The Scottsdale Dirtbags (a compliment in the baseball world) 12U Black swept through the USSSA Winter Nationals NIT by going 6-0 against fellow 12-Major teams. Not only did the Dirtbags win this important year-end tournament, but they also increased its unbeaten In Class record to 11 total games. Manager Eric Carlson’s team outscored those six opponents by a combined 56-28 to win their second USSSA tournament of the season.
The Winter Nationals 12-Major division featured nine teams, all from the host state. Each squad would compete in a four-game pool play schedule that spanned two days. Then based on record and average runs allowed per game, the teams were seeded one through nine. The top four advanced to a single elimination bracket.
The Dirtbags 12U Black began its tournament run versus the AZ Venom BBA 12 Royal who entered with a sub-.500 overall record. The game was closer than many might have expected as the Dirtbags won 6-4 behind three strong innings apiece from Spencer Halvorson and Cameron Jantz as Cameron Caminiti closed it out. In the second game against the Scottsdale Heat-Red, the Dirtbags took down its city rivals 11-6. Credit to pitchers Jack Elrod, Jaden Chavez and Halvorson who kept the Heat bats at bay just enough for the offense to pop for 11 runs.
After an eventful first day of nationals, the Dirtbags opened day two with a doozy of a game against the Banditos Black (15-3 overall). The Dirtbags pulled a mild upset over the talented Banditos squad 7-6 as Ryan Penney went nearly the entire distance on the rubber. He threw 5 excellent innings against a dangerous offense. In the last game of pool play the Dirtbags flexed its muscle versus the Warriors Baseball Academy from Glendale. They shut them out 8-0 behind Caleb Danzeisen (3 IP) and Sawyer Jungemann (1 IP).
After pool play the Dirtbags were awarded the top overall seed. While the AZ Nationals Red were also 4-0, the boys from Scottsdale had a better average runs allowed metric which served as the tiebreaker (4.0 to 6.0). The other two teams to crack the Majors Bracket was the Banditos Black and Arizona Fire.
The Dirtbags outmatched the previously 2-2 Fire in the semifinals. They won 9-5 and advanced to take on the other unbeaten team, AZ Nationals who dispatched of the Banditos Black 7-5 in the other half of the bracket.
In the championship game the Dirtbags’ bats came alive as they plated 15 runs while surrendering just 7. They handed the Nationals just their fifth loss of the season in 25 games. The Dirtbags are now 17-4 overall this season and unblemished In Class as aforementioned. Against those fellow 12-Major teams, the DIrtbags score close to 11 runs per game on average compared to allowing just 4.
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