Despite loss, Concord moves on at Babe Ruth World Series on tiebreaker

  • Concord shortstop Nate Vandersea prepares to throw to third baseman Kevin McDonough to get a force out during a 12-0 loss to Mifflin County, Pa., on Monday at Story Field in Longview, Wash., during the 13-15 Babe Ruth World Series.  Joshua Hart / The Daily News

  • Concord’s Ryan McDonough stretches out to try to catch Mifflin County’s Connor Cherry stealing but applies the tag just late. Joshua Hart photos / The Daily News

  • Nate Vandersea comes on in relief in the bottom of the fifth inning after starter Trevor Smith reaches his 95-pitch limit.  Joshua Hart / The Daily News

  • Concord pitcher Trevor Smith delivers a pitch in the third inning of a 12-0 loss to Mifflin County, Pa., on Monday at David Story Field.  Joshua Hart / The Daily News

Monitor staff
Published: 8/14/2018 12:26:09 AM

It wasn’t the way the Concord Babe Ruth All-Stars had hoped to advance out of pool play, but their 12-0 loss to Mifflin County, Pa., on Monday was enough to push Concord to the single-elimination portion of the Babe Ruth 13-15 World Series in Longview, Wash.

“I think they were upset, but they also know they busted their butts,” Concord coach Ryan McGonigle said of his team after the loss in six innings.

Concord finished pool play with a 1-3 record, setting up a three-way tie for third in the National Division. The tiebreaker was based on runs allowed – Concord had 30 through four games while Kelso, Wash., had 33 and Torrance, Calif., had 35.

Concord will face the second-place team out of the American Division on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. PST) in the quarterfinals. Their opponent will be either Longview or Denver City, Texas, depending on the outcome of Monday’s late game between Longview and KWRL-Centerfield, Wash.

Concord and Mifflin were scoreless through four innings Monday before Mifflin plated four in the fifth and added eight more in the sixth to win via the 10-run mercy rule. Bryce Dobson hit a three-run homer in the sixth to give Mifflin the walk-off win.

Concord opened the tournament with a bang on Thursday as Jonah Wachter and Tyler Wright combined for a no-hitter that ended in a 6-4 win over Torrance, Calif. But Concord has slid in three straight losses since to Kelso, Wash., and Tallahassee, Fla., before meeting Mifflin on Monday.

McGonigle hopes a more aggressive approach at the plate will help snap Concord out of its funk.

“We’re struggling to string together some hits, and that’s really killing us,” he said. “But we’re in a good spot now, we just need to get the bats rolling again. Unfortunately, we’re watching too many pitches. We need to get after them to get up there and swing the bat. Usually, if we get one across we’ll be all right. But getting one across is tough right now.”

Ryan Kastle, who has been a defensive star in left field for Concord in this tournament, agreed with his coach that the bats need to wake up.

“I think our one-through-five batters have not been hitting the way we normally do,” said Kastle, who hit fifth in the lineup Monday. “We need to have more disciplined at-bats. Getting down in counts. We should have a better mindset for (Tuesday’s) game. It’s later in the day, so we’ll get to sleep in and rest. Just go after it, hit first-pitch strikes and get base hits.”

Jake Sullivan and Nate Vandersea knocked the only two hits Concord could muster against National Division leader Mifflin (4-0), which battered a total of 13 hits.

Concord pitcher Trevor Smith dealt four strong innings before Mifflin pulled away in the fifth. He didn’t give up a hit until the third inning and it was the only one he allowed until the fifth. Smith finished with three earned runs, three strikeouts and four walks with five hits over 4⅔ innings.

Nate Vandersea took over in the fifth and pitched one inning with one strikeout and eight earned runs on eight hits.

McGonigle will decide Tuesday whether Jake Sullivan or Wright will pitch in the quarterfinals. Wachter is not available.

The season is still alive for Concord, and despite Monday’s shutout loss the All-Stars are confident they can push deeper into the tournament. They’ve become more comfortable at this stage, as well.

“All of us have gotten all of the nerves out,” Kastle said. “The first couple games we were nervous because it’s the World Series. We’re getting more comfortable. Our coaches remind us that we belong here, and that we were 12-0 until our first loss here. We’ve been playing well but haven’t been hitting as well. I think we will be able to pull through in the next couple of games.”

(Nick Stoico can be reached at nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)


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