Missouri holds off California in NAFA 23-Under World Series thriller

Written by Bob on August 25th, 2012

Northwest Implement of Maryville, Missouri, the 2012 NAFA 23-Under World Series Champions.

TOPEKA, KS – Northwest Implement came to the NAFA World Series with just nine players, but those nine had what pitcher Brody Abell calls, “the want.”

And that desire carried the Maryville, Missouri fastpitch team to a thrilling eight inning, 7-6 victory over the California Young Bucks in the championship game of the 2012 NAFA 23-Under World Series, August 19 in Topeka, Kansas.

“We got timely hitting, put up runs when we needed, and we had solid pitching,” said Northwest catcher Colby Miller, who caught every game and was 1-0 pitching with 13 strikeouts. “This was the solidest hitting we’ve had all year.”

Northwest Implement swept through the six-team tournament undefeated (5-0) to claim the title – it’s first in the 23-Under division.

And the championship game was just what a title game should be: featuring solid pitching by Abell, who went the distance, and Young Bucks’ Jesse Martinez who pitched 7 2/3 innings in relief.

The hitters played a huge part, too. Northwest pounded out 10 hits, while the Young Bucks countered with nine. Martinez (2-for-4) proved himself just as good at the plate as in the circle, leading all hitters by driving in four runs and slugging a home run.

But at the start, it looked as if Northwest would run away with the title. They jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second, and went into the sixth with Abell firing a shutout.

But the California team scored one in the sixth and five in the seventh to take a 6-5 lead. What brought about this sudden offensive uprising?

“What changed for us was being patient at the plate,” said C.J. Sales, 21, of the Young Bucks.

“Early and often in the game we would swing at a lot of bad pitches in the batter’s count rather than having the pitcher earn that out,” added Sales (2-4), who helped the Young Bucks win the 23-Under title in 2008, and who also plays for Balboa Fastpitch in Southern California.

But those sixth and seventh inning runs would be the final tally for the Young Bucks. However, California did have the 6-5 lead and were just three outs away from claiming its second NAFA 23-Under title.

Missouri, though, refused to concede the championship. Especially Chase Conover. He came through in the clutch, with a solo homer that tied the game, sending it into extra innings.

Brody Abell pitched a complete game and was selected the 23-Under Most Valuable Pitcher.

Abell shutdown California in the eighth and Northwest claimed the title on Adam Henry’s (2-5) game-winning hit, driving in Abell (1-2) who reached safely on a single.

And then the celebration began for Northwest Implement’s first NAFA 23-Under World Series title.

“It was a tooth-and-nail fight between two clubs that really wanted it,” Abell said, who was selected the 23-Under Most Valuable Pitcher (3-0, 16 innings, 13 strikeouts, 2 earned runs, and a 0.88 ERA). “We only had the nine players, so without anyone of them, we were in trouble. But our team was clutch. We had the want.”

    Line Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Young Bucks 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
    Northwest 0 5 0 0 0 0 1 1

Northwest Implement totals: Seth Reinecke 1-4, run, RBI; Brett McQuinn 2-5; William (Chase) Conover 1-3, run, RBI, home run; Ryan McQuinn 1-3, run; Adam Henry 2-5, 2 RBIs; Colby Miller 0-2, run, RBI, 2 walks; Brody Abell 1-2, 2 runs, RBI, 2 walks; Niran Buckley 0-1, run, RBI, 3 walks, and Kyle Pennington 2-3, run, walk.

Young Bucks totals: Tyler McGaughey 3-3, run; C.J. Sales 2-4; Jesse Martinez 2-4, run, 4 RBIs; Rudy Soriano 1-2, run; Frankie Marinelijo 1-3, run; Julian Flores RBI, and Josh Ravago 2 runs.

Northwest Implement pitching: Brody Abell started and pitched eight innings allowing nine hits, one earned run, walked six and struck out five for a 0.88 ERA.

Young Bucks pitching: Ryan Stefankiewic started and pitched 1 1/3 innings allowing one hit and no earned runs. Jesse Martinez relieved and went 7 2/3 innings allowing nine hits, two earned runs, walked three and struck out seven.

23-Under Top-Four: (1) Northwest Implement, Maryville, MO, 5-0 (2) California Young Bucks, 4-1 (3) M. Jamison & Free Agent All-Stars, 2-1 (4) Oklahoma Choctaw Warriors 2-4.

23-Under Most Valuable Player: Jessie Martinez was selected the MVP of the tournament for his .357 avg., 5 RBIs, 3 runs, along with a 2-1 pitching record. In 22 2/3 innings, Martinez allowed 23 hits and 5 earned runs, struck out 29, with an ERA of 1.54.

23-Under All-World team:

Northwest Implement: Colby Miller, .312 avg., 4 RBIs, 5 runs; Adam Henry, .500 avg., 7 RBIs, 5 runs; Brett McQuinn, .222 avg., 4 RBIs, 3 runs; and Chase Conover, .375 avg., 4 RBIs, 4 runs.

Young Bucks: Tyler McGaughey, .500 avg., RBI, 3 runs; Johnny Cabrera, 250 avg., 4 RBIs, 4 runs; and Josh Ravago, .308 avg., 5 RBIs, 2 runs.

Choctaw Warriors: Glen Davidson, .333 avg., 2 RBIs, run; Kyle Billy, .474 avg., 5 RBIs, 9 runs; and Dave Lindly, .350 avg., 4 RBIs, 2 runs.

Minnesota Gamecocks: Shane Lange, .316 avg., 4 RBIs, 4 runs, and Brent Meschke, 0-4 pitching record. In 28 innings he allowed only 16 earned runs, while striking out 11 for the Gamecocks who finished 1-4.

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