Even with scheduled extra-inning play, today’s games seemed a little less action-packed than yesterday. And, although we dodged the rain, it was 90 degrees with 50 percent humidity, so everyone was still soaking wet. Like I mentioned yesterday, the games got moved up to 9 a.m. and were scheduled to be 11-inning affairs, but the first game was only 10 innings for some reason.
Consolation Game: West 4, North 3
The North team got out to an early 3-0 lead with a second-inning rally and held it for a few innings, but the West battled back in the fifth. After grounding out in his first at-bat, Bobby Borchering walked in his second at-bat. He moved over to second when Michael Zunino singled after him and then scored the West’s first run on a single by Jacob Schrader. A few batters later, Spencer Wilson drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the lead to one and then center fielder David Richardson beat out an infield single, which scored the tying run and kept the bases loaded. An errant throw back to the pitcher brought another run home and gave the West a 4-3 lead that would hold for the remainder of the game.
"It was pretty nice," West shortstop Scooter Gennett said after the game. "The win was good. It came off a tough loss last night, but it was a pleasure to play with all the talent in Florida. It was great to be a part of it."
The play of the game happened in the sixth inning when Zunino smoked a one-hopper to third base. The ball was scorched and third baseman Michael Revell of Florida High in Tallahassee didn’t have time to get his glove over, so he put his bare hand up to snare the ball and, in one fluid motion, threw across the diamond to get Zunino at first.
"It was just reaction," Revell said. "I didn’t have any time to throw my glove over there, so it was just a crazy play."
Most Valuable Player awards were handed out to one player from each team after the game. Mosely High righthander David Trexler received the honor for the North team after throwing two perfect innings to start the game. The West’s award went to Bobby Borchering, who put on the most impressive offensive performance of the weekend.
Championship Game: East 10, South 0
As you can see, this was more one-sided and it was pretty much The Nick Franklin Show. In his first at-bat, Franklin walked. He tried to steal second twice, but had to return to first both times after balls were fouled off. In his third try, he was gunned down by Steve Baron, but that would be the last out Franklin made until the last inning when he smoked a ball to center field that center fielder Darnell Sweeney busted in on and caught at his shoelaces.
Between those two outs, Franklin went 3-for-4 with two singles, a double and another walk. With his short, compact swing, he’s able to get the barrel on the ball and he hit everything hard. His double in the ninth inning was a line drive down the right-field line that was one of the most well-struck balls this side of Borchering’s home run the previous day. It could have been a triple if there wasn’t a runner in front of him that was held up from scoring another run.
There was another crazy play in this game. With two out in the top of the eighth inning and runners on first and second for the South, Issac Rodriguez hit a ball into the outfield. Michael Broad tried to score from second and didn’t see the throw coming in. Broad and the ball arrived at the plate at the same time and the catcher, Cody Bass, stuck his leg out to block the plate, basically tripping Broad—who wasn’t sliding—and sending him flying into the air. The umpire made no signal and Bass yelled, "He didn’t touch!" as a tag was made and Broad was called out.
Broad talked about the play after the game.
"I was running home and I looked at the backup guy and he was just staring at me," Broad said. "Usually the guy on deck is saying, ‘Get down!’ or ‘Stay up,’ So, I didn’t think there was a throw. Then, all of a sudden, it comes in at the last second and the catcher stuck his foot in and took my legs out from under me. But I touched the bag, I know I touched the bag."
The win gave the East their first FACA Baseball Classic Championship since 1990—before most of the players on this year’s team were even born. Not surprisingly, Franklin was selected as the East’s MVP and Stephen Rodriguez was chosen for the South team.
"It feels good—another win," Franklin said after the game. "We haven’t won it since 1990, so that’s what we were going for today. Coach (Wheeler) told us, all we need is two wins to get one for the East and that was our goal and we did it."
Franklin was happy with his day at the plate, but more excited that his team was able to win the event.
"Overall, I just had a great day and the team came through with it," Franklin said.