Folkard and Potoliccio lock up in World Tournament pitching classic

Written by Bob on August 15th, 2012

MIDLAND, MI – There’s been some talk at the ISC World Tournament about whether or not the era of the dominating pitcher is over. By some of the high scoring games, many would say yes, over and done.

But by the performance of Six Nations Ontario Hill United Chiefs’ Adam Folkard and West St. Paul Minnesota Angels’ Juan Potoliccio in a quarterfinal game Wednesday night, many would take a hard stance in the opposite direction.

Both power-pitching right-handers – Folkard from Australia and Potoliccio from Argentina – matched hard drop for hard drop; explosive rise for explosive rise.

Through four innings, both pitchers were hanging zeros on the scoreboard. With Folkard spinning a perfect game.

    ELLSWORTH COMES THROUGH

But in the fifth, Hill United finally got the clutch hits it needed to squeeze out a 1-0 victory.

Left-handed Ryan Thompson – batting in the eight spot – started off the inning with a single to left field and was sacrificed to second by Jason Sanford. That brought leadoff batter Brad Ezekiel to the plate. But Potoliccio reached back with a high rise ball and got Ezekiel to pop up in the infield.

With two outs, it looked like Potoliccio might escape the inning unscathed. But Jeff Ellsworth (1-3, RBI) came through in the clutch, rapping a clean single up the middle, which sent Thompson racing across home plate for the game’s only run.

The dominating Folkard really toughed in the sixth by striking out the side. Now he was just three outs away from a perfect game.

But Minnesota doesn’t quit. They’re known for finding a way to win low-scoring games. And they made it interesting in their last at bat in the seventh.

With one out, Justin Gill (1-3) ruined Folkard’s chance at perfection by lacing a hard-hit single to right field. Tommy Crouch (1-3) followed with an infield hit putting runners at first and second.

But Folkard had seen enough of Minnesota’s come-back bid. He blew his high rise ball by Nicolas Bittor for a strikeout, and ended the game by getting Leonardo Latasa on a ground out.

    TWO OF THE DOMINATING BEST

Folkard (2-0) finished with a two hitter, no walks, and struck out 10. But Potoliccio (2-1) was almost as good. In seven innings he gave up the one run on four hits, no walks, and struck out nine.

The era of the dominating pitcher over? Not with these two in the circle.

The victory moves Hill United into the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Thursday against the Jarvis Ontario Travelers, the reigning ISC World Tournament champions, who mercy-ruled the Saskatoon Diamondbacks 8-1.

Minnesota will attempt to comeback through the losers bracket, starting Thursday at 2 p.m.

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