by Thomas Hoffman
MARIETTA, Ga. -- GA Power Baseball might’ve been new to the US Club Nationals, but the 12u team played like veterans in its championship matchup against hometown 643 DP on Saturday at East Cobb. Capturing the lead in the third inning and never looking back, GA Power secured its title with a 6-1 victory.
“We hit really well up and down the order, especially in the latter part of our season,” said head coach Adam Fussell. “I feel like that was a major part of our success. We threw the leather at them, played good defense and we’ve had outstanding pitching. It’s really paid off for us.”
Needing to topple GA Power twice in the double-elim format, 643 raced out to the start it was looking for, scoring a run on two hits in the top of the first inning.
While opposing early success would’ve rattled the cages of many, starting pitcher Reid Worley only got better as the game wore on. Consecutive 1-2-3 innings in the second and third allowed his team to go to work offensively.
“Reid is not going to blow it by you by any means, but he had some good action on his fastball today,” Fussell said. “He’s probably got one of the best breaking balls of a 12-year old I’ve ever seen. He did a heck of a job keeping the hitters off balance.”
Leading off the bottom of the second inning, Worley helped himself out reaching safely on a single. Three batters later, Ethan Weidner brought Worley home to tie the game at one.
Though Power’s second-inning scoring halted with Worley, coach Fussell’s squad would pick up where they left off in the next frame. With two on and two out, Samuel Ericson kickstarted a rally with an RBI double, scoring Alex Lepinski. Power would tally a second run in the frame to make it 3-1.
“They threw me a lot of fastballs down the middle,” said Ericson who finished 2-3 with two doubles and an RBI on the afternoon. “For me, I was just trying to stay positive all week long.”
In the fourth, Fussell handed the keys over to Jackson Bradfield. Equaling the effort of Worley, Bradfield set down 643 in order in the game’s quickest inning.
“I was mixing it up well,” said Bradfield. “Most of the time I was hitting my spots with my fastball. From there, I was able to mix it up inside and outside.”
“Jack is a gunslinger,” Fussell said. “He can throw it by you if you’re not ready for it. Overall, both Jack and Reid did an excellent job pitching to contact and didn’t try to do too much.”
Another two-out rally in the fifth inning produced three more GA Power runs as Vinny Pacini, Alex Lepinski and Seth Pettett all crossed the plate.
“That was a big moment for me,” said Bradfield. “I already had a lead when I came into the game but we got three more in the fifth inning, and that allowed me to go out and do my thing in the final inning.”
Bradfield did just that. Despite giving up his first hit, Bradfield shut the door on 643 with two strikeouts. Through three innings of work, the young right-hander gave up just one hit, one walk and struck out six.
At the end of a long week and through seven games in the Georgia heat, GA Power Baseball could finally call themselves 12u US Club Nationals champions.
“It feels great,” said Ericson. “It’s nice to share this with my team.”
“It’s only my second tournament with this team,” Bradfield said. “It feels great to know that I can be a part of something special. I think it’s great.”