EMERSON, Ga. – The Dulins Dodgers scored defeated Stix Baseball Club 7-6 in the championship game of the 14u PG World Series. Clutch hitting was the name of the game for the Dodgers, who rode that timely hitting in both of their games on Friday.
The Dodgers were on the brink of elimination in the semifinals, down 4-1 against Academy Select Baseball Club heading into the top of the seventh inning. Parker White of the Dodgers led the inning off with a hit-by-pitch, and after a pop-out, Lane Forsythe walked to put runners on first and second with nobody out. That set the stage for Dodgers first baseman Blaze Jordan, who sent a three-run home run, 385 feet to left field on an 0-2 count to tie the game at 4-4. Ellis Yohn and Jordan would keep Academy Select off the board in the bottom half, sending the game to extra innings.
“I took two big swings on the first two and I was pulling off, and so I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going to stay on this next pitch,’ and he just left a changeup over the plate and I got a hold of it, and I just hit it,” Jordan said.
In the top of the eighth, the Dodgers had runners on first and second with two outs for Forsythe, who walked again to bring up Jordan. The 6-foot, 215-pound Jordan rocketed a groundball up the middle, sneaking past the dive of shortstop Payton Allen into centerfield, scoring two runs. Jordan would finish the game 3-for-5 with five RBIs at the plate, and his team would win the game 6-4.
“It’s a big team win,” said Dodgers coach Andy Forsythe. “You know you’ve got to get guys on and you’ve got to have guys like Blaze come up with big hits in timely situations and it’s all about situational hitting and you’ve got to take what the game gives you, and we we’re able to just put something together and put Blaze in the best situation that he could help our team.”
“Throughout the year, coming from behind, we’ve had a lot of victories like that,” said coach Jeff Ince. “Probably more than half our wins we’ve come from behind, so these kids never give up, they have true heart and they stay after it.”
An exciting playoff run was the case for the Stix as well, defeating the Banditos Scout Team 3-2 in the quarterfinals. The Stix were down 1-0 as the game moved to the bottom of the sixth inning, but would push across two runs, the first on a walk by Warren Rudman with the bases loaded, and the second on a single by Chase Pendley. The Banditos would come back though, scoring one run in the top of the seventh and were vying for a second that was cut down at the plate by a strong throw by right fielder Carter Williams.
In the bottom of the seventh, with the game tied at 2-2, Mason Shimkus led the inning off with a double to right field. A sacrifice bunt by Jared Moore would move Shimkus to third with only one out, but the Banditos would intentionally walk the next two batters to set up a force at any base. Dylan Russo would counter the thinking though, singling to centerfield to send his team to the semifinals. They would beat Team Beast 8-3 to punch their ticket to the championship.
In the championship game, the Dodgers sent Luke Smith to the mound, while the Stix countered with Hudson White. The game was quiet through two innings, but Jordan started the run scoring in the third by hitting a 94.5 mph rocket to the third baseman that got through and plated two runs.
The Stix would score one in the bottom of the third, chipping away at the lead, but the Dodgers would plate four in the top of the sixth to take a commanding 7-1 lead. Although it looked like the game was nearly over, the Stix responded with five runs in the bottom of the sixth to shave the Dodgers’ lead to 7-6. Jeffrey Ince would come in to close the game out, pitching a perfect seventh to seal the World Series victory for the Dodgers.
“Well I tell you what, from us as a team, we’ve had to grind it out all year it seems like, especially in this tournament, coming up with some key hits in key situations,” coach Ince said. “When you play this type of competition, it’s hard to come out and just run through everybody and think you’ll get 10, 12 hits every game, so you’ve got to make every at-bat count and grind out every at-bat.”
Smith pitched 5 1/3 innings, surrendering three runs (one earned), while striking out three. He was able to put the Dodgers in a position to win the game, which is all they could ask for.
“Luke grinded out,” Andy Forsythe said. “We were running a little short on pitching towards the end, as everybody else is, and Luke gave us all he had. He had his curveball working good and he just pounded the strike zone.”
At the plate, Jordan continued his clutch hitting, finishing the game 2-for-4 with four RBIs. The No. 2 player in the nation in the class of 2021 finished the tournament 12-for-22 with three doubles, three home runs, a stolen base and 14 RBIs. He came up big on Friday, collecting nine RBIs in those two games alone, earning him MVP honors for the tournament.
“I’m speechless, because for this team to go this far, it’s just all a team effort,” Jordan said. “I couldn’t have done it without any of these guys, they got on base for me, they had my back through everything, so I can’t do it without these guys.”
On the pitching side, Lane Forsythe took home MV-Pitcher honors after throwing a five-inning, perfect game in relief in the quarterfinals against U.S. Elite. The righty finished the tournament having allowed no runs over seven innings of work.
“I was just trying to pound the strike zone and let my defense work and let them get themselves out,” Lane Forsythe said.
Although Lane Forsythe and Jordan were sad that the season was over, both were happy to be able to finish the season on a high note, having been together for a few years now. Andy Forsythe was also proud of his team for finishing out on top, knowing that they have put in the work and grinded through this tournament.
“It’s a big tournament,” Andy Forsythe said. “Perfect Game does a good job putting this on and getting the top 25 teams from across the country, and we’re just lucky to be here at the end and come out with the win. [I’m] proud of the boys and the parents for the dedication. It’s been a good team victory and a good team tournament.”
2017 14u PG World Series MVP: Blaze Jordan
2017 14u PG World Series MV-Pitcher: Lane Forsythe