As we get closer to opening day it's becoming more clear just how good the 14U Legends Prospects are going to be. The power, speed, athleticism and depth on the pitching staff makes this a very dangerous team to play. "This team can flat out hit and most importantly these guys can play defense with the best of them. We have 7 different guys that can play shortstop and play it very well, that allows our pitchers to pitch to contact and not have to rely on the strikeout because we have so many good defensive players. I've been coaching with Legends Baseball for 11 years now and I've never been so excited about a team like this 2017 squad." says Coach Eli Munkholm.
The "Bash Brothers" Lee Pacheco (Salem, Ma) & Tyler Martin (Acton, Ma) are the two best players in the Elite Baseball League. Lee and Tyler dominated the league last year and our coaching staff is really looking forward to them playing on the same team and being in the same line-up for the 2017 season.
"These two guys are Division I College Baseball Prospects with plenty of room to get better. Tyler was a huge pick up for us and has fit right in by working his butt off during the first few months of practices. I have no idea how pitchers are going to deal with Lee and Tyler but it's going to be exciting to watch. We might be seeing the best 3-4 combo in the history of Legends Baseball with fireworks going off each and every weekend " says Eli. Last year Lee hit .503 with 78 (hits), 12 (doubles), 6 (triples), 5 (HR's) with 43 (stolen bases) and was 10-1 on the mound with a 1.66 ERA. and had 69 strikeouts in 67 innings while missing 13 games with an injury. Tyler hit .529, 83 (hits), 26 (doubles), 7 (triples), 8 (HR's), 75 (RBI's) and 42 (stolen bases) last year while going 13-1 on the mound with a 1.90 ERA.
Jack Penney (Wakefield, Ma), Tommy Beauregard (Salem, Ma) and Matthew Sapienza (North Andover, Ma) are three guys that put up very big numbers last year and are expected to do the same this year. They are solid hitters that are very athletic, can pitch and play any position on the field. Jack plays mostly shortstop and hit in the top of the order last year and was very productive. He hit .373 with 63 (hits), 12 (doubles), 4 (HR's) and was one of the top of the rotation guys going 9-1 with a 2.01 ERA. Tommy was the lead off hitter who played a lot of outfield but is also a very good infielder and was the big game pitcher on this team last year. He hit .358 with 54 (hits), 3 (triples), 2 (HR's), 44 (stolen bases) and was 9-3 on the mound with a 2.48 ERA in 82 innings pitched. Matthew can play any infield position and was huge on the mound last year going 11-2 with a 3.24 ERA. Offensively he hit .333 with 53 (hits), 9 (doubles) and 28 stolen bases.
Jack Gilligan (Salem, Ma), Matt Maloney (Windham, NH) and Jax Budgell (Newburyport, Ma) are the catchers on this team but all 3 guys can play multiple positions. These players are very strong offensive players that should have tremendous years. "Jack, Matt and Jax are very solid line drive hitters who put up huge numbers last year and I'm expecting even better years from these guys in 2017. They look bigger, stronger and are hitting balls in practice very hard so I'm very excited about whats to come this season from the 3 catchers" says Eli. Jack had a monster season last year hitting .437 with 76 (hits), 13 (doubles), 4 (triples), 2 (HR's) and 75 (RBI's). Matt hit .394 with 69 (hits), 12 (doubles), 31 (RBI's) and 21 (stolen bases). Jax played on the Legends Navy team last year and put up solid numbers all season long and earned a spot on the Prospect team this year and figures to be a huge impact guy.
Marcus Montagnino (Gloucester, Ma), Alex Bodnar (North Andover, Ma), Carter Coffey (Wenham, Ma) and Ben Olszak (Danvers, Ma) are 4 returning players from last years team that will be impact players on this years squad. "Marcus was the best outfielder in the EBL last year in my opinion. He made so many big plays all year long especially throwing out the runner at home plate to win the Perfect Game New England Championship." says Eli. Marcus also added a .379 average, 53 (hits) and 9 (doubles). Alex can play any infield or outfield position and has great hand eye coordination, he only struck out 13 times in 135 plate appearances and batted .321 last year. Carter is the spark plug of the team who can play any position on the field and play it well. He had 27 (hits) with 20 (stolen bases) last year and won 3 games on the mound with a 1.30 ERA. in 27 innings pitched. Ben is a middle infielder who can also play 3rd base who is as smooth as they come in the infield. His season was cut short last year with a broken ankle but in limited time he hit .373 with 25 (hits), 22 (RBI's) in only 35 games. "Ben was having a great start to the season and unfortunately his injury put a damper to his start but he looks great so far in the winter and I'm expecting him to pick up where he left off last year" says Eli.
Kurtis Thomas (Harwich, Ma), Braden Green (Exeter, NH) and Vince Freddo (Marblehead, Ma) are 3 new additions to the 2017 team. Kurtis is a big strong left handed hitter who can play 3rd base, outfield and pitch and Braden is a left handed hitting middle infielder who can also play outfield and pitch. "Kurtis and Braden played in the EBL last year so we were very familiar with what type of players we were getting when they showed up at tryouts. These 2 guys are huge impact players that we are very excited to have and to top things off they come from great families and are great teammates. They can both smash the ball and will help tremendously on the mound" says Eli. Vince is another lefty hitter/thrower who came over to us from a local program who had a great tryout for us. He can play any outfield position and will get plenty of opportunities on the mound. Vince has worked hard so far and is fitting in very well with all of the guys. We have big expectations for Vince this year.
The schedule will be very demanding for this team in 2017. They will participate in 10 tournaments throughout the year including some of the best invite tournaments in the country. They have been invited to the WWBA Perfect Game National Championship and the Perfect Game World Series at the Perfect Game Complex in Georgia on separate weeks. Those two tournaments will feature the best of the best from across the country. They will also be in the Perfect Game Super 25 Regional Tournament in New Jersey, Perfect Game Super 25 Regional Tournament at the New England Baseball Complex, Diamond Nation complex in New Jersey and a few other local tournaments including the Summer Series at the New England Baseball Complex.
Playing for Legends Baseball brings pressure and high expectations every year and that will be no different for the 11U Prospect Team in 2017. With 8 of the core players coming back from last years 31 win team and the addition of 4 strong players makes this team an early favorite in the New England Elite Baseball League for the 2017 season. This team will have a very tough schedule in 2017 competing in 7 tournaments across the country and this team will play between 50-60 games. They have been invited to play in the Perfect Game BCS National Championship Tournament in Ft. Myers, Florida which is an invite tournament for a select few top notch programs from across the country. They will also be participating in the New England Super 25 Regional Tournament, Diamond Nation in New Jersey, Ripken Complex in Aberdeen Maryland and the Summer Series at the New England Baseball Complex along with a few other local tournaments.
Cole Mascott (Newburyport, Ma), Troy Flood (Manchester, Ma) and Cameron LaGrassa (Middleton, Ma) are 3 returning players that put up big offensive numbers last year and are projected to be middle of the line-up guys again this season. Cole is a big strong kid 5'4 and 140 pounds who can play 1st, 3rd and pitch. He hit .480 last year with hits (49), doubles (10) and (33) RBI's. Troy is another big strong kid who can play infield and outfield and will once again be counted on to be a top of the rotation pitcher.
Last year he hit .372 with (15) doubles and (31) RBI's and won 5 games on the mound. Cameron will play shortstop, 3rd base, 2nd base and some outfield and will also be counted on to be one of the aces of the staff again. "Cam can do it all, he can hit the ball very hard, he can play any position on the field which makes him very valuable and he is very consistent on the mound. I'm excited to see his growth and how good he will be this year," says Coach Rusty Tucker.
Will Cooke (Wenham, Ma), Tyler Feldberg (Middleton, Ma) and Ryder Florence (Middleton Ma) are three very similar players who are all very athletic and can play any infield or outfield positions and can all pitch. Will had a tremendous 2016 season leading the team in average (.509), hits (55) and stolen bases (59). He is a great contact hitter and can be very disruptive on the bases. Tyler can play any position on the field which makes him a very valuable player. He can be a very effective pitcher because he throws strikes and hits his spots and he also batted .328 last year with (19) hits. Ryder is a very good defensive shortstop/2nd baseman who can cover a lot of ground. He throws very hard off the mound (probably the hardest on the team) and can be very dominant when he's on. Ryder is also a very solid line drive hitter who can be a top of the line-up guy or a bottom of the order guy who can also cause havoc on the bases.
Alex Cianciaruso (North Andover, Ma) and Jaylon Richardson (Boxford, Ma) are two returning players from last years team who are going to be counted on to be very productive again in 2017. Alex won 7 games on the mound last year and was counted on to pitch in all the big games. In 48 innings Alex only walked 15 batters while striking out 49 so he will be counted on once again to be a top of the rotation starter. Jaylon has looked tremendous so far during the winter workouts so the expectations for him this year are very high. He is hitting balls very hard during practices and looks very consistent with his bat control so he might be a great lead-off hitter or a table setter for the top of the order. Jaylon is the fastest kid on the team so we are expecting a lot of stolen bases this year from him along with some great defense in the outfield.
The new comers this year are Benjamin Thompson (Winchendon, Ma), Jaiden LeDuc (Lowell, Ma), Zack Webber (South Hamilton, Ma) and Dylan Cole (Middleton, Ma). "Picking up Ben and Jaiden were so big for this team, this team needed a strong catcher and we got lucky and picked up two very good catchers who can hit the ball a long way. These two guys are huge impact players who love the game and are going to be a huge part of this team offensively and defensively. They hammer balls so adding them to the mix puts this team over the top. I can not wait to watch these two guys play this spring it's going to be great to see them on our team this year" says Coach Rusty. Zack is a big kid who has made the most improvements on this team so far this winter. He can hit the ball a mile and is a hard throwing righty who is going to be exciting to watch play and grow throughout the year. We are very high on him and we hope he turns into the player we know he can be. Dylan is a small scrappy player who has great bat speed and will be one of the dirt dogs on this team. We expect him to be the spark plug in the field and on the bases, he can play any position and he has great bat control so he will be a pest with the bat.
Rusty Tucker will be the head coach for the 11U Prospect Team in 2017. Rusty played 9 years of Professional Baseball with 5 different organizations and has a career 151-33 record with Legends Baseball. Ryan Florence will be the assistant coach for the 2nd year in a row with this team.
The 2017 Legends 13U Prospect Team on paper looks like the most dominate and unstoppable team that we have had in our 11 year history. The size of this team, the power, the experience and the depth of the pitching staff makes this a very dangerous team to play. "I do not see any easy outs on this team, we have some big time players that project very well for the next level so I'm really excited to see how this all plays out. This team had a record of 50-8 last year as 12 year olds and we added 5 impact players to an already stacked team" says head coach Mike Costantino.
Eric Wing (Georgetown, Ma), Colin Lemieux (Warwick, RI) and Tom McAndrews (Haverhill, Ma) are 3 guys that figure to be right in the middle of things offensively. All 3 of these guys are big strong kids that are going to put up huge numbers. Eric was the MVP of the 12U Prospect Team last year with a (.583) batting average, (81) hits, (23)HR's and (70) RBI's. He also won 9 games on the mound while striking out 96 batters in 63 innings. Colin is 5'11, weighs 170 and is one of the most talented 13 year old players in the country. He led his RI Little League Team to the Little League World Series last year and will be a force on the big diamond this year. "I've been coaching this level for a few years now and he is one of the best I've ever seen for his age. He has the size, bat speed and arm strength and is a very coach able kid that is learning and getting better at each practice." says coach Mike.
Tom is another big bopper who is 5'10 and weights 200 pounds and figures to be right in the middle of that line-up. He is a pure hitter that will hit for power and average. He has such a smooth swing with great bat speed and the ball jumps off his bat on every swing. Tom can play multiple positions which makes him very valuable as a player.
Ryan Hutchinson (Hamilton, Ma), Luke McClintock (Hamilton, Ma) and Ashton St. Piere (New Durham, NH) will add lots of power, solid pitching and great defense to this team. Ryan is a huge pick up for this team, he is a 5'11 left handed hitting 3rd baseman that is a serious prospect. His hand eye coordination is off the charts and can hit for average and power. He is a tremendous defensive 3rd baseman and I would be surprised if there is anyone better defensively in the league. Ryan also will be one of the front line pitchers. Luke who had a solid 2016 season with a (.448) batting average, (60) hits and (57) RBI's and also won 9 games on the mound and struck out 78 batters in 49 innings. Luke is 5'7 and throws very hard and when he is on he's going to be very tough to beat on the mound. Ashton was one of the best pitchers in the EBL last year so adding this lefty pitcher to this team is equivalent to the Boston Red Sox adding Chris Sale. He is an ace that can dominate and take over the game each and every time he steps on the mound and he will also add a big lefty bat to the line up.
JR Bozek (Danville, NH), Roman Ercoli (Concord, Ma), Payton Palladino (Danvers, Ma) and Peter Martin (Manchester, Ma) are 4 guys that can play any infield position and also play the outfield if needed. These guys are all very solid baseball players that bring a lot to the table on a daily basis. JR will be one of the catchers on this team but will also play infield, outfield and will pitch when needed. Roman will be another guy that can play any infield position along with the outfield. Last year he had 10 wins on the mound and is expected to be a top of the rotation guy again this year along with being a big contributor with the bat. "Roman is a big piece to this team and we need him to have another strong year" says coach Mike. Payton is a solid 2nd baseman who can also play the outfield. He had a tremendous season last year hitting (12) HR's, (78) hits and (16) doubles. He is a smaller guy that squares up the ball on a consistent basis and hits balls very hard all the time. Peter can play all infield positions and will be counted on to put up big numbers on the mound. He won 10 games pitching last year by throwing strikes, mixing up his pitches and being able to shut down the running game. Peter is a contact hitter who can put pressure on the defense with his base running ability.
Michael Tonelli (Shrewsbury, Ma), James Carmilia (Danvers, Ma) and Chase Eary (Danvers, Ma) round out the 13U Prospect Team. Michael is a big strong kid that I think will hit very well on the big diamond. He can play 3rd base and the OF and will be a threat on the bases. "I think Michael will have a break out year offensively, he's looked really good so far during the winter practices" says coach Mike. James is a solid outfielder that can also pitch when needed. He can hit balls very hard and a long way and will be a big addition to this team. Chase Eary will be one of the catchers and can play all the outfield positions. He is a lefty bat that had a solid year last year hitting (14) HR's, (46) RBI's and (42) SB's. All 3 of these guys are big strong kids that are very athletic and should be big contributors to this team.
The 13U Prospect schedule is going to be very demanding in 2017 with this team playing between 65-70 games. They will be participating in the NYBC Qualifier in NY, Perfect Game Super 25 in NY, Perfect Game Super 25 at the NEBC. They will also be playing in two week long invite events including Perfect Game World Series in Georgia and the Perfect Game BCS in Ft Myers, Florida. This team will also be playing in a few local tournaments at the New England Baseball Complex along with the Legends Top 15 Tournament. The assistant coach will be Thomas Cadmus (Powder) who was the assistant with these guys last year as 12 years old. He is a very young, dedicated and energetic coach who will become a head coach for the first time in the 2018 season after one more year as an assistant. "I'm excited to have Thomas as my assistant this year and I feel like he will learn a lot from me and get the necessary experience so he can run his own team in 2018." says coach Mike.
“Strong pitching, power hitting and a solid defense is what best explains the make-up of the 12U Legends Prospect Team” says Coach Dave Costantino who will once again coach the 12U Prospect Team for the 2017 season along with assistant coach Jim Mitchell. Last year this team had a record of 45-9 with 4 Tournament Championships including winning the Perfect Game Super 25 Regional Tournament and the Ripken Regional Tournament in Aberdeen Maryland.
The “BIG THREE” will be expected to put up huge numbers once again. Payton Manca (Winchendon, MA) who led the EBL last season in almost every offensive category including HR's (13), Hits (80), RBI’s (70) and doubles (15) will once again be one of the top hitters in New England. Payton is a huge presence in the box, batting left handed and standing 5'9. The 2nd member of the big three is Vaughn O’Leary (Essex, MA) who is another lefty who stands 5'8 and earned the nickname (Mr. Clutch) last season with multiple game winning walk of HR’s including his two magical walk off HR’s in both the semi-finals and championship games during the Perfect Game Super 25 Regional Tournament. Vaughn was also at the top of the list in last year’s EBL offensive categories including HR's (10), Hits (74), RBI’s (58) and doubles (12). When he is not hitting HR's he will be at the top of the rotation once again after going 7-2 last year. Wrapping up the BIG THREE is Thomas White (Rowley, MA) who was the top pitcher in EBL’s 2016 season with 12 Wins (1st), 1.24 ERA (1st) and 89 K’s (1st). Thomas is the ACE of the staff and is expected to be lights out once again on the mound. Thomas is 5'9 lefty hitter who we project to be another power guy who had tremendous offensive numbers during the 2016 season.
Jimmy Mitchell (Southborough, MA), Connor McClintock (Hamilton-Wenham, MA) and Teo Spadaccini (Lexington, MA) are three solid defensive players who can swing the bat. Jimmy is hands down one of the best shortstops in New England and is considered the back bone to this team. We need him once again to play at a high level both offensively and defensively for us to be successful. He also put up some great hitting numbers last year with (7) HR’s, (11) doubles and (39) SB’s. Connor and Teo will be key defensive players who also should have solid offensive numbers. Connor is a left handed contact hitter who can lead off, bat 2nd or be a bottom of the order guy and is very disruptive on the bases. Teo is another guy who can bat anywhere in the line-up who had (12) doubles, (31) RBI's and (23) SB's last year.
Fletcher Waterman (Wenham, MA), Ben Kuechle (Lexington, MA) and Ryan Chandor (Weston, MA) are the remaining members of last year’s great squad. Fletcher is a solid catcher who is great at blocking and has a quick release with a strong arm. Ben had a .386 average with (8) 2B’s and (2) HR’s last year. Ryan who is a solid outfielder hit .373 with (8) 2B’s and (24) RBI’s. These three players already have been working very hard during the winter and we expect all 3 guys to have solid seasons.
The new additions to this already stacked team are John Curran (Danvers, MA), Joseph Ayala (Haverhill, MA) and Max Vieira (Gloucester, MA). John who is another 5’8 monster and in my opinion will be the surprise of the league this year. “I'm very confident he will be one of the better hitters on our team and in the EBL this year” says coach Dave. “He hits the ball very hard and I'm really excited to see how many HR's he will hit”. John is also a huge pick up for this team on the mound where he is projected to be one of the starters this year. Joseph is a well-polished lefty pitcher who should be at the top of the pitching rotation for us. He is a hard throwing 5'6 lefty who has great command and our expectations are very high for him this year. "If he pitchers well like I think he can then the sky is the limit for this team. Rounding up this team is Max who is another very good defensive catcher who is also a solid infielder. He is another big strong kid who can add a lot to this team with his bat and his size.
The schedule for this team will include 8 tournaments including 2 Perfect Game Events. We made our schedule as demanding as possible because we have such a strong team. This team will be participating in the Perfect Game Super 25 Regional Tournament and have already been accepted to play in the Perfect Game National Tournament in Ft. Myers, Florida which is a week long event that will feature the best teams in the country. This team will also be traveling to New Jersey for the Diamond Nation Regional Tournament and Aberdeen Maryland for the Ripken Regional Tournament. Rounding up the tournament schedule is NEBC Spring Classic, Legends Top 24 Tournament, EBL Playoffs and Summer Series at the NEBC Complex.
Big expectations, high standards, huge goals and lots of pressure to win are just a few words that describe what it's like to play for a Legends Prospect Team. Entering its 10th year as a program in 2016 the talent level for all Legends Prospect Teams were off the charts with very good players coming from all across New England to play for this powerhouse program. With a very tough and demanding schedule, the pressure to win, and knowing you will face every teams best pitcher all year long is very attractive for the best players to come play for Legends. To play this type of schedule year in and year out and to surround yourself with the best players on a daily basis makes our players battle tested and very attractive recruits for college coaches.
Every year we sit down as a staff after tryouts and see how it is possible to top what we had accomplished the previous season. With no surprise we did just that. Legends had its first two players get drafted. Brandon Bingel (Legends Hall Of Famer) was drafted by the Pittsburg Pirates and Patrick Rotolo was drafted by the San Francisco Giants. We also had numerous Colleges commitments including Shane Smith (who had dominated on the mound for us since he was 10 years old) committed to Wake Forest. We also will get to see the final season for Danny Ryan who will be playing his 10th season for Legends this spring/summer before he heads off to pitch for Northeastern University.
As a program, Legends Prospects achieved 3 National Championships, 3 Regional Championships and 13 Local Championships during the 2016 Season. We had 3 Teams win the Perfect Game Super 25 Regional Championship Tournament and receive automatic bids to play in the Perfect Game Nationals in Georgia and Florida. The 12U Prospect Team was able to represent New England down in Fort Myers, FL in their National Tournament. 12U Legends Prospects (who are ranked #13 in the country by Perfect Game) defeated the Banditos out of TX (Ranked #6 in the country) and Evo Shield Canes out of NC (Ranked #7 in the country) down in FL. All of our teams had tremendous records but here are a few that stood out. Our 14U Prospects set a new Legends record with the most wins in a season with a record of 64 wins and 9 loses. Our 13U Prospects finished the season with a 58 wins, 9 loses while our 12U Prospects had an impressive record of 50 wins, 8 loses. The 11U Prospects had 45 wins with only 9 loses and our 10U Prospects had a 30 win season with only 10 losses. The Bar is set very high for the upcoming 2017 season.
The Legends 12U Prospects will be representing New England in the Perfect Game National Championship in Ft. Myers, Florida. In order to represent New England, a team must compete and win in their Regional Tournament called the Perfect Game Super 25 Tournament. With 24 teams in the pool the Legends were the last team standing by winning 6 straight games to become the Perfect Game Super 25 Champions. “I am very proud of this team and the season they have had so far. Most parents and players really do not understand how hard it is to win any type of tournament never mind a Perfect Game Super 25 Tournament. You need great pitching, solid defense, timely hitting and some luck. For this team to win 3 out of 3 Tournaments so far is unbelievable.” says Legends Coach Dave Costantino.
In Pool Play, it was all about the Legends pitching and defense vs the Connecticut Capitals in game #1. Peter Martin cruised on the mound pitching 6 scoreless innings allowing only 1 hit with 10 strike outs. Peter had help in the first inning when Calvin Tryder hit a towering shot that hit the top of the fence with bases loaded to score 2 runs. Roman Ercoli added a clutch 2 out single to drive in another 2 runs. The Legends won 4-0 in game 1.
Game #2 pretty much was the same story as game #1 with great pitching and timely hitting. JR Bozek threw his second no hitter of the season by pitching 6 scoreless innings allowing no hits with 1 walk and 7 strike outs. Chase Eary had a nice solo home run and Joe Kotwicki added 2 hits. The Legends defeated the Fury 4-0 in game 2.
To wrap up pool play the Prospects beat the Blackstone Valley Spinners 5-2 to become the #1 seed going into the single elimination format. Calvin Tryder picked up the win pitching 4 1/3 innings allowing on 2 runs with 6 strike outs. Joe Kotwicki came in to close the door collecting the save while Payton Palladino hit a huge home run to give the Legends some breathing room.
With the #1 Seed in hand the Legends again face the Connecticut Capitals in the Quarter Finals. Roman Ercoli was lights out on the mound throwing 5 scoreless innings allowing only 1 hit. Payton Palladino led off the game with a towering home run and that sparked the offense as the Legends caught fire scoring 9 runs early. Eric Wing and Calvin Tryder both added monster home runs. Joe Kotwicki and Chase Eary also added doubles. The Legends moved on to the Semi Finals by winning 9-0.
The Semi Final game was one of the most intense games of the season against the South Troy Dodgers out of NY. The Legends once again had to lean on their ace Eric Wing to get them to the Championship Game. Eric was outstanding on the mound throwing 4 scoreless innings allowing no hits with 4 strike outs. The Legends struck first in the bottom of the 3rd inning with 2 outs scoring on a wild pitch. The play of the game was in the bottom of the 4th inning with 2 outs and man on 3rd base, JR Bozek hit a shot out of the park to increase their lead to 3. “That was a huge clutch hit that change the game.” said Dave. The Legends offense came alive after that home run scoring 7 runs including another home run by Calvin Tryder to end the game by mercy rule. The Legends won 8-0 to advance to the Championship.
In the Championship game against the NE Storm the Prospects came out swinging scoring 5 runs in the first inning with 3 straight hits by Payton Palladino, Joe Kotwicki and Eric Wing. Calvin Tryder followed up with a two run bomb and Roman Ercoli added a solo shot. In the second inning the Legends put up a 7 spot with hits by Peter Martin, Jermey Lopez, Payton and Roman. Mike Tonelli added a walk and run scored while Eric Wing hit a double. Calvin Tryder hit his second home run of the game adding 3 more RBI’s to his total. Luke McClintock picked up the win pitching 4 strong innings collecting 6 strike outs and looked very impressive on the mound. "To get to the championship game and having a guy like Luke left to pitch is deflating for the other team." says Dave. The Legends defeated the Storm 14-5 to become the Perfect Game Super 25 Champions.
To win 6 baseball games in 2 days is a great accomplishment for any baseball team no matter how good your team is. You need to have a deep pitching staff some clutch hitting and a little bit of luck. The Legends had the deepest pitching staff in the tournament and displayed some of the best clutch hitting ever put together by a Legends team by winning 6 games in 2 days and hitting walk off home runs in both the Semi-Finals and Finals to take home the title.
The Legends started the journey off with a 14-4 win over Team AB Elite in a mercy rule 4 inning game. Payton Manca and Thomas White each had 3 hits while Jimmy Mitchell, Jake Desmarias and Vaughn O'Leary added 2 hits apiece. Vaughn and Jimmy also added HR's while Ben Kuechle picked up the win on the mound pitching all 4 innings striking out 5.
In game #2 the Legends jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first few innings and never looked back to win 11-3 over the JR Gulls. Teo Spadaccini pitched all 5 innings while striking out 8. Teo also added 2 hits on the offensive side while Ryan Chandor, Jimmy Mitchell and Connor McClintock each added 2 hits apiece.
In the final pool play game the Legends beat the Mass Hurricanes 15-0 in 3 innings. Zach Morris led the offense with an opposite field Home Run. Fletcher Waterman added a double while picking up the win on the mound and Josiah Martinez had a big Sac Fly to drive in a run. Ben Kuechle added 2 hits and Thomas White had 3 RBI's.
After pool play the Legends received the #1 seed going into the single elimination round. The first round the Legends outlasted the Northeast Gators by winning 3-1. The story of the game was Zach Morris who pitched all 6 innings striking out 5 and walking 0. The offense found a way to score 3 runs and that was all that was needed with Zach on the mound.
In the Semi-Finals the Legends got matched up against a scrappy CT Capitals team. Trailing by 2 runs going into the bottom of the 6th inning the Legends leadoff hitter Jimmy Mitchell got a base hit to set up a 2 run Home Run by Vaughn O'Leary to deep center to tie the game up. The very next pitch Payton Manca hit a deep walk off Home Run to win the game to center field that sent the Legends to the Championship Game. "Those two Home Runs were as clutch as I've ever seen any Home Run at any age level, with that much pressure on the line to see both Payton and Vaughn come through like that was amazing. I knew we were going to win the next game there was no way we weren't." says Legends Coach Rusty Tucker.
The Championship Game featured the #1 seed Legends vs the #2 seed Adirondack Heat from NY and this game lived up to the hype. The Heat struck first, hitting a 2 Run Home Run in the top of the 1st inning. The Legends responded quickly in the bottom of the 1st with a Payton Manca 2 Run Home Run to tie the game. The Legends then took at 3-2 lead going into the 4th inning. The Heat then responded by scoring 2 runs to take the lead 4-3 and then added another run in the top of the 5th to take a commanding 5-3 lead heading into the last inning. In the bottom of the 6th the comeback kids started the inning off with a Payton Manca solo Home Run to cut the lead to 1. Ryan Chandor kept it going with a single then he stole 2nd base to set up Connor McClintocks clutch hit to tie the game. After failing to score again in the bottom of the 6th inning the Legends and Heat needed one more inning to crown a champion. The Legends ace Thomas White shut down the Heat in the top of the 7th inning to set up the heroics in the bottom of the 7th. With 2 outs and no one on base Vaughn O'Leary hit a Walk Off Home Run to deep left center field to send the Legends fans and players storming the field for the win. The Legends now will receive the automatic bid to play in the Perfect Game 25 tournament in Ft. Myers, Florida for a week long trip for the National Championship.