and the 2005 and 2006 champion. Plutko then took over and matched Tanner’s strikeout total while permitting four hits in the final 4.1 innings. The final eight outs he recorded came via strikeouts and stymied AABC scoring threats. AABC had runners on second and third bases with no outs in the eighth inning and also put two runners on board in the ninth. NABF, which had five hits, scored the only run it needed in the seventh when Phillips’ two-out double knocked in Jacob Marisnick (OF; Riverside, Calif.) who had singled, stole second base and moved to third on a groundout. Eric Pfisterer (LHP; Saddle River, N.J.) surrendered two hits and struck out seven in pitching the first five innings for AABC.
Despite getting only five hits, the Stars built a 3-1 lead against Babe Ruth. Stars pitchers Clay Dalton (RHP; Kennesaw, Ga.) and Jacob Johnson (RHP; Lake Worth, Fla.) whiffed six hitters apiece and spaced out eight hits without issuing a walk over the first 8.2 innings. But Babe Ruth tallied a run off Johnson on an RBI single by Blair Moore (INF; Riverside, Calif.) in the bottom of the ninth to make it 3-2. Heyer was then summoned to the mound with the go-ahead run on base before recording a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch to end the contest. Anthony Tzamtzis (INF; Coconut Grove, Fla.) notched two hits, including a double, and scored a run for the Stars. Luke Farrell (RHP; Westlake, Ohio) tossed four innings of one-hit scoreless relief for Babe Ruth.
PONY trailed the Legion 4-3 entering the eighth inning. But a two-RBI single by Bobby Borchering (INF; Alva, Fla.) highlighted the decisive outburst for PONY, which also tallied twice on wild pitches in the inning. Scott Griggs (RHP; Alamo, Calif.) hurled one-hit ball for the final three frames to pick up the win. Griggs allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth after loading the bases on walks and giving up a run-scoring infield hit. But he escaped the jam with a pair of strikeouts and got an infield grounder for the contest’s final out. Jeff Malm (INF; Las Vegas, Nev.) and Austin Maddox (C; Jacksonville, Fla.) collected two hits apiece while Ashton Beckwith (INF; Crawford, Miss.) plated two runs for the Legion with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly.