The Arlington Country Day Apaches are one of the most dominant teams in the nation, comprised of top notch talent with numerous pro prospects filling their roster.
But the York Cougars wouldn't back down, showing grit and resolve in a 5-4 loss which proved that any team can compete with the best on any given day in the final second-round game of the Wheels Baseball Invitational tournament.
"This team has nothing to hang its head about today," said York coach Scott Kiggins. "We played a great game against a great team, and though we came just short, we showed everyone that we can play. We made a statement out there."
It was a statement that could have had a better end. At stake was a sot in the tournament's final four, with a match-up against Northwestern.
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In the first inning, top shortstop prospect for the Apaches Javier Baez demonstrated why he is a player coveted by all 30 MLB teams. Baez had an RBI single, a stolen base and a run scored to give his team a three run lead.
But the Cougars bounced right back with three consecutive hits, including an RBI triple from third baseman Darius Good to even the score at 3. The blast prompted ACD coach Ron Dickerson to pull starting pitcher Jawhan Silva, another future MLB prospect, in the first inning.
The game became a pitching duel between another prospect, Arlington Country Day junior Wesley Estrada and York's Stephen Hoffman. Estrada and Hoffman allowed just three combined hits over the next three tense innings, with Hoffman striking out four, until the fifth inning when each pitcher yielded a run.
The game was decided in the aixth when a sacrifice fly from Jose Marin drove in first baseman Edwardo Vaquez to give the Apaches a 5-4 lead which they protected the rest of the way..
MEET THE PROSPECT -- When opposing teams decide to pitch around Arlington Country Day senior shortstop Javier Baez, they do so at their own peril. Because two batters later they face senior left-handed slugger Austin Marzolph, who plays left field for the Jacksonville based squad.
Baez and Marzolph are projected to be future high draft picks in the Major League Baseball draft, with Baez slated to go early in the first round. The Apache teammates have been scouted by all 30 MLB teams.
"If I were to compare Javier and Austin's skill sets to anyone in the big leagues, they most closely resemble Hanley Ramirez and Jim Thome respectively," said fifth year head coach of the Apaches Ron Dickerson. "Javier is a five-tool player and Austin is a power hitter with a lot of upside. Plus they are great teammates and students with terrific work ethic."
YORK 4, ARLINGTON CD 5
Stephen Hoffman and Dakota Fitts. Wesley Estrada and Bryon De La Rosa. W -- Estrada. L -- Hoffman.
Leading hitters: York -- Darius Good 1-4 RBI, Jacob Ramsey 1-4 RBI. Arlington -- Javier Baez 2-3 RBI
Record: York 12-9, Arlington Country Day 1-2