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The Greenfield 12s came into Saturday's championship double-header having lost one game convincingly and won another one by a tighter margin than the final score would indicate. They would need to find a way to win both games against the South Hills "Wild Things" if they wanted to hoist their third trophy this tournament season.
In the first game, they did it with defense and patient offense. On offense, there was no breakout inning. The boys in green picked up one run in the first inning, another in the second, two more in the third, and so on. The basic procedure was to get someone on base and move him around the diamond with steals, base hits, and fly balls. Shockingly, there were no home runs by either team.
On defense, the load was shared well between the pitchers and the rest of the fielders. Samson Hill, Brandon Twigg, and Bryan McCann each took two innings and struck out their share of batters, but no pitcher was going to toss a no-hitter against the Wild Things.
The Greenfield outfielders did an excellent job of keeping the ball in front of them and limiting South Hills batters to singles on their hard-hit balls to the outfield. Ethan Heidel-Roberts was in left, Isaac Koerber in center, and Luther Harper in right.
By addings ones and twos each inning, the Greenfield 12s built a 6-0 lead before the Wild Things put two on the board in the fourth inning, and the boys in green continued that pace till the end, winning by the final score of 10-2.
A brief rest period between games gave all the kids a chance to get some food and hobnob with the competition.
In the second championship game, the Greenfield defense still had all its bolts tightened, but this time they were ready to light the offensive fireworks as well.
In the bottom of the first inning, with the bases loaded, Brandon Twigg hit a shot to left center field for his first career grand slam. That run roundup gave Greenfield a lead they would never relinquish.
Those loaded bases were set up by Jordan Osborne's leadoff triple, and everyone on the Greenfield side kept their bats hot from the first game. The bottom of the lineup was especially helpful, with Isaac Koerber hitting one over the left fielder's head, against the fence, Ethan Heidel-Roberts hitting in the gap, and Luther Harper sending the ball for a ride over the center-field fence.
In a later inning when the Greenfielders cranked up the offense despite having two outs, Mike Twigg knocked in some RBIs with a hard line drive single. Everyone on the team got a hit, if not an RBI.
The Wild Things didn't give up, and they continued to play at a high level, but the Greenfield pitchers--again Samson Hill, Brandon Twigg, and Bryan McCann--were routinely either striking out batters or getting them to hit soft grounders to one of the waiting fielders.
Twice, when Wild Things runners were on first, threatening to steal second and get in scoring position, Brandon Twigg threw a rope from the catcher's position to the low, right hand side of second base, right where it could hit McCann's glove for an easy tag. Those textbook, no-nonsense throw-outs at second were real confidence boosters for the team.
The Wild Things kept fighting and brought some runs across, but the game ended in the top of the sixth with the third out getting caught in a run-down between first and second. Greenfield came to the championship focused and ready to play, and they won the final game in convincing fashion, 15-5.
In four tournaments, the Greenfield 12s won three first place trophies and one second place, losing only three games overall. Congratulations to the Greenfield 12s for an outstanding tournament season!
The 2017 McCaffrey Memorial 12U Tournament saw some memorable moments from both Greenfield teams, witnessed the breaking of a longstanding record, and led up to a Saturday championship double-header.
The 12s played the South Hills "Wild Things" for the third time this year on Tuesday, and the Greenfield team came out uncharacteristically flat. Oh, Bryan McCann hit an early home run to give them an early lead, but the Wild Things came to play for all six innings. A combination of good South Hills hitting and costly Greenfield errors gave the Wild Things a solid victory.
The evening before, the 12U team took on Swissvale, with their mighty catcher/shortstop "Matty Ice" and their power pitcher Frankie. However, Logan Carter, Jack Heider, and Tommy Zymanski frustrated the Swissvale hitters, while the rest of the team played solid defense behind them. Swissvale also ran into walking trouble, loading up the bases and making the Greenfield base hits into RBIs.
Both Heider and Cameron Conderato hit home runs for Greenfield in the victory.
For the first time this tournament season, the 12U team 10-run-ruled their way to victory!
On Wednesday, the 12U team faced Baldwin-Whitehall in a rematch from their first game of the tournament. The first contest between these two teams got out of hand early for Greenfield, but this time they hung with Baldwin-Whitehall for five innings. In the fifth inning, a series of errors widened Baldwin-Whitehall's lead and effectively sealed the deal.
Though the 12U team had a challenging tournament season, they get kudos for winning half of their games in this tournament and for improving their play significantly in their rematch with a very good Baldwin-Whitehall team.
On Thursday, Baldwin-Whitehall came back to face the Greenfield 12s, and for four innings, they gave the boys in green all that they could handle, and more. Baldwin-Whitehall led till the fourth inning, when Greenfield pulled even with them again, and in the fifth inning, Greenfield hitting and Baldwin pitching woes combined to pile up runs, putting the game out of reach.
Baldwin-Whitehall is to be congratulated on its great play and its well-earned 3rd place finish. As a team of mostly 11-year-olds right now, it has a bright future ahead of it in tournaments next year.
In the Thursday victory, Bryan McCann hit his 31st home run of the year, breaking the Greenfield Baseball Association single-season record. His accomplishment was recognized after the game with an announcement and award presentation by Coach Jim Gregg.
The Greenfield victory set the 12s up with a potential double-header on Saturday with the Wild Things. To win the championship, Greenfield would have to beat South Hills, the team that just beat them, twice in a row.
The 12U team pulled out an exciting victory over Tri-Ward in extra innings, and the Greenfield 12s pounded the long ball to a win over Swissvale in Sunday action at the McCaffrey Memorial Tournament.
The 12U team fell behind early on a two-run home run by Tri-Ward's catcher, Cam. But they got one run back, then tied it, and then went up by two, 4-2, on Gage Pegher's hit to the center-right fence. They held a lead at one point of 7-2.
The 12U Greenfielders featured some 10-year-olds pitching in the early innings, with Logan Carter and Kaeden Geraci taking the mound. Will Szustak pitched the fifth, while Jack Heider pitched the sixth and seventh.
But Tri-Ward came back, scoring on a mix of walks and hits in the gap, along with another home run by their catcher. At the top of the sixth, Tri-Ward had retaken the lead, 8-7.
But Greenfield kept coming. The bottom of their lineup got a run around to tie up the game again, and Marcus Waller almost got around to home for the winning run, getting tagged out despite a good slide at home.
It was then Tri-Ward's turn again, getting two runs in the top of the seventh to go on top 10-8.
In the bottom of the seventh, William Szustak reached first despite hitting the a grounder to the third baseman. Jack Heider then reached base. Pegher got another good hit, then Owen Loughran was hit by a pitch. With the score tied at 10, the bases loaded, and James Mazefsky up, the air was tense. Tri-Ward's pitcher, Cam, let the tension get to him, while Mazefsky stayed level-headed, leading to four balls and winning run at home plate for the 12U team.
The 12U team now plays Swissvale on Monday at 6 p.m. at Hammer field.
In the second game, fans in the outfield had to scramble for their hard hats to fend off the rain of home runs. The Greenfield's 12s had been out of game action for a week, but they looked sharp on the field and at the plate.
The first inning saw Bryan McCann hit one. With Brandon Twigg and Matthew Mock on base, Michael Twigg then hit a triple.
In the second inning, Isaac Koerber singled, McCann singled, and Samson Hill doubled to bring in two more runs. Mock then sent a ball over the centerfield fence to add two more. Brandon Twigg then sent one over left center.
When the dust settled, Greenfield was up 9-0.
Greenfield's pitching looked strong, with McCann striking out the side in the first inning, Brandon Twigg giving up just one hit in the second, Hill keeping the third scoreless, and Mock finishing up the game in the fourth inning.
The third inning saw the top of the order coming around again. Jordan Osborne hit a strong drive just left of center and stretched it into a triple, but was tagged out at home when he tried to stretch it into an in-the-park homerun.
McCann then hit another dinger over the right center fence, and Hill followed that up with a home run that cleared the left center fence, though the umpire had to verify with outfield fans that it had indeed cleared the fence.
With five homeruns by four different players, the outfield was becoming a dangerous location. The final score was 11-0, ending right before more storms started rolling in.
The Greenfield 12s will play the South Hills Wild Things Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Despite rain and scheduling difficulties, the 2017 McCaffrey Memorial tournament is underway and on schedule at Hammer field.
Saturday's action started with the Greenfield 12U team falling to Baldwin-Whitehall, but then took a long hiatus as the two middle games were decided by forfeit.
The first scheduled afternoon game pitted the South Hills "Wild Things" against Tri-Ward. The game got out of hand early and ended in the fourth inning with the Wild Things taking the ten-run-rule victory.
To accomodate the schedules of both teams, the Wild Things and Baldwin-Whitehall were penciled in to play their match-up Saturday night instead of Sunday.
In-between, all these different games, the field crew was hard at work, tarping and untarping, working the wet spots. They get an unofficial MVP for keeping the tournament on schedule as tourneys throughout the city were rained out or delayed.
The Wild Things jumped out on Baldwin-Whitehall early, hitting several home runs and tearing up the basepaths. Baldwin-Whitehall got the ball over the fence as well, but two Wild Things grand slams were too much.
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The Greenfield 12s put in two dominating performances on Sunday in their march to the Elliott championship. The road went first through another matchup with the South Hills "Wild Things" and then into the title tilt with CIT.
The Wild Things came with a battle plan, and they made it tense the first several innings. Brandon Twigg started on the mound for Greenfield, but the first two South Hills batters laid down perfect bunts. With two on and no outs, the pressure was on, but Twigg pitched himself out of the jam.
The Wild Things also loaded the bases in the second inning, but Bryan McCann stopped a hot grounder and tossed the ball to third for the forced third out.
Meanwhile, the Greenfield bats came out hot. Jordan Osborne led off with a triple, and after two Greenfield batters were walked, Matt Mock and Brandon Twigg both singled, giving Greenfield a 2-0 lead. The Wild Things then turned a nice double play on Michael Twigg's hit to end the inning.
In the top of the third inning, Greenfield reciprocated on the double play, with McCann, running to his left, snagging a ground ball, stepping on second, and whizzing the ball to first to end the inning.
The bottom of the third inning saw another Greenfield back-to-back series: McCann sent a pitch way over the left field fence, nearly clearing the treeline behind, and then the next Greenfielder to the plate, Samson Hill, sent one over the right center fence.
McCann took the mound for the fourth and fifth innings, striking out most of the batters and protecting the lead, but, knowing how the Wild Things could hit the ball, the Greenfield offense knew it needed more. That "more" came in the 5th inning.
First, McCann hit another home run on almost the same trajectory. Mock reached first on a grounder to short, but the boys in green now had two outs on them. Unfazed, Brandon Twigg doubled, then Michael Twigg hit a hard line drive single that brought in two RBIs. Brady Sulinski then stepped up to the plate and sent a rocket over the center-field fence to clear the bases.
Going into the sixth, Greenfield held a commanding 9-0 lead. The top of the South Hills lineup was up to face Matt Mock, and they put together some good hits to erase the shutout, but the Greenfield defense was not in much of a giving mood, closing out the game with the final score of 9-2.
As one of the better teams in the tournament, the Wild Things were the odds-on favorite to face Greenfield in the championship game, but an overlap in tournaments forced them to pass up their 2 p.m. game at Elliott for a championship game in McKeesport.
The championship game vs. CIT featured a number of strong defensive plays on both sides, but Greenfield had the edge in both pitching and hitting to give them the victory.
Samson Hill took the mound for the home team, and his defense stepped up behind him in a big way. The first CIT batter hit a line drive right down the first-base line, but Matt Mock's glove vacuumed it in. The third batter hit the top of the ball, dropping it into no-man's-land almost like a bunt, but Hill jumped on it and threw the runner out at first.
The second inning defense was just as solid, with Brady Sulinski fielding two consecutive hard grounders and making the toss to second. The next CIT batter knocked a dangerous hit to left center, but, sprinting to his left, Ethan Heidel-Roberts nabbed it on the run before it could hit the ground.
On offense, Greenfield had trouble in the early going getting back around the diamond to the plate. The first inning was scoreless, and the second inning brought in only one, another Brandon Twigg homerun off the salt dome. Greenfield threatened to add more in the second on Michael Twigg's single and Luther Harper's double down the right field line, but nothing came of it.
Facing the bottom of CIT's linup in the third, Hill matter-of-factly struck out the side. He then started the action on offense, smacking a double over the center-fielder's head.
With Hill and Mock on base, Brandon Twigg singled to drive in one run, then Michael Twigg singled to bring in another, then Sulinski did the same.
With a 4-0 lead, McCann took the mound in the fourth, and he promptly struck out the side.
Back at work with the bats, Jordan Osborne walked, then trotted, as McCann sent both of them home with a home run over the centerfield fence. Hill, Mock, Brandon Twigg, and Brady Sulinski hit singles and Michael Twigg walked to put the pressure on the CIT defense, and then Luther Harper hit a grounder up the middle to bring in two more runs.
The CIT center fielder, Garrett, kept Greenfield runners honest with his throws from the outfield, and twice shot the ball in to home to both deny another Greenfield run and score a CIT out. His team MVP award was well-deserved.
In the fifth, CIT put some hits together to cut Greenfield's lead to 8-1, but McCann then put up three more K's to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Greenfield kept hitting the ball, with Osborne's long ball hitting the left center fence just a foot short of a home run. After a McCann fly ball moved Osborne over to third, Hill sent him home with a long ball that hit the fence a foot short on the right side. Mock then got to first on a grounder and Brandon Twigg doubled to get another run in, but CIT's center-fielder threw Mock out at home from the outfield.
McCann closed up shop in the top of the sixth with more strike-outs, and the game ended at 10-1, Greenfield.
The champions received Elliott championship T-shirts and hoodies, and Hill was named game MVP. Bryan McCann took tournament MVP honors.
The last tournament of the season for Greenfield will be in their backyards, at Hammer, July 22-29.
Saturday's tournament at Elliott saw Greenfield on both the giving and the receiving end of the 10-run-rule. The undermanned 12U team lost to the South Hills "Wild Things," while the 12s stopped Castle Shannon 11-1 after 5 innings.
The 12U game got out of hand early, with the Wild Things jumping out to a big lead thanks to two early home runs with runners on. Two 9-year-olds played valiantly alongside the 11s and 12s in green, but the 12U were not able to string hits together and bring anyone across the plate.
The 12U now plays at 8 p.m. Saturday to try to stay alive in the tournament.
The 12s also benefitted from some long balls, with Matt Mock, Brandon Twigg, and Luther Harper all getting to do the home run trot.
In the bottom of the first with one runner on, Mock hit his second dinger in two games, this one to right center field. Immediately after him, Brandon Twigg sent one over left center.
That 3-0 lead was trimmed to 3-1 in the third inning and then tested further when Michael Twigg was pitching to one of Castle Shannon's big hitters with bases loaded.
The hitter blasted a shot to deep center field, but Jordan Osborne tracked it down, caught the out, and then threw the ball in for a quick relay from Bryan McCann to home, where the runner from third was sprinting in. Both throws were spot-on, and catcher Brandon Twigg tagged the runner to complete the double play.
Though that was the play of the day for the defense, the pitching and fielding were solid all five innings. Brandon Twigg pitched two, Michael Twigg one, and Bryan McCann the closing two.
In the 4th inning, the Greenfield bats really got going. Harper started things off by taking a high fastball for a ride, sending it over the left center fences and into the deck hockey court. Then Tommy Paternoster, playing up as a 10-year-old, nearly sent one over the right center fence, crashing it off the fence for a double.
Osborne then hit a hard single that he stretched into a double with smart baserunning. McCann hit a sacrifice fly to get Paternoster home and Osborne to third, and then Osborne caught a moment when the catcher couldn't locate the ball, smartly stealing home.
With two outs, Mock doubled to center field, Brandon Twigg stretched a grounder into a double, and Michael Twigg walked. Brady Sulinski then hit a rocket line drive to the gap between left and center to bring in two runs and stop the inning at 5 runs.
In the bottom of the fifth, needing three to put the game away, Greenfield started at the same place in the order. Harper walked, Paternoster hit a grounder through the shortstop's legs, Osborne walked, then McCann pulled in one RBI with a grounder. Hill brought in another with a flare into shallow left center.
Castle Shannon decided to intentionally walk Mock, who could end the game with another good hit, but they had no more space on the bases to walk Brandon Twigg, who promptly hit a grounder up the middle to bring in the winning run.
Matthew Mock was named the MVP for the 12s. The 12s play the South Hills Wild Things Sunday morning at 10 a.m.
The Wild Things mascot was hamming it up with the Saturday crowd, and many of the fans, and the kids, were happy to fraternize with the enemy!
Greenfield's 12U beat Elliott 8-5 Wednesday night and the 12s 10-run-ruled Braun Jeffrey, 10-0, after 4 on Thursday, keeping both teams in the winner's bracket.
An all-green championship game would be possible, but difficult because of the teams' positions in the brackets.
The Greenfield 12U built up a solid lead, giving a few runs back only in the latter innings. But their defense held, giving them what Coach Bill Szustak called "a solid team win."
The 12U pitchers were solid all night. Kaeden Geraci started the night strong, Garrett White threw two and a half great middle innings, and Jack Heider finished the effort.
However, just as important was the concerted defensive effort of the entire field, with outfielders like James Mazefsky and Gage Pegher limiting extra base hits and and infielders making routine infield plays. Marcus Waller was one of those key infielders, putting in a good day's work at shortstop.
Will Szustak was representative of the team's night at the plate, combining solid hits with smart baserunning. It was the 12U's best effort yet of their young tournament season.
The Greenfield 12s had a good rebound game from their championship loss in Greentree Wednesday. In this game, they got the bats going in a big way.
Jordan Osborne started the game with a triple, getting home soon after that on a base hit by Bryan McCann. Though Greenfield continued to get the bat on the ball that inning, they were tagged out, caught out, and forced out.
In the second, the hitting continued, adding two more runs on base hits and base running. The third inning saw some fireworks as Brandon Twigg sent a fair ball deep over the right field fence and onto the salt dome, a two-run shot that moved the score to 6-0.
On the defensive end, the 12s put in a workmanlike performance for a shutout. Samson Hill pitched the first two innings, getting several ground outs and strikeouts, and Matthew Mock finished the game, keeping the last two innings scoreless. Only two hits came out to the outfielders, the infield getting the majority of the action.
It was Greenfield's fourth inning offensive burst that pushed the game to an early end. Osborne hit a hard single on a full count, then McCann hit a line-drive triple past the centerfielder, then Hill sent another one into the outfield for a double. With one on and no outs, Mock sent a ball over the far centerfield fence, bringing the count to 10. Twigg and Twigg each doubled, but were stranded on base as the home team sweated out the last three outs.
Brandon Twigg got MVP honors for the Greenfield 12s.
The 12U team plays at 10 on Saturday, followed by the 12s at noon. Come support your Greenfield teams and get some grub at Elliott's famous pop stand!