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Pinto 8U National Championship 2017

Dates: July 20-22
Mt. Vernon, Illinois

It was a sensational second annual Pinto 8U National Championship at Cusumano Sports Complex in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, as 70 games were played in a matter of three days, featuring teams from PONY's East, North and Caribbean Zones. But after overcoming a 12-11 pool play loss to 2016 finalist Washington, Pennsylvania, Chesterfield, Virginia won four-consecutive games, including a 14-3 victory in the championship game of the championship bracket to win the Pinto 8U 2017 National Championship.

Championship Game recap: Chesterfield, Virginia 14 Lexington, Kentucky 3

Lexington entered the championship game undefeated with four final day wins by six runs or more, while Chesterfield overcame a competitive 10-7 first championship bracket match against Aruba, to then beat Summerfield, North Carolina by 10 runs, to meet up with Lexington for the title. Chesterfield started off the game with a proverbial bang, as Matthew Hartsfield led off the game with a double and Braeden Shores advanced him to third base on a single. Cason Chambers knocked in Hartsfield with a single to left to make the score 1-0, and then a Grayson Morris single scored Shores from second. Jackson Bunn crushed a double to centerfield, scoring Chambers and Morris also beat the throw home to increase Chesterfield's lead to 4-0. Three-consecutive outs then ended the inning.

Lexington went down in order in the first, but cut into the Chesterfield lead in the second when Duncan Sweet scored Donovan Griggs on a ground out (4-1). In the top of the third, the Chesterfield bats once again came alive, as a leadoff triple by Shores resulted in a run when Chambers hit a sacrifice fly to right field (5-1). Morris singled and then scored on a Bunn triple that was hit hard down the third base line (6-1). Virginia's Thomas Lipscomb, Jr. grounded out to Kentucky's pitcher Jaxson Leugers, but Bunn beat the throw home to score the last run of the inning (7-1). 

Chesterfield continued to add to its lead in the top of the fourth, when Shores came through, once again, singling home Matthew Thompson to make it 8-1 Virginia. Chambers scored Hartsfield during his next at-bat, a ground ball single through the infield, completing the scoring for the inning (9-1 Chesterfield). Lexington showed life in the bottom on the fourth when Luis Alejandro Zamora led off the inning with a double and Griggs moved him to third with a single, but a double play on a fly out to center field and then a ground out ended the Lexington scoring threat.

Six-consecutive Chesterfield singles, a triple and then another single by Shores led to a 14-1 Chesterfield lead, putting the 10-run rule into effect and giving Lexington one last half inning to score at least four runs. The "Southwest Stampede" showed toughness and relentless grit at the plate, but base running cost them during their potential comeback. Benjamin McFadden led of the inning with a single, but was thrown out at second after the next at-bat, when Grant Evans hit a tweener pop fly single into the shallow outfield. Leugers then singled to center, but he was caught during his run to second base on a ground ball single by Brayden Fitch to third base. Stephen Franklin-Key, IV hit a clutch double to center field, scoring both Evans and Fitch to make it 14-3 Chesterfield, but Asher Gatewood's line out to second secured the Virginia victory and fireworks exploded in the outfield.

As is the case often in coach pitch Pinto play, offense was the name of the game, as both teams combined for 31 hits in the contest. Six Chesterfield batters recorded multi-hit games, and three hitters had multi-RBI in the team's first Pinto 8U National Championship.

STATS: click here.

Following the conclusion of the tournament, PONY tournament officials nominated the following players to the Pinto 8U National Championship All-Tournament Team. Each player received a trophy for their tournament accomplishments:

2017 Pinto 8U National Championship All-Tournament Team
Ayvari Chandler - Washington, Pennsylvania
Marcus Davis - Lawrenceville, Illinois
Jaxton Dees - Waltonville, Illinois
Jaxton Faulkenberry - Herrin, Illinois
Eli Fleming - Murphysboro, Illinois
Asher Gatewood - Lexington, Kentucky
Abran Girten - Carmi, Illinois
Riley Gladwell - Summerfield, North Carolina
Brady Haines - Odin, Illinois
Joshua Harris - Suffolk, Virginia
Luis Hernandez - Bronx, New York
Irvine Maximilian - Aruba
Alexander Meece - Whiteland, Indiana
Grayson Morris - Chesterfield, Virginia
Colin Poat - Paducah, Kentucky
Logan Shelton - Sparta, Illinois
Jaxon Simmons - Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Abrahan Vizcaino - Dominican Republic
Garyson Webb - Vienna, Illinois
Lane Wells - Olney, Illinois


Chesterfield, Virginia - Pinto 8U National Champions

Lexington, Kentucky - Pinto 8U National Finalists

Suffolk, Virginia - Pinto 8U National Third Place Team

Summerfield, North Carolina - Pinto 8U National Fourth Place Team

Carmi, Illinois - Pinto 8U National Consolation Champions

Paducah, Kentucky - Pinto 8U National Consolation Finalists

Whiteland, Indiana - Pinto 8U National Consolation Third Place Team

Murphysboro, Illinois - Pinto 8U National Consolation Fourth Place Team

Final Tournament Scores (links)

The Pinto 8U National Championship will be returning to Mt. Vernon, Illinois in 2018. If interested in participating, please contact PONY North Zone Vice President Steve Miller at [email protected]

Mustang-9 World Series 2017

Dates: July 27-30
Location: Walnut, California

West Zone Champion Los Alamitos, California used its high-powered offense to its advantage at the Mustang-9 World Series in Walnut, California. In four games, the Los Alamitos offense averaged 13 runs a game behind a lineup that hit over .400 for the tournament, giving the pitching staff plenty of run support to secure four wins. A five-run bottom of the fourth inning propelled the team to victory over Navajoa, Sonora, Mexico in the championship game 12-6. The title marked Los Alamitos' first and the state of California's fourth since the Mustang-9 World Series' inception in 2014.


Championship game recap: Los Alamitos, California 12 Navajoa, Sonora, Mexico 6

After Navajoa, Sonora took down Host Walnut, California 7-5 in an "if necessary" Game #14 grudge match Sunday morning, the Mexico Zone Champions were prepared to use that momentum to propel them to victory over undefeated West Zone Champion Los Alamitos, California in the championship game of the Mustang-9 World Series Sunday afternoon. Thanks to a five-run, fourth inning rally in which California was able to do most of its damage with two outs, Los Alamitos came away victorious 12-6 to win the 2017 Mustang-9 World Series title.

Navajoa started off hot in the top of the first inning, as Jose Duarte led off the game by reaching on third strike wild pitch, he stole second and was cashed in on Emiliano Ibarra's triple to center field. Ibarra scored on the next at-bat to Franco Mendoza on a passed ball, completing the scoring in the inning (2-0 Navajoa). Los Alamitos got a run back in the bottom of the first, when Easton Shortle recorded an RBI ground out that scored Andrew Slevcove.

The West Zone Champions took the lead in the bottom of the second thanks to a few miscues by Mexico. Cruz D'Errico was hit by a pitch and he stole second base. Ryan Hurley reached on an error, advancing D'Errico to third, and D'Errico scored on a Gram Ludwig bunt single. Mexico then made the move to bring in Fausto Barreras, but Hurley would score on a passed ball. Slevcove then grounded out, scoring Ludwig. Noah Johnson, who walked earlier in the inning scored on another passed ball to complete the scoring for the inning (5-2 Los Alamitos).

But the Mexico Zone Champions battled right back in the top of the third, cutting the deficit to just a run. Duarte reached base on a fielder's choice and later scored on Mendoza's double to left field. Jonathan Mariscales hit a blooper to left to score Mendoza, but Navajoa could not add on further (5-4 Los Alamitos).

The momentum pendulum swung in Los Alamitos' favor in the bottom of the fourth, ultimately changing the complexion of the game. Johnson started the rally with a RBI single, which scored Hurley. After a pop out, the inning looked lost, but Wyatt Leitner rose to the occasion with a double, which scored Johnson, and then Shortle doubled home Leitner to make it 8-4 Los Alamitos. Nicholas Galluccio singled and stole second. Then, pinch hitter John Shelley slammed a line drive double to left field to score both Shortle and Gallucio (10-4 Los Alamitos).

Navajoa had a chance to retaliate, when it had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the fifth, but Barreras hit into a double play, which ended the scoring threat. Los Alamitos picked up two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth, when Ludwig recorded a two-RBI double, which scored D'Errico and Hurley (12-4 Los Alamitos).

Mexico made one last effort to make a comeback when it scored two in the top of the sixth off back-to-back RBI singles by Ibarra and Mendoza, but another double play ended the inning and the game by the final score of 12-6.

Four Los Alamitos players recorded two hits in the contest. Three players scored multiple runs and collected multiple RBI. For Navajoa, the two, three and four hitters did the most damage during the afternoon, as Ibarra, Mendoza and Mariscales garnered eight of the teams 10 hits. The trio also recorded five RBI and two runs scored.

Los Alamitos' Brady McKay was awarded the tournament's Batting Champion award. Over the four-day tournament, McKay led the Mustang-9 World Series with a .667 batting average.

McKay alongside West Zone, NorCal Division, Northeast Region Director Rob Lindsey

STATS (Los Alamitos-Navajoa): HERE



Mustang-9 World Series Champion: Los Alamitos, California

Mustang-9 World Series Finalist: Navajoa, Sonora, Mexico 

Mustang World Series 2017

Dates: Aug. 3-6
Youngsville, Louisiana

In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the game tied at five, Lincoln Daly connected with a ball that was driven deep to center field for a walk off home run to defeat North Zone Champion Chicago (AFCA), Illinois. Daly's Game #8 game-winner sparked his West Zone Champion Santa Clarita (Wm. S. Hart), California team, as it went on to win two more games, including another battle against Chicago, en route to Santa Clarita's fifth Mustang World Series title. The Californians defeated their neighbors to the south, Mexico Zone Champion Tijuana, Baja California 11-1 in the championship game. Like their counterparts from Los Alamitos, who won the Mustang-9 World Series, offense proved to be the difference, as Santa Clarita averaged just over 16 runs per game, while batting over .400 as a team.


Championship Game recap: Santa Clarita (Wm. S. Hart), California 11 Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico 1

After finally putting away the team that gave it the best competition all tournament long (Chicago, AFCA, Illinois) in the semifinals Saturday (Aug. 5), West Zone Champion Santa Clarita (Wm. S. Hart), California finished its undefeated run at the 2017 Mustang World Series by defeating Mexico Zone Champion Tijuana, Baja California 11-1 in the championship game Sunday (Aug. 6).

It is Santa Clarita's fifth Mustang World Series title overall, and it's first since the program went back-to-back in 2010-11. The team's 2017 title represents California's second-consecutive and California's sixth in the last eight years.

Tijuana was able to strike first, when in the bottom of the second, Rene Rodriguez walked, stole second, stole third and scored when a called third strike got by Santa Clarita's catcher to make it 1-0.

But the Mexico lead didn't last for long, when, with two outs in the top of the third, Ryan De La Maza hit an RBI single to right, scoring Landon Hu. Then, James Bacon singled to center and scored De La Maza, making it 2-1 California. 

Tijuana had a great chance to counter in the bottom of the fourth, when a strikeout ended the inning with runners on the corners.

Santa Clarita broke the game open in the top of the fifth thanks to a two-out rally started by De La Maza. Bacon doubled, scoring De La Maza. Tajveer Brar walked and Aidan Buntich singled to load the bases. Then, Michael Hogen cashed the two runners in scoring position in and advanced Buntich to third, making it 5-1 California. Buntich scored on a passed ball during Dominick Zambrano's next at-bat, and he knocked in Hogen from third to give the West Zone Champions a 7-1 lead. Hunter Manning's RBI double completed the scoring for the inning, as all of the game's momentum was now on Santa Clarita's side.

Unfortunately, Mexico couldn't get any momentum back, as three-straight ground outs ended the bottom of the fifth. Santa Clarita then scored three in the top of the sixth, thanks to an RBI single by, who else, but De La Maza. Bacon and Hogen also recorded RBIs on ground outs, as California controlled the game by an 11-1 score with Mexico having one last chance to score.

In the bottom of the sixth, Tijuana loaded the bases, but a strikeout ended the game (11-1).

Brar was sensational on the mound for Santa Clarita, as he pitched a complete game (six innings), allowing one unearned run on six hits and four walks, while striking out nine. At the plate, De La Maza finished the evening 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. Bacon also went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored.

STATS (Santa Clarita-Tijuana):

2017 Mustang World Series Champion: Santa Clarita (Wm. S. Hart), California

2017 Mustang World Series Finalist: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

2017 Mustang World Series ERA Award Winner: Tajveer Brar, Santa Clarita (Wm. S. Hart), California - 6.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 hits allowed, 4 BB, 9 K

Bronco-11 World Series 2017

Dates: July 27-30
Location: Chesterfield, Virginia

Offensive fireworks were on display at Harry G. Daniel Park at Ironbridge in Chesterfield, Virginia during the first day and a half days of play at the Bronco-11 World Series. In 10 of the tournament's first 12 games, the winner scored at least 10 runs. Three teams eventually rose to the top as contenders: defending Mustang World Series and West Zone Champion Simi Valley, California; East Zone Champion Western Branch (Chesapeake), Virginia; and North Zone representative AFCA (Chicago), Illinois. Despite, winning the first matchup of the tournament, Western Branch could not contain a red hot Simi Valley team that blazed through the loser's bracket and lost twice, back-to-back. The championship game between AFCA (Chicago) and Simi Valley was one for the ages. But thanks to a sizable early lead and tough defense down the stretch, AFCA was able to win the first-ever Bronco-11 World Series title for the North Zone (11-10) since the tournament was created in 2009.


Championship game recap: AFCA (Chicago), Illinois 11 Simi Valley, California 10

After beating Western Branch (Chesapeake), Virginia in a rematch Game #11 Sunday afternoon 13-4, West Zone Champion Simi Valley, California picked up steam beating the East Zone Champions once again in an "if necessary" Game #13 Sunday evening 9-7 to advance to the title game. In the lower region of the bracket, North Zone representative AFCA (Chicago), Illinois outlasted its competition, beating Mexico Zone Champion Tijuana, Baja California 10-5 in the semifinals Sunday afternoon to reach the finals of the Bronco-11 World Series against Simi Valley. 

AFCA got off to a solid start in the top of the second inning, when it scored five runs thanks to a Zion Rose three-run home run and a Robert Tate Jr. RBI single, which scored Amir Gray. Simi Valley combatted the deficit by scoring a run apiece in the second through fourth innings and quieting the AFCA bats.

But Chicago broke through once again in the top of the fifth, this time manufacturing three runs, and the squad appeared to take control of the game by the end of the top of the sixth, when it commanded an 11-3 lead. 

Simi Valley went to work in the bottom of the sixth, as the first three batters loaded up the bases, and then Trevor Hansen walked to score Noah Onoye. After a strikeout, Grant Rodriguez also walked to score Brady Francisco. Joseph Blank recorded a two-RBI single to score two more base runners, but the Californians ended the inning with strikeouts, unable to add on (11-7 AFCA).

AFCA left the bases stranded in the seventh, but a four-run advantage proved to be all the run support it needed going into the final frame.

Timothy Allison relieved Deion Johnson on the mound to close, and he got Onoye to ground out for the first out of the inning. But Francisco ignited his team thanks to a solo shot on the second pitch he saw from Allison to make it 11-8 (AFCA). Grayden Lucas then hit a single. Trevor Hansen doubled, scoring Lucas, and Hansen advanced to third on the throw. 

Allison recorded a strikeout, leaving his squad with a two-run lead and one out to get, to win the title. On the third pitch of the next at-bat, Hansen scored on a passed ball to get his team within a run, but Allison blew two strikes by to win the game 11-10 for AFCA.

AFCA's one, two and three-hitters of Rose, Gray and Tate Jr. combined to record 10 of the team's 13 hits on the night. The trio scored five runs and five RBI in the game. For Simi Valley, Blank paced his team with three hits, while four players recorded multiple runs scored in the game. Hansen and Blank each had two RBI.

The win secured AFCA's first-ever Bronco-11 World Series title. It was the first time that a team from PONY's North Zone has ever won the event since the tournament's inception in 2009.

Stats (AFCA-Simi Valley): HERE

Bronco-11 World Series Champions: Chicago (AFCA), Illinois

Bronco World Series 2017

Dates: Aug. 3-6
Location: Los Alamitos, California

Caribbean Zone Champion Levittown, Puerto Rico stole the show at the Bronco World Series in Los Alamitos, California. It's walk off 6-5 win in Game #8 over North Zone Champion Chicago (AFCA), Illinois proved to be Levittown's toughest battle, as each of Puerto Rico's other three wins ended in leads of 10 runs or more, including a 16-6 win over Mexico Zone Champion Tijuana, Baja California in the championship game. Levittown's offense carried the team, as it averaged nearly 16 runs per game. This year's title marked Levittown's fifth overall, first since 2005, and the nation of Puerto Rico's 12th, passing the state of California for most Bronco World Series titles won by a U.S. state or international country.


Championship Game recap: Levittown, Puerto Rico 16 Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico 6

Having already won its semifinal Saturday (Aug. 5), Caribbean Zone Champion Levittown, Puerto Rico had to wait to see who it would play in the championship game of the Bronco World Series Sunday afternoon. As the team waited, it witnessed Mexico Zone Champion Tijuana, Baja California defeat West Zone Champion Torrance California 38-3. Despite Tijuana's powerful offense going off in the semifinals, Levittown's proved to be better Sunday in the championship game, as Puerto Rico won 16-6.

The game was tied at four all heading into the top of the fifth inning, when Levittown finally broke through. Two singles and a groundout to start the inning placed two runners in scoring position, setting up Kristopher Rivera to cash them both in with a single to right field. Jose Rosa reached on an error during the next at-bat, giving Puerto Rico two more base runners. In a huge spot in the game, Alejandro Rodriguez broke the game open when he hit a three-run blast to center field to give his team a 9-4 lead.

Tijuana's Enrique Hernandez appeared to get his team right back in it, when he led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo shot to center (9-5), but after two Mexico hitters reached base by way of a single and a called third strike-passed ball, a strikeout and a groundout ended the team's chance of adding on.

Rivera followed up his two-RBI single in the fifth with an even more impressive feat in the sixth, as he crushed a ball to right field, scoring Jael Fines and Jesus Fortis, making it 12-5 Levittown. The two teams traded home runs in the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh. Tijuana's Hector Najera Rivera hit a solo home run to center (12-6), and Fortis hit a two-run bomb to center, after Harry Gomez scored on an error, making the game 16-6 for Puerto Rico.

Three-straight outs in the bottom of the seventh ended the game.

Both teams combined to hit nine home runs in the championship game. Rivera fell one RBI short of tying a Bronco World Series record, set by fellow Puerto Ricans Luis Oneill of Bayamon (1998) and Kevin Ortiz of Caguas (2009) with six total in the championship game, which led the team. Puerto Rico cranked out 16 runs on 13 hits in the game.

Mexico was marred by 10 strikeouts at the plate and five errors in the field.

The 2017 Bronco World Series title represents Levittown's fifth overall and first since 2005. Puerto Rico has now won the Caribbean Zone 12 Bronco World Series titles, the most of any U.S. state or international country who has participated in the event.

STATS (Levittown-Tijuana): LINK

2017 Bronco World Series Champion: Levittown, Puerto Rico

2017 Bronco World Series Finalist: 
Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

2017 Batting Champion: 
Luc Picard, Los Alamitos - .778 BA (7-for-9, 13 PA), 4 HR, 13 RBI, 7 runs scored

Pony-13 World Series 2017

Dates: July 28-31
Location: Whittier, California

Asia-Pacific Zone representative Seoul, Korea proved to be the most formidable defensive team through the first two days the Pony-13 World Series in Whittier, California. The Koreans appeared to be sailing smoothly to the championship game until they ran into a red hot Perris, California team, which had already picked up two close wins in the loser's bracket, and lost 8-7. Meanwhile, in the opposite division, East Zone Champion Johnstown, Pennsylvania, behind an offense that scored 33 runs in three games, advanced to the championship game with a 13-3 victory over Caribbean Zone representative Nassau, Bahamas. After winning the rematch (13-6) with Perris, Seoul used that game's momentum to propel it to victory over Johnstown, as two, four-run innings and solid relief pitching proved to be the elements for success in 9-4 win. Seoul's title represented Korea's and the Asia-Pacific Zone's first in the 13-year history of the event.


Championship Game recap: Seoul, Korea 9 Johnstown, Pennsylvania 4

After dispelling West Zone Champion Perris, California in an "if necessary" Game #13 Monday night in which Seoul, Korea won 13-6, the Asia-Pacific Zone Champions were pitted against undefeated juggernaut East Zone Champion Johnstown, Pennsylvania, who had outscored its opponents 33-6 in its last three games, in the championship game of the Pony-13 World Series.

But Seoul starter Lee Heon was excellent in his three innings on the mound, allowing no runs on just four hits and striking out four. Heon's shut down ability allowed the Seoul offense to build a comfortable lead, ultimately resulting in a 9-4 victory. It is the first time that a team from Korea has won a Pony-13 World Series title, and it is also the first title for the Asia-Pacific Zone.

The Koreans set the tone early thanks to a Cho Tae two-run home run, which scored Kang San, in the bottom of the first inning. A single by Nam Han and a double by Choi Hee set the table so Kim Hyeok could knock them both in on a single through the right side to make it a 4-0 Seoul lead.

Heon held the Johnstown offense scoreless through the first three innings of the game, as he only allowed two hits and struck out four. But the East Zone Champions were finally able to get on the scoreboard, when, in the top of the fourth, Tyler Mosorjak connected on a double to center field, scoring Colton Cornell (4-1).

Unfortunately for Johnstown's title hopes, Seoul went on another run in the bottom of the fourth. Lee Woo singled and Ru Taek scored him on a triple to center field to make it 5-1. Lee Woo hit a shot up the middle to bring in Taek, and after Woo stole second base, he scored on Seo Jun's single to center field. Later in the inning, Han singled home Jun to complete the scoring for the inning. With just three innings to play, Johnstown was looking at an 8-1 deficit.

Johnstown went to work in the top of the fifth, as Matthew Whysong doubled to center field, scoring Justin Myers from second base. and Jared Dowey scored Whysong on the next at-bat. Two runs were all Johnstown could get in the inning, as the squad still had a 8-3 uphill climb. Woo continued to do damage for Seoul, as he hit a triple that scored Hyun from first base in the bottom of the fifth to give the Asia-Pacific Zone representatives another insurance run.

The Pennsylvanians clawed to get a run back in the top of the sixth, when Aiden Rice knocked in Lucas Nicodemus from second base to cut the lead to 9-4, but they couldn't get to Seoul pitcher Bong Hoo to break the game open.

Johnstown had one last chance in the top of the seventh to start a rally. Back-to-back singles by Cornell and Nicodemus with two outs gave the squad base runners to work with, but Seoul reliever Kim Jae was able to induce a fly out to end the game by the final score of 9-4.

The win secured the first Pony-13 World Series win for Seoul, the nation of Korea and the Asia-Pacific Zone in the 13-year history of the event.

Stats (Seoul-Johnstown): HERE

Following the tournament, PONY officials awarded Seoul's Lee Woo and Johnstown's Justin Myers with the Batting Champion and ERA Award Winner trophies. In Woo's 17 at-bats, he recorded 12 hits (a double and a triple) for a .706 batting average, seven RBI, nine runs scored and nine stolen bases. In Myers' 8.1 innings pitched, he recorded a 2.52 ERA on just six hits allowed, while recording 11 strikeouts.

Pony-13 World Series Champion: Seoul, Korea

Pony-13 World Series Finalist: Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Batting Champion: Seoul, Korea's Lee Woo (.706 BA, seven RBI, nine runs scored and nine SB) alongside Tournament Director and West Zone, SoCal Division, East Region Director Steve Workman

ERA Award Winner: Johnstown, Pennsylvania's Justin Myers (8.1 IP, 2.52 ERA, six hits allowed, 11 K) alongside Tournament Director and West Zone, SoCal Division, East Region Director Steve Workman

Pony World Series 2017

Dates: Aug. 11-16
Location: Washington, Pennsylvania

The grand finale of the 2017 PONY tournament season lived up to expectations at the DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony World Series in Washington, Pennsylvania. South Zone Champion Brownsville, Texas' Marco Martinez's "hurdle heard 'round the world" to defeat Host Washington County, Pennsylvania 4-3 in extra innings finished as the number-one play on ESPN's SportsCenter. Additionally, Host Area Champion Youngstown, Ohio went on a sensational run, winning three loser's bracket games to reach the semifinals. But as they had done for the previous three-consecutive years, the Asia-Pacific Zone Champion and West Zone Champion rose to the occasion and advanced to the championship game. Seoul, Korea and Covina California battled to a 1-0 game before Covina tied it in the top of the seventh with two outs. In extra innings, Covina starting pitcher James Jimenez, who had pitched seven innings of one-run ball, proved to be the hero when he launched a two-run home run to right center to give California a 3-1 lead that it did not surrender. Covina recorded its third Pony World Series and record 22nd overall for the state of California, ending a two-year run by the Asia-Pacific Zone Champion.


Championship Game recap: Covina, California 3 Seoul, Korea 1 (F/8)

West Zone Champion Covina, California's James Jimenez rose to the occasion Wednesday night and saved his best performance for last in a 3-1 victory over Asia-Pacific Zone Champion Seoul, Korea in eight innings. Not only did Jimenez pitch seven innings and strike out nine, but he also smashed the go-ahead and eventual game-winning two-run home run in the top of the eighth to crown Covina the 2017 DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony League World Series Champions.

Coming into the game, it was the fourth-consecutive time that teams from PONY's West and Asia-Pacific Zones were pitted against each other in the title game, so fans at Lew Hays PONY Field were primed for a classic. Through six complete innings, it proved to be true, as the game remained 1-0 in favor of Seoul. Korea’s lone offense came when Kim Min-Hyuk doubled in Bae Hun-Jun making it 1-0 in the bottom of the first.

In the top seventh inning, staring elimination in the eyes, Covina's Hector Bautista saved the game for the Californians when he hit a shot through the middle that allowed Joshua Logan to score from second and tie the game at one.

In the top of the eighth, with Parker Miramontez on base and a 2-1 count, Jimenez crushed a ball to right center field that just escaped the park to give Covina its first lead of the ball game.

Seoul made one last effort to take the lead back in the bottom of the eighth, as three singles loaded the bases with two outs. Covina turned to Anthony Rasmussen, who earned a well-deserved save on five pitches, after recording a fly out to end the game.

Jimenez went seven strong innings for Covina, allowing just one earned run on four hits and a walk, while striking out nine. Jimenez became the 24th pitcher to win three games in a single Pony League World Series and the first since 2012. Lee Young Jun was very effective for Seoul as well, as he went five innings, allowing no runs on three hits, while striking out four.


2017 Pony World Series Champion: Covina, California

2017 Pony World Series Finalist: Seoul, Korea

2017 Wilson Sports Batting Champion: Nicholas Popielarczyk, Washington County (.667 BA (6-for-9, 10 PA), two RBI, run scored)

2017 Easton ERA Award Winner: Justin Naylor, Washington County (0.00 ERA, 8.1 IP, two hits allowed, nine K, three BB, three HBP)

Colt World Series 2017

Dates: Aug. 4-9
Location: Lafayette, Indiana

First time Colt World Series participant Netherlands stole the show at historic Loeb Stadium in Lafayette, Indiana. The European Zone Champions made a statement that they could compete against the world's best in their first game, a 10-run rule victory over host Lafayette (All-Stars). The team continued to steadily play even better as the tournament wore on, before advancing to the championship game to face fellow undefeated team, West Zone Champion Upland, California. Upland's solid pitching staff propelled the team to two of its victories against Crowley, Louisiana and Bay County, Michigan, and was looking to once again shine against Netherlands. But the Dutch's Luuk ter Beek put on a performance for the ages, going 6.1 innings strong, allowing no runs on three hits, while striking out two, as Netherlands won 6-0. The victory represented the Netherlands' and PONY's European Zone's first Colt World Series title and first PONY World Series event title, at any age division. It was history in the making for European baseball.


Championship Game recap: Netherlands 6 Upland, California 0

Netherlands starter Luuk ter Beek stole the show in the championship game and pitched one for the ages. He tossed 6.1 innings, allowing no runs on three hits, while striking out two and receiving great defensive support from his teammates. Jiorgeny Casimiri finished the ball game and only had to throw three pitches to record two outs to close out the game by way of a 6-0 final score.

The Netherlands set the tone early by scoring first in the bottom of the first inning, when Tyler Boersma reached on an infield single with two outs. Darryl Collins added a single to left, and both runners came home on Ruendrick Piternella’s double to center, giving the Netherlands a 2-0 lead after the first inning.

The European Zone Champions added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth, with Piternella got things started with a double to deep left field. Nolan Buegeling reached on a throwing error from second baseman Juan Garza, and Piternella came around to score when the throw went all the way to the fence behind first base, extending the Netherlands’ lead to 3-0. Leanardo Anasagasti singled to left, Mick Vos followed with a single to right, and Jeandro Tromp hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, which scored Beugeling and made the score 4-0. 

The Netherlands woke up their bats yet again in the bottom of the sixth, when Nolan Beugeling led off by reaching on an error by shortstop Joshua Sosa. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved over to third on Anasagasti’s single to left, and scored when Shuruengelo Mingeli hit a sacrifice fly to center, stretching the lead to 5-0. Anasagasti advanced to second on a wild pitch and stole third, giving Tyler Boersma an RBI chance after Jeandro Tromp walked and Denzel Bryson was hit by a pitch. Boersma came through for the Dutch, as he drew a walk, bringing home Anasagasti and making the score 6-0 after the sixth. 

Upland came to the plate in the top of the seventh needing six runs to keep its hopes alive. Ter Beek was removed after retiring Robert Lopez for the first out, and Jiorgeny Casimiri came in to try and finish the job. Casimiri was more than up to the task and sent down both Alfred Castaneda and Rafael Lopez to end the game and deliver the Netherlands its first-ever Colt World Series championship in the team's first Colt World Series appearance. 

Piternella and Anasagasti both led the team at the plate with two hits each, as Piternella also recorded a RBI. 

The Netherlands is also the first team from PONY's European Zone to win a PONY World Series event. Upland finishes as the tournament finalist in its first-ever Colt World Series appearance. 

STATS (Netherlands-Upland): LINK

2017 Colt World Series Champion: Netherlands

2017 Colt World Series Finalist: Upland, California

Palomino World Series 2017

Dates: Aug. 3-6
Location: Santa Clara, California

Every game of the 2017 Palomino World Series was a battle. In the tournament's first two days alone, five of the eight games were decided by two runs or fewer. East Zone Champion Youngstown, Ohio forced an "if necessary" semifinal game versus eventual finalist Santa Clara (Soldiers), California (3-1), and Mexico Zone Champion Tijuana, Baja California knocked out eventual champion Los Gatos, California's fiercest opponent, Santa Clara (Red Sox) 2-1. Despite leaving 28 runners on base in four games, Los Gatos' offense still mustered over seven runs per game on average with Batting Champion Emilio Nogales in the lineup. Defensively, 10 different pitchers saw time on the mound for Los Gatos and opposing hitters (.194 team BA) seemed to be off-balance with seeing so many different deliveries. Ultimately, the team shined when it mattered most, as Los Gatos won its first Palomino World Series in the 38th year of the event. 


Championship Game recap: Los Gatos, California 8 Santa Clara (Soldiers), California 5

West Zone Finalist Los Gatos, California used a five-run top of the first inning to set the tone and propel itself to win 8-5 over Santa Clara (Soldiers), California in the championship game of the Palomino World Series Sunday. It is the first time that a team from Los Gatos has ever won a Palomino World Series title.

In the top of the first inning, Los Gatos used two singles and a walk to load the bases for Angelo Zorn, who came through with a two-RBI single to right field. On the next at-bat, Nicholas Prainito gave his team a huge lift, when he hit a three-run blast to left field to give his team a five-run lead. Los Gatos would pick up another run in the top of the second, when Dominic Flocchini led off the inning with a single and Grady Ryan brought him around to score on a triple (6-0 Los Gatos).

Santa Clara's Ricky Martinez got a run back for his team in the bottom of the second, when he led off the inning with a solo home run to center (6-1 Los Gatos). The home run was the only blemish against Los Gatos starter Dominic Tognotti, who went four innings strong, allowing one earned run on one hit, while striking out two for the win.

Santa Clara was sparked by a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth. After two players walked and two outs were recorded, Blake Diggle came through with an RBI single to right that put runners on the corners. Martinez was then hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Then, Hunter Schilproort came through with a bases-clearing double to right field to get the Soldiers within a run (6-5) with one inning remaining.

Unfortunately for Santa Clara's comeback chances, a walk and an error, which led to both runners taking an extra base, placed two Los Gatos runners in scoring position in the top of the seventh. Then, Emilio Nogales cashed them both in on his single to center field, giving his team a three-run cushion (8-5).

Los Gatos' Kanoa Pagan shut Santa Clara down in order in the bottom of the seventh to complete the save and the team's championship victory.

Zorn and Prainito both went 2-for-3 with multiple RBI and a run scored for Los Gatos, while Schilproort's three-RBI double headlined Santa Clara's offensive performance. For Santa Clara, Stephen Grizzle pitched well in relief. He went five innings strong and didn't allow a run on two hits and a walk, while striking out six.

Los Gatos' title marks the 13th title by a team from the state of the California, extending the state's lead for most all-time titles by any U.S. state or international country. It also represented California's fourth title in the last five years.

STATS (Los Gatos-Santa Clara (Soldiers)):

2017 Palomino World Series Champion: Los Gatos, California

Palomino World Series Batting Champion: Emilio Nogales, Los Gatos, California (.667 BA (4-for-6, 13 PA), 2B, HR, six RBI, four runs scored, seven BB)

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