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Jul, 2019

Aruba, Marion win titles at Pinto 8U & Mustang 9U International Baseball Classic


After two days of competitive pool play in the books, semifinal Saturday was when the rubber met the road at the 2019 Pinto 8U and Mustang 9U International Baseball Classic in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. In the Pinto division, Paradera, Aruba became back-to-back champions, after defeating previously undefeated Salem, Illinois 6-3 in the championship game. In the Mustang division, the Marion, Illinois Stars & Stripes claimed the title in a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Marion SI Bullets. Aruba and Marion matched up in a Plus Championship Game, but it was a runaway for the Illini 12-2 in five innings.

Pinto 8U Championship Game: Paradera, Aruba 6  Salem, Illinois 3

As the team with the best record and run differential after pool play and the semifinal knockout round, Salem advanced to Saturday evening’s championship game after decisively beating Herrin, Illinois 10-0 in the early afternoon. Paradera had to beat two teams (Mattoon, Illinois 19-4 and Panama 7-5) to match up with Salem in the title bout.

The final lived up to expectations, as Aruba held just a 1-0 lead heading into the top of the fifth. With two on and one out, Salem's Jax Schaubert singled home Drew Consotino to tie the game and put runners on the corners. Rhett Starnes followed it up with another single, scoring Jared Crompton, but Schaubert was out advancing to second. After Kameron Rasul singled, Will Vincent singled and Starnes scored (3-1). Rasul was tagged out trying to take third on the play.

With everything on the line, Aruba took the lead and never relinquished it after a five-run rally in the top of the sixth. With men on first and second and one out, Navimar Angela knocked in the first run on a single. Arthur Willems then came through with the go-ahead runs, when he smacked a triple, scoring Alexander Croes and Angela on the play (4-3). Javier Van den Berg singled home Willems. After a fly out, Jeazyonne Dania doubled to center field, scoring Van den Berg enacting the five-run rule for the inning, as Aruba owned a 6-3 lead that proved to be the final.

Kai Graham and Bentley Bryan started off the inning with singles for Illinois, but three-consecutive fielder’s choices ended the game.

Willems led Paradera at the plate, going 2-for-2 with three RBI, while Bryan, Zane Applegate and Schaubert each recorded two hits for Salem.

Aruba became the first team in the four-year history of the Pinto International Baseball Classic to win back-to-back championships for PONY’s Caribbean Zone.


Mustang 9U Championship Game: Marion, Illinois Stars & Stripes 4  Marion, Illinois SI Bullets 3

The Stars & Stripes outlasted the Bullets in a classic 4-3 finish to win the first-ever Mustang 9U International Baseball Classic.

The Stars & Stripes struck first in the top of the third, when Ty Hester grounded out, scoring Michael Lawler. The Bullets responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the third. With two on and one out, Grayson Liefer came through with a triple, scoring Karson Kirkpatrick and Cale Anderson. Landon Boyd brought Liefer home on a single to left field during the next at-bat (3-1).

The Stars & Stripes weren’t able to capitalize with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, but in the top of the fifth, they got a run back, when Kyton Hill knocked in Carson Blue from third with two outs. The team took the lead in the top of the sixth thanks to back-to-back RBI extra-base hits. Jace Smothers tied the game, when he doubled, scoring Latham Parrish from first. Mason Hilliard then gave his team the lead, after connecting on a triple to center field (4-3).

In the bottom of the sixth with two outs, Brodie Severin hit a single down the line in left field, as Jackson Potter attempted to take third from first, but he was called out on a close tag play to end the game.

Smothers and Hilliard were the Stars & Stripes’ leaders at the plate, each going 3-for-3 in the game. Meanwhile, for the Bullets, Liefer’s two RBIs paced the squad. Potter went 2-for-3.


Plus Championship Game: Marion, Illinois Stars & Stripes 12  Paradera, Aruba 2 (F/5)

The Mustang 9U Champion Stars & Stripes used 21 hits to score 12 runs and 10-run the Pinto 8U Champion Paradera, Aruba in a one-sided affair 12-2. After building a 7-1 through four innings, Marion completely took the game’s momentum in the top of the fifth, when it plated five runs and put Aruba on 10-run watch. Paradera got a run back, but it was too little too late.

Eight Stars & Stripes batters recorded multi-hit games, with Smothers leading the squad with three RBI.


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