Dixie takes title in one-run victory

AABC takes third place at Tournament of Stars

June 22, 2008

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CARY, North Carolina -- Dixie raced to an early 3-0 advantage then held off NABF the rest of the way for a 3-2 victory June 22 to capture the gold medal of the 16th Annual USA Baseball Tournament of Stars presented by Major League Baseball.

The eight-team tournament, which showcased 144 of the nation's elite age 18-and-under high school and college athletes, concluded June 22 with the medal games and consolation-round play at Thomas Brooks Park at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

Dixie, which finished as the tournament's only unbeaten team with a 5-0 record, used extra base hits to break open a scoreless game in the third inning. After a one-out single by LeVon Washington (INF; Gainesville, Fla.), who had two hits, Donavan Tate (OF; Cartersville, Ga.) followed one out later with an RBI triple. Tate then scored on a run-scoring double by Colton Cain (INF; Waxahachie, Texas), who also registered two hits on the day, for a 2-0 Dixie lead A solo home run by Tyler Austin (INF; Conyers, Ga.) gave Dixie a 3-0 lead in the fourth. NABF (3-2) rallied with a pair of runs in the fifth to close its deficit to 3-2. But with two out and the bases loaded, Dixie pitcher Anthony Figliolia (RHP; Winter Springs, Fla.) came in to record a strikeout to end the NABF threat. NABF stranded 11 runners and left the bases full in the third and fifth innings. Dixie starter Zach Dotson (LHP; Springfield, Ga.) allowed five hits over four scoreless innings while teammate Patrick Schuster (LHP; Holiday, Fla.) fanned seven in three innings of relief to earn a save. Ethan Bright (INF; Batesville, Miss.) and DJ Hicks (INF; Altamonte Springs, Fla.) each notched two hits with Bright knocking in a run for NABF.

In the other June 22 games, AABC overcome a 2-0 deficit with three runs in the fifth inning en route to a 5-2 victory against PONY to capture the bronze medal. In the fifth place game, Babe Ruth pitchers did not allow a hit until the eighth inning in a 6-0 blanking of the USA Stars. In the seventh-place contest, Zach Wilson (INF; Long Beach, Calif.) blasted a one-out solo home run in the fourth inning to propel RBI past the American Legion 1-0.

PONY (2-3) held a 2-0 lead entering the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to a two-run double by Mitch Haniger (OF; Santa Clara, Calif.) in the fourth inning. But AABC (3-2) took the lead for good with a three-run fifth highlighted by RBI singles from Michael Vargas (OF; Hawthorne, N.J.) and Mike Trout (INF; Millville, N.J.). PONY threatened late in the game but stranded 11 base runners, including two in each of the final three innings. AABC's Jacob Turner (RHP; St. Charles, Mo.) and Eric Pfisterer (LHP; Saddle River, N.J.) combined for 5.2 scoreless innings of relief. Haniger, along with Corey Thompson (INF; Apex, N.C.) and Bobby Borchering (INF; Alva, Fla.), netted two hits apiece for PONY, which outhit AABC 9-6.

Babe Ruth (3-2) avenged an earlier 3-2 pool play loss to the Stars (2-3) by scoring all of it runs in the first three innings. A bases-load, two-run single by Clay Cederquist (INF; Fresno, Calif.), who had three of Babe Ruth's nine hits, ignited a four-run first inning. Teammate Jiovanni Mier (INF; Pomona, Calif.) added two hits. Meanwhile, Babe Ruth starter Trevor Bauer (RHP; Valencia, Calif.) tossed six innings of hitless ball and whiffed 11. Ryan Levine (C; Hackensack, N.J.) singled to right field for the Stars' first hit with two out in the eighth inning. Robert Refsnyder (OF; Laguna Hills, Calif.) notched the Stars' other base hit in the ninth.

RBI (1-4) managed just two hits against the American Legion (1-4) but one of those was Wilson's game-winning homer. RBI preserved the victory with solid pitching and defense. RBI hurlers Garrett Gould (RHP; Wichita, Kan.), Shawn O'Neill (LHP; Philadelphia, Pa.) and Alex De La Cruz (RHP; Anasco, Puerto Rico) combined to limit the Legion to six hits while striking out nine. Defensively, RBI rightfielder Reggie Golden (OF; Wetumpka, Ala.) gunned out a Legion base runner at the plate who was trying to score the potential tying run from second base on a base hit to end the game. Three Legion pitchers - T.J. Oakes (RHP; Jordan, Minn.), Kenneth Giles (RHP; Albuquerque, N.M.) and Michael Dedrick (RHP; Cedar City, Utah) teamed up to fan 12.

The Tournament of Stars serves as part of the player selection process for the USA Baseball 18U National Team, which competes annually in international competition. At the conclusion of the tournament, 32 players were invited to participate in the 18U National Team Trials, which will be conducted July 10-17 in Phoenix, Ariz. From that group, a final 18-player roster will be chosen for the 2008 18U National Team, which will then compete in the International BAseball Federation's "AAA" World Junior Championships July 25-Aug 3 in Edmonton, Canada.

USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The organization selects and trains the United States Olympic Baseball Team (and all other USA Baseball professional teams), the USA Baseball National Team (collegiate); the USA Baseball 18U, 16U, and 14U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women's National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year.