With three days of pool play down and two to go at the Cal Ripken World Series, the five-team National Division was being led by the undefeated Southeast representatives from West Raleigh, N.C, who were 2-0 through Monday.
Trailing the leaders by a half game is the Ohio Valley squad from Lexington, Ky., and tied with 1-1 records are the Midwest Plains team from Waite Park, Minn, and the Mid-Atlantic squad of Clifton Park, N.Y. Down at the bottom of the division are the host-team Bel Air Braves, who have been shut out three times.
The West Raleigh squad's most recent victory came on Monday afternoon at Cal Sr.'s Yard, where the division leaders topped the Waite Park boys 7-2.
Down 1-0 heading into the third, home-team Raleigh scored three times to go up by two. The winners came through with another three-run outburst in the fourth, then capped their scoring in the fifth with a single run. Waite Park's final tally came in the top half of the fifth.
Leading the way for Raleigh was Brycen Braswell, who went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, scored once and drove in three of his team's seven runs. Robbie Frongello ripped a two-RBI single for Raleigh, while Jacob Gregory was 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run. Jonathan D'Ercole scored twice in the victory, while teammates Kyle Gensler, Stephen Blackmon and Jake Feder all had one run. Raleigh's Alex Molden picked up one RBI.
Chris Brackes was 1-for-3 with one run and one RBI in the loss, while teammate Camren Dehler was 2-for-3 with one run. Peter Nelson went 1-for-3 with one RBI for Waite Park.
D'Ercole picked up the pitching with a three-inning relief stint. In three frames of work, D'Ercole scattered four hits, surrendered one earned run, struck out two and walked three.
In their tournament opener on Saturday night, the boys from Raleigh topped the Bel Air Braves 3-0 at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
The game was originally slated to start at 5 p.m., but was delayed nearly three hours because of heavy rains.
Raleigh stayed silent until the third frame, when it posted a single run. It was the fifth frame in which the visitors broke loose, scoring twice to put up a 3-0 lead.
Gensler led the Raleigh offense, going 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. D'Ercole had two hits and one RBI in the victory, while Gregory scored once.
Gensler made the start for Raleigh and went three innings, striking out one, walking zero and holding the Braves to a pair of hits. D'Ercole worked through three innings in relief, racking up two strikeouts and three walks.
Andrew Brndjar started for the Braves and hung tough for 4-1/3 frames, holding Raleigh to four hits and one earned run over that stretch, while striking out one and allowing no walks. Zach DeLuise closed out the game for Bel Air with 1-2/3 innings of no-hit ball, striking out four and walking two batters.
Ryan Neuberger and Carter Poulsen each rapped out a single in the loss, which were the Braves' only hits.
Ohio Valley team in second
Second-place Lexington, Ky., won it's second game of the tournament on Monday afternoon at Nationals Park, holding the Bel Air Braves to a pair of hits in a 10-0 victory.
Bel Air's two hits came courtesy of Carter Poulsen and Daniel Webber, who each poked out a single.
The Brave's held the Lexington boys close through the first three innings, as Bel Air starter Zach DeLuise allowed just two earned runs heading into the fourth inning. Lexington exploded for seven tallies in the fourth, then added one more in the fifth.
The contest was halted after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Kaelen Covington was Lexington's top hitter, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs. C.J. Bush had 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, while Kainen Bibb was 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI. Austin Dick put up one RBI and one run, while Ben Wilcoxson helped the winning side with a 2-for-2, two-run one-RBI performance. Jackson Beerman was 1-for-3 with one RBI in the victory, while James Bryant, Parker McCoy and Aidan Elias all scored once for Lexington.
Bush made the start for Lexington, pitching three innings in which he allowed three hits, struck out one and allowed one walk. Bryant finished out the game for the winners, striking out two, walking two and allowing one hit over two innings of work.
In the tournament's first National Division game on Saturday afternoon, Lexington dropped the Mid-Atlantic team from Clifton Park, N.Y., 5-1 at Cal Sr.'s Yard.
The contest was scheduled to start at 12 noon, but did not start until 1:15.
The winners were quick out of the gate, scoring three times in the opening frame before Clifton Park could escape the inning. Lexington followed with one run in the second, then scored their final tally in the third.
Dick made the start for Lexington and was nearly untouchable, cruising through five innings in which he surrendered just two hits, struck out seven, and issued no walks. Elias come in relief in the sixth frame and allowed Clifton Park's lone run before closing out the game. Elias recorded four strikeouts his one inning of work, as one of his punch outs got by the Lexington catcher, and the Clifton Park hitter was able to reach first base.
Dick was as potent at the plate as he was on the mound, going 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored and one RBI. Bibb went 2-for-3 with one run in the victory, while Bush was 1-for-3 with a two-RBI double and one run scored.
Mike Jeffers was the only Clifton Park batter with multiple hits, going 2-for-3. Marty McCrudden drew one walk and scored the losing side's lone run, while Kevin Huerter had a double in the loss.
Waite Park over Lexington
Playing at Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon, the Midwest Plains representatives from Waite Park, Minn., came through with a 10-5 win over the Lexington team.
The winners broke the game open in the second with a seven-run outburst. Lexington scored it's first run in the bottom of the second, then tightened things up with a four-run rally in the fourth. Waite Park padded its lead by one in the fifth, then added two more insurance runs in the sixth.
Leading the way for the winners was Camren Dehler, who went 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI. Joey Atkinson had a team-best two RBIs, while Peter Nelson, Mike Petron and Daniel Shoborg all had one RBI in the victory.
James Bryant had Lexington's hottest bat, going 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. C.J. Bush was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and one run, while Steven Bender had one hit and one RBI. Aidan Elias and Kaelen Covington both scored once for Lexington.
Dehler was the game's winning pitcher, tossing three innings of relief in which he struck out six, walked one, and held Lexington scoreless on a pair of hits.
Clifton Park drops Bel Air
In a Sunday-night match-up at Cal Sr.'s Yard, the Mid-Atlantic squad of Clifton Park, N.Y., posted a 10-0 shutout victory over the host-team Bel Air Braves.
The Braves managed just one hit in the loss, which was a single by Mike Koski.
Leading the way for the Clifton Park squad was Kevin Huerter, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one run.
Mike Jeffers was the winning pitcher, going five innings in which he struck out nine of the 16 hitters he faced. Were it not for Koski's single, the Clifton Park starter would have had a perfect game.