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Aug, 2017

Pony World Series day four recap

A morning of elimination games brought out the best in the four competing teams at the DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series in Washington, Pennsylvania. In the early matchup, Host Area Champion Youngstown, Ohio slugged its way to victory by scoring four critical runs in the top of the seventh inning to beat Mexico Zone Champion Guasave, Sinaloa 11-8. In the early afternoon game, Marco Martinez' hurdle "heard 'round the world" to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning advanced South Zone Champion Brownsville, Texas over Host Washington County, Pennsylvania. 

In the evening games, as they have done consistently for the last three years, the Asia-Pacific Zone Champion and the West Zone Champion shined under the bright lights. In a winner's bracket Game #11, Seoul, Korea's six-run sixth inning, which was sparked by Lee Woong-Chan's grand slam, gave the team a comfortable lead against East Zone Champion Hagerstown, Maryland, and Seoul ended up winning convincingly 10-3. In Game #12, West Zone Champion Covina, California and North Zone Champion Bay County, Michigan mimicked heavy-weight boxers, as both teams battled with heavy artillery on offense. Ultimately, Covina's seven extra-base hits and Jake Vargas's 2.1 innings of shutout relief propelled the squad to a 9-5 victory.

Game #9 recap: Youngstown, Ohio 11 Guasave, Mexico 8

Day four of the 2017 DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series kicked off with an elimination contest between Guasave, Mexico and Youngstown, OH. Guasave enjoyed the day off Sunday, despite the loss to Seoul, Korea on Saturday, while Youngstown staved off elimination on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Levittown, Puerto Rico.

Youngstown jumped ahead right away in the bottom of the first when starting pitcher Trey Pancake doubled to right field, stole second and was driven in on an RBI single by left fielder Ty Ventresco. A single by catcher Ronnie Howard, then a wild pitch, put runners on second and third, but another wild pitch by Guasave starter Said Cota scored Ventresco to make it 2-0 Youngstown. First baseman Jake Gehring singled with two outs, driving in Howard to up the score to 3-0.

Mizael Esparza came in to relieve Cota and after hitting the first batter he faced to load the bases, he struck out Youngstown second baseman Brandon Mikos to retire the side.

In the top of the second, Mexico chipped away at the 3-0 deficit scoring one run on an RBI  double by right fielder Jesus Parra, scoring center fielder Joel Sanchez, making it 3-1. Youngstown regained the run it allowed in the bottom of the second when Pancake scored his second run of the game on an RBI double by Howard to make it 4-1. The three-run Youngstown lead was cut to one when Sanchez hit a two-run home run to right center field, scoring second baseman Nomar Valdez, making it 4-3 after two and a half innings.

The back-and-forth scoring continued in the bottom of the third when pinch hitter Jeremy Kreuzwieser singled and drove in shortstop Austin Vogt, upping the Youngstown lead to 5-3 after three innings. The East Zone Champions again had the offense rolling in the bottom of the fourth, with the bases loaded and no outs. Howard came up clutch again, ripping a two RBI double down the right field line, followed by an RBI fielder’s choice by third baseman Shawn Helpy and an RBI double by Gehring, all making the score 9-3 after four innings.

Guasave climbed right back into the game in the top of the fifth, getting runners on second and third with one out. However, the team could only plate one run across on an RBI groundout by third baseman Pedro Cervantes, making the score 9-4.

Youngstown earned its run allowed back, thanks again to Howard, when he hit his third double of the game and picked up his fourth RBI to make the score 10-4 through five innings. Pancake was relieved in the top of the sixth, trading places defensively with Vogt, after throwing five innings, allowing four runs (all earned), seven hits and one walk.

Vogt shut down the Mexico Zone Champions one-two-three in the top of the sixth inning and added one more insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run, extending Youngstown’s lead to 11-4 after six innings.

Guasave had one last chance to keep its DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series hopes alive and certainly made the most of it. A hit batsman and a walk, with no outs, led to a two-RBI double by Valder to make it 11-6, and an RBI single by first baseman Vidal Sotelo made it 11-7, spelling the end of the afternoon for Vogt on the mound.

Cantini came in and picked up a strikeout right away, but a single put runners on first and third for Guasave with one out, followed by a wild pitch, putting two ducks on the pond. Pedro Felix then drew a one out walk, loading the bases and the score moved to 11-8 on a sacrifice fly by Parra, and then Pabel Navarro struck out to end the game and Youngstown advanced with the 11-8 victory.

Pancake received the victory for Youngstown and the save went to Cantini.

Youngstown continues its run in the DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series Tuesday against Hagerstown, Maryland at 10 a.m. ET/US, while for Guasave, its time at the DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series comes to an end, as the team finishes with a 1-2 record.


Game #10 recap: Brownsville, Texas 4 Washington County, Pennsylvania 3 (F/8)

The second and final elimination game of day four at the 2017 DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series featured the tournament Host from Washington County, Pennsylvania, who was looking its second win in a World Series since 2006, against the South Zone Champion Brownsville, Texas, in what was a stellar extra-inning affair.

After a crushing 10-0 loss to Covina, California on Sunday, Washington County used the chip on its shoulder and two early errors by Brownsville to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Left fielder Nick Popielarczyk drove in pitcher Chad Johnson on an infield single to make it 1-0 and the second run came on a throwing error on the same play by Brownsville's third baseman.

Brownsville regrouped in the bottom of the first, and Jose Banda made up for his two errors in the top of the first by driving in his sixth run of the tournament on an RBI single, to cut the score in half to 2-1. In the bottom of the second, Brownsville took the lead 3-2 by way of three Washington errors and a wild pitch. Neither run allowed in the inning was earned against Johnson.

Justin Naylor relieved Johnson, who coasted in the bottom of the third, striking out two on just nine pitches. Fidel Garcia, Brownsville’s reliever, equaled Naylor’s first inning of work, striking out two in his first inning of work as well, while throwing just eight pitches.

It wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth that things got interesting, when Brownsville had the bases loaded after an error, hit batsman and a walk. However, Naylor worked his way out of the two out, bases loaded jam, inducing a ground ball to retire the side and hold the score at 3-2.

In the sixth, Washington had a runner in scoring position with two outs and a re-entering Popielarczyk came through with his second RBI single of the game to tie it at 3-3 in the top of the sixth. Ben Hardy followed Popielarczyk with a single and that spelled the end of Garcia’s relief appearance.

Banda relieved Garcia in the sixth with runners on first and second with two out, as he and struck out Washington County’s Brandon Adams on four pitches to retire the side and hold the score to 3-3 after five and a half innings. Brownsville had an opportunity with a runner at second and two outs in the bottom of the sixth and couldn’t break through, thanks to a tremendous diving catch by Hardy on a shallow blooper in front of second base to retire the side still tied 3-3.

In the bottom of the seventh, Brownsville got itself a runner on second with one out, and a fantastic diving play on a line drive to third by third baseman Brent Kurtz made it two outs. Banda was intentionally walked to bring up the re-entering Capistran and Naylor got him
swinging to end the threat and send it into extras tied 3-3.

In the bottom of the eighth, Brownsville got runners on first and second with one out thanks to a hit batsman and an error, ending Naylor’s time on the mound. Popielarczyk relieved Naylor and got Maldonado to fly out for out number two, but a single by Darren Ramirez drove in Marco Martinez, who refused the third base coach's stop sign and leaped over the tag of the Washington catcher to score the game-winning run and walk it off for Brownsville, 4-3.

Naylor ended the day allowing one run (unearned), one hit, two walks and eight strikeouts over 5.1 innings pitched. He finished the tournament as the Easton Sports ERA Award leader, as he tossed 8.1 innings, allowing one unearned run (0.00 ERA) on two hits, three walks, three hit batsmen and nine strikeouts.

The winning pitcher for Brownsville was Banda who allowed no runs, one hit, one walk and struck out five in 2.1 innings pitched.

The loss sends Washington home after a 1-2 showing in the 2017 DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series, while Brownsville moves on to face Bay County, Michigan at 12:30 p.m. ET/US Tuesday.


Game #11 recap: Seoul, Korea 10 Hagerstown, Maryland 3

Lee Woong-Chan’s grand slam, the 45th in DICK'S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series history, along with Chang Seong-Ik’s one run, two hit performance over five innings, sparked the Asia-Pacific Zone Champions, Seoul, Korea in a winner's bracket Game #11, as the team defeated East Zone champion Hagerstown, Maryland 10-3.

Seoul struck immediately in the top of the first, when Jung Hui-Chan hit a solo shot to right field for an early 1-0 lead. In the top of the second, Seoul added another run when Han Tae-Yang singled to left field, scoring Kim Sung-Min to take a 2-0 lead.

It wasn’t until the fifth inning, when Hagerstown could break through on Seoul starter Chang Seong-Ik, when right fielder Cam Moats belted a solo home run to left field to cut the deficit in half to 2-1.

The top of the sixth saw Seoul load the bases with just one out, and pinch-hitter Cho Kyu-Taek and second baseman Han Tae-Yang both earned RBI walks to extend the lead to 4-1. The walk to Han Tae-Yang ended Izaiah Dillinger’s night on the mound for Hagerstown, summoning Parker Martin to inherit the bases loaded jam.

Lee Woong-Chan, the first batter to face Martin, saw two pitches before crushing a grand slam to left field, giving Seoul a commanding 8-1 lead through five and a half innings.

Prior to the grand slam, which inflated Dillinger's final numbers, he pitched well, having allowed four runs (all earned), six hits, two walks and eight strikeouts over 5.1 innings.

Chang Seong-Ik was relieved after five innings of work, allowing one run (earned), two hits, one walk and seven strikeouts.

In the top of the seventh, Seoul added to its already commanding lead. Jung Hui-Chan led-off the frame with a double to right-center field, ultimately to be driven in on an RBI single to right-center field by Choi Woo-In. Cho Kyu-Taek added another run to make it 10-1 on an RBI groundout before another groundout ended the top of the seventh inning.

Hagerstown fought until the end, adding a couple more runs in the bottom of the seventh, thanks in part to a two-run home run by left fielder Tyler Crain, making the score 10-3.

The East Zone champions now move to the loser’s bracket and face Youngstown, Ohio today at 10 a.m. ET/US. Chang Seong-Ik earns the win for Seoul and the Asia-Pacific Zone Champions move to the semi-finals of the 2017 DICK'S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series and await the winner of the Hagerstown-Youngstown matchup.


Game #12 recap: Covina, California 9 Bay County, Michigan 5

West Zone Champion Covina, California used seven extra-base hits, two of which were home runs, to upend North Zone Champion Bay County, Michigan in a winner’s bracket matchup to end day four of the 2017 DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series.

The bats were rolling from the start when Luke Willison smashed a solo home run in the top of the first. Jake Vargas showed off his power for Covina in the top of the second, taking Bay County starter Blake Waibel deep to make the lead 2-0. Covina second baseman Chris Munoz grounded out to the shortstop to drive in the third run of the game. In the third inning, Covina used a wild pitch on a strikeout, hit batsman, a walk and another wild pitch to score its fourth run of the game to take a 4-0 lead through the top half of the inning.

Bay County finally got the bats going in the bottom of the third, when right fielder Brenden Bonnell doubled to left-center field, scoring shortstop Eric Randall from first base. Center fielder Logan Hugo followed and reached first on a fielding error by Covina's shortstop, that brought Bonnell around to score, cutting the lead in half to 4-2.

After a scoreless fourth inning for Covina, back-to-back RBI hits by Parker Miramontez (double) and Vargas (single), gave Covina its four-run lead back and it was now 6-2 in the top of the fifth. Later, in the top of the fifth, James Jimenez singled in both Vargas and Anthony Rasmussen to extend the lead to 8-2.

Bay County took exception to the four-run top of the fifth by Covina and found its way right back in it. Randall walked to open the bottom of the fifth, then Bonnell singled to left field and two errors by Covina brought Randall home to score, and Bonnell ended up at third. Immediately following, Logan Hugo belted a two-run home run to straight-away centerfield to cut the lead down to 8-5.

Covina contributed to its lead in the top of the seventh with back-to-back doubles by Hector Bautista and Robert Hernandez to make the score 9-5, which was the final.

Mike Gonzalez picked up the win for Covina, throwing 4.2 innings, allowing five runs (four earned), eight hits, two walks and struck out four. In relief, Vargas pitched 2.1 innings, allowing no runs, no hits and struck out three.

Bay County’s loss sends it to an elimination Game #14 tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET/US in a rematch against Brownsville. Covina moves into the division finals to face the winner of the Bay County-Brownsville rematch tomorrow night at 8 p.m.


The DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series continues Tuesday, culminating in the Championship Game for the Roy Gillespie Memorial Trophy at 7:30 p.m. ET/US Wednesday. Follow all of the action at, and, as well as PONY Baseball and Softball and PONY World Series' social media accounts for exclusive content.

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