College Game: Americans Win 9-4

Americans Earn 9-4 Victory Over Nationals In College Classic

 

The first-ever College Select Game provided a welcome addition during the 12th annual POWER SHOWCASE event held at Miami Marlins Park. This rare opportunity to compete on an MLB field brought out the best in the college players, resulting in the Americans earning a 9-4 victory over the Nationals.

 

Texas’ Jordan Trahan took home MVP honors, going 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run to lead an offense that got balanced production throughout the order. Trahan helped get the Americans on the scoreboard with all the runs they needed in the bottom of the second inning. Justin Kelly was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and Trahan followed by lacing a shot to the right field wall for a standup double that allowed Kelly to score all the way from first base. A passed ball later brought Trahan home for a 2-0 advantage.

 

Pitching set the tone for both sides, as neither offense managed to string very much together against the tough arms they faced. Troy Turzi got things going by making the start for the Americans, allowing one hit over four scoreless innings while striking out eight.

 

The Americans added on to their lead in the bottom of the third. Travis MacFarland walked and Jack Barry reached on an error that allowed MacFarland to score. Two batters later, Termont Johnson ripped an RBI single past second base to drive in Barry for a 4-0 lead. Kelly singled and later scored on a passed ball in the fourth and MacFarland doubled to shallow left and scored on another RBI single from Johnson as the Americans opened up a 6-0 advantage.

 

The Nationals ended the scoring drought and cut the deficit in half with a big seventh. Nolen Milton led off with a double to left, and he then quickly scored when Adrian Celata drove a shot deep to left field and raced all the way around the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park home run. Matt McCourt kept the inning alive with a two-out double to left and he also scored thanks to an RBI single from World Champion Taylor Fajardo.

 

Another run in the tenth inched the Nationals inched even closer. Celata walked and scored when Sam Claycamp reached on an error.

 

The Americans pulled away with a few more insurance runs. Kelly reached on an error and scored off an RBI single from Steven Gallagher, who in turn scored on the strength of an RBI single from Michael Dziczkowski in the tenth. Brock Hammit then doubled to left and crossed the plate off an RBI double from Dalton Bealmer in the eleventh inning to close out the scoring.

 

Written by: Rick Duteau

 

Box Score:

 

Nationals

 

(Batting)

 

Gutierrez 0-2, ROE

Reis 0-3, HBP, 2K

Sengara 0-3, BB, K

Garcia 1-3, 2B, 2K

Gilmore 0-2, BB, 2K

Mahon 0-3, ROE

  1. Johnson 0-2, BB, K

Milton 1-3, 2B, R

Celata 1-2, HR, 2RBI, 2R, BB, ROE

Claycamp 0-3, ROE, 2K

McCourt 1-2, 2B, R, BB

McFadden 0-3, 2K

Fajardo 1-3, RBI, 2K

Conner 1-3, 2K

Delaney 0-3, 2K

Clark 2-3

Lopez 1-2, K

 

(Pitching)

 

Collett 3 IP, 4R, 1ER, 2H, 3BB, HBP, 5K

Gilmore 3 IP, 2R, 2ER, 3H, 2BB, HBP, 4K

Hughes 3 IP, 0R, 1H, 1BB, 1HBP, 3K

Graffeo 2 IP, 3R, 1ER, 3H, 1K

 

Nationals

 

(Batting)

 

  1. Johnson 2-3, 2RBI, BB, 2 SB, CS

Kumar 0-2, HBP, 2K

Dettman 0-4, 3K

Kelly 1-3, 3R, ROE, HBP

Trahan 1-4, 2B, RBI, R

Gallagher 1-2, RBI, R, 2BB, K, CS

Dziczkowski 1-3, RBI, ROE, BB, K

Salvey 1-4, K

Tatoian 0-2

Welsh 0-2, BB, 2K

Phillips 0-2, HBP, K

Hammit 1-4, 2B, R, K

Bealmer 1-3, 2B, RBI, K

MacFarland 0-3, 2R, BB, K

Barry 0-3, FC, ROE, R, K

 

(Pitching)

 

Turzi 4 IP, 0R, 1H, 8K

Martinez 3 IP, 3R, 3ER, 5H, 1BB, 3K

Boyum 2 IP, 0R, 2H, HBP, 3K

Mederos 2 IP, 1R, 0ER, 0H, 3BB, 4K

Housey 1 IP, 0R, 1H, 1BB, 1K

Power On Display As 14U Finalists Decided

Hitting home runs in the POWER SHOWCASE requires a certain amount of power and strength, coupled with good timing and mechanics against the pitching machine. Those big bats came out to lead the way for the trio of finalists that advanced to the 14U championship, in Friday’s Preliminary Round in the 12th annual POWER SHOWCASE at Miami Marlins Park. Advancing to Saturday’s championship were Florida’s Adam Parzych and Tony Casanova, and New York’s Brian Fry.

Parzych led the group by hitting 18 total home runs, setting the bar so high midway through the round that no other participant managed to get within five homers of his mark. As so often occurs with successful POWER SHOWCASE players, Parzych found his timing and synched up his swing to get into a groove, connecting for four in a row at one stretch. He also finished with a long of 438 feet.

After New Jersey’s Joshua James opened the round by putting out 11 homers, Tony Casanova matched that mark two batters later to set the bar high early on. James was eliminated from contention following Parzych’s round, but Casanova managed to hold on and earn a wild card spot thanks to a 442-foot blast that went for the longest of the group.

Brian Fry delivered the most balanced and consistent performance to also earn his spot in the finals and keep the dream of becoming the next world champion alive. The high school freshman hit three consecutive homers three separate times during his round, while also driving his longest shot 421 feet. His 12th homer traveled 365 feet into the right field bleachers to briefly move him to the top of the leaderboard, as he finished with 13 total home runs.

Florida’s Paul Whitson also closed with 11 home runs, including five in a row, and Georgia’s Davis Green belted out ten homers.

 

Written by: Rick Duteau

15U Group Sends Three Hitters To Championship Round

North Carolina’s Conner Bradley could not even remember how many total home runs he hit during the 15U Preliminary Round of the 12th annual POWER SHOWCASE at Miami Marlins Park on Friday. All he knew was that one of his homers was enough to stamp his place in Saturday’s 15U championship, after he advanced as a wild card entrant by hitting the longest home run of his group at 463 feet.

Bradley hit seven in all, falling very short of the overall group leaders. But his longest drive travelled well beyond the previous high of 429 feet, which was hit by Florida’s Bryan Loriga.

“I was trying to hit the ball really far,” Bradley admitted. “On that hit I think I just timed it up right and just got the sweet part of the bat on the ball. It was nerve-wracking during the first couple of hitters that went after that, and then I started to feel like no one can beat it. So I started to get more relaxed. This feels really great.”

Joining Bradley to compete for the title of World Champion will be Loriga and Indiana’s Austin Bode, who finished atop the group leaderboard. Bode was one of the first batters to take his turn on Friday afternoon, and after a slow start he heated up midway through to pound out 18 home runs and move well in front of the pack. Bode’s longest traveled 410 feet and he connected for an amazing eight in a row during one stretch of hits.

Loriga also put in an impressive performance that had him in prime position to advance. Behind a clean swing and a consistent approach, Loriga drove out 15 home runs to move into second place and eliminate a three-way tie between Texas’ Daylon Pena, Minnesota’s Sam Hunt and Florida’s Jake Isenman, all of whom had nine home runs. Loriga’s long of 429 nearly held up to assure him the wild card berth, had another hitter moved ahead of him on the leaderboard.

Korea’s Tae-Hyun Kim also had nine home runs, including four in a row and a long of 383 feet. Florida’s Lucas Hartman nearly worked his way into the finals, as the last batter of the group drove out 11 home runs while just missing on numerous others.

 

Written by: Rick Duteau

Florida’s Triston Casas Joins 500 Club To Lead Featured & Underclassmen Finalists

Florida’s Triston Casas entered his first POWER SHOWCASE looking to set his mark among all the many greats that have competed over the years. Several powerful swings of the bat did just that, as the high school senior twice connected for home runs that traveled over 500 feet to put him in the illustrious 500 Club during Thursday’s preliminary action.

“I’ve played on a lot of big stages, but for some reason I had butterflies today when I was stepping up to the plate,” Casas admitted. “I just wanted to do my best out there and I was able to hit a few over the fence, a couple being over 500 feet, so I am honored that POWER SHOWCASE gave me the chance to be here. I’m blessed with every opportunity I am given and I had to come out here and perform. It is a dream come true.”

Casas clubbed a 509-foot shot deep into center field at Miami Marlins Park during the preliminary round of the Featured and Underclassman groups, and he then followed it up with a 504-foot shot to nearly the same location. He finished with 16 total home runs, trailing only the 20 long balls hit by group leader Jesse Garcia, of California. Casas also advanced automatically after hitting the farthest homer in his group.

“Last year I heard that Terriez Fuller hit the lights, so they were telling me to hit the lights, but I told them I was going to aim more for the scoreboard,” Casas said. “I was able to hit that a couple of times and a couple of them went a little to the left of the scoreboard, towards center, and it went over 500 feet. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come out here and pass the leader with 20 home runs, but I definitely wanted to come out here and hit the farthest ball and lock myself in for Saturday that way. So I didn’t really have a game plan, other than to get the timing of the machine, because this is my first time ever hitting off of a machine on a field. I just wanted to come out here and feel comfortable the first few swings, get in a groove and hit some balls out.”

Garcia was equally impressive in his preliminary performance. Having previously won the inaugural Rookies Group a few years ago, he returned showcasing much more power now as a high school senior. Garcia connected for a pair of homers with the wood bat, smacked a long of 470 feet and also got into a groove by hitting seven consecutive. Three hitters later, Casas also got into rhythm to pace himself ahead of other group standouts such as Louisiana’s Kenyon Major and Florida’s Bruno Ghesillini.

“They call it a hitter’s high and every hitter wants to find that,” Casas said. “When you get in that groove it feels great and it doesn’t even feel like you are hitting the ball. You don’t feel your body; you’re just focused on timing that ball up and hitting it. I was fortunate to come out here and be able to perform the way I did and I’m glad that everything worked out the way it did. I am looking forward to Saturday.”

For the second straight year, Korea was also well represented, as Woo-Yeok Byeon smacked his way to the head of the Underclassmen finalists. Byeon hit two homers with the wood bat and finished with 13 total preliminary homers, with a long of 435 feet and a stretch of three consecutive.

Kansas’ Payton Smith and Florida’s Carmine Lane also both advanced with 11 each, while Mississippi high school freshman Blaze Jordan earned a wild card berth on the strength of a 479-foot blast that led the Underclassmen. Jordan finished with six homers in the prelim, after previously slugging 15 while also participating in the College Preliminary Round.

 

Written by: Rick Duteau

College Players Impress In Preliminary Round Showdown

The College Division of the POWER SHOWCASE is still a new format, and Thursday afternoon nearly 40 excited college ball players swung off for a chance to become the next World Champion, during the college preliminary round of the 12th annual POWER SHOWCASE held at Miami Marlins Park. One of only two college events held in a professional MLB stadium, the second installment of the college bracket provided plenty of thrills and excitement. The competition was so fierce that a swing-off was needed to decide the third finalist, as New Jersey’s Sid Kumar snuck past California’s Jorge Garcia to advance into the finals along with Tennessee’s Nolen Milton and Louisiana’s Taylor Fajardo.

Kumar and Garcia both connected for 16 long balls during their preliminary round, which set up a swing-off in which both participants received five more outs to work with. After Garcia connected for three homers, Kumar chipped away and managed to sail the fourth dinger out of the ball park to keep his title hopes alive.

Nolen Milton led the way to finish at the top of the leaderboard. The junior from Union University was particularly successful with the wood bat, connecting for nine of his 17 home runs during the three-minute wood-bat portion of his round. He also found a groove to hit three in a row on three separate occasions, and finished with a farthest that went 438 feet.

“I have practiced and hit with the wood bat so many times that I didn’t feel that it was that much of a disadvantage for me,” Milton admitted. “You really have to barrel the ball up for it to go with a wood bat, but I feel very comfortable with a wood bat and I control my barrel very well. I had a great BP-thrower and I just made sure that I did not get overwhelmed by all the surroundings. I just stayed in my zone and stayed in my load.”

Like every other college participant, just being there competing was reward enough for Taylor Fajardo. Once the pitches started coming in, Fajardo locked in and emulated the professionals he admires that have enjoyed the same moments that he now relished in.

“It’s such a blessing to be here,” Fajardo said. “Getting to watch the big boys like Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge hit bombs here on TV and then getting to come here and do it yourself is just an absolutely unreal experience. It is something that you dream about as a kid, just an awesome experience.”

Besides peppering bombs onto the stadium concourse, Fajardo also stamped his way into the final round on the strength of a 470-foot blast that was the longest of his group. By hitting the farthest home run, he automatically advanced to the finals as a wild card entrant. During his round he broke his wood bat and had to pause for a replacement, after which he adjusted to connect for his biggest bomb.

“It’s a good feeling hitting one like that, and I hit the skywalk a couple of times too, which was a nice feeling,” Fajardo said. “That is something that you only see Aaron Judge do, so it was a good feeling. I just had to let the ball travel a little more. Naturally, in this setting, I just wanted to hit some bombs and I was trying to pull it. So I let the ball travel a little more. Breaking my bat was kind of a blessing, because I got to reset after that with a better mindset.”

Another exciting installment within the College Group came from POWER SHOWCASE veteran Blaze Jordan, a high school freshman from Mississippi that enjoyed the unique opportunity to compete against the college guys. The World Champion and 500 Foot Club member delivered an impressive display, coolly swinging away in the college format to finish with 15 home runs and fall just short of a chance to compete for the College World Title.

As opposed to facing the pitching machine in every other showcase event, the college guys face a live pitcher with a three-minute round with a wood bat that is followed by thirty-second break and then a two-minute metal-bat round. Like every other challenge Jordan has faced, he made his adjustments and started making things happen.

“It was a little bit of an adjustment getting the timing down, especially with the time-limit that you go against,” Jordan said. “I was just getting the timing down with the pitcher, seeing where he wanted everything. It was a little bit different. Then it was to where I was just swinging it and it just kept on going. So I kept on swinging and tried to stay smooth. A lot of them went out, so it worked for me.”

For a high school freshman to perform so admirably among his college peers is incredible, even for such a special talent as Blaze Jordan. As a veteran that has competed since he was a young child, Jordan now sees some of the newer young guys coming in and looking up to him. He is honored and humbled by the recognition and continues to give back by encouraging and supporting the next rising stars.

“I knew this was kind of big, because I am a freshman in high school going against college guys, but I tried not to make it too big,” Jordan said. “I stayed low and tried to stay smooth, do as best I could and not worry about it. It’s a great feeling to inspire other kids and I am just really blessed to treat young kids like that and make them look up to me.”

 

Written by: Rick Duteau

Beltre Returns With A Bang To Lead 13U Preliminary Finalists

Manuel Beltre has a chance to do something rarely accomplished in POWER SHOWCASE history by repeating as world champion. The 13-year old from Florida won the 12U showcase last year, and now has the chance to win the 13U group following another monster performance in Thursday’s preliminary round. Beltre clubbed 20 homers to lead his group, while Georgia’s Termarr Johnson and Utah’s Gavin Turley also advanced to the finals.

Beltre took his turn about midway through the round, slugging his way past Johnson atop the group to take a lead that he never relinquished. He connected for three consecutive and the farthest traveled 414 feet out of Miami Marlins Park.

Termarr Johnson broke things open early on by getting hot and swinging his way well ahead of the field of participants that had competed at that point. The left-handed slugger piled up 18 homers total, driving out six straight during one stretch, while driving his longest 430 feet into the right field bleachers.

Although his homer total fell just short of the top two on the leaderboard, Gavin Turley still managed to club 17 home runs and advanced as a wild card entrant thanks to a 445-foot blast that finished just ahead of Georgia’s Jayce Blalock mark of 444 feet. Turley found a groove as well to hit four in a row.

Florida’s Jared Matey also delivered a strong performance that left him just outside the finalists. Matey finished with 13 homers, a long of 421 feet and also connected for six consecutive.

 

Written by: Rick Duteau

 

Gregory & Walton Advance To 12U Championship

 

Virginia’s Tayshaun Walton took his turn in the 12U Preliminary Round of the 12th annual POWER SHOWCASE on Friday morning knowing he needed a big performance in order to advance. Group favorite Daniel Gregory had already set the bar high to lead the group early on, and Walton stepped up and delivered to stamp his spot in the championship round. The seventh-grader got hot and slugged his way to 27 total home runs, while also connecting for the farthest hit of the group to ensure his place in the finals.

 

Showing incredible poise and grit, Walton calmly carved his way through his pitches to pepper baseballs all over Miami Marlins Park. His farthest shot traveled 391 feet to easily eclipse the previous high, which Gregory had set at 380 feet. Walton moved into the group lead when his 22nd homer clanged 367 feet off the center field wall, and he hit homers to all three parts of the outfield.

 

Daniel Gregory, a Florida local from Plantation, came into the event after blasting his way to the National Championship last month in Texas, which earned his selection to this year’s POWER SHOWCASE. The seventh-grader continued his hot hitting by plugging away and piling up his 21 dingers, which included a stretch where he hit four consecutive. Now he finds himself one step away from becoming the next 12U World Champion.

Florida’s Anthony Tralongo also had an impressive showing, as he knocked out 18 home runs to nearly advance to the championship. The streaky hitter excelled at finding his groove, hitting five homers in a row twice during his swings. He also finished with a long of 324 feet.

 

 

 

Written by: Rick Duteau