The STL Force 13U Major (pictured above) kept its perfect USSSA tournament record in tact this past weekend by going 7-0 at the KC Sports Memorial Day Select30 Super NIT to win its third consecutive title. Manager Sal McGhee’s club is now 13-0 overall, including 12-0 In Cass. They outscored opponents 69 to 24 in Kansas City over three days of competition.
The Memorial Day Select30 Super NIT fielded 395 youth baseball teams in 19 different divisions ranging from 14U Major 60/90 to 8AAM. All of the divisions had the same event format: pool play into a single elimination bracket. The 13-Major field alone was comprised of 33 squads from eight states.
The Force began its schedule on Saturday versus the Rawlings Arkansas Prospects- Allen who carried a 25-15 record. The Force won 7-1 which was a first indicator as to their true quality of talent. McGhee split pitching duties into two innings apiece from Thomas Gibbar and Brysen Nepute. Later they played their second and final pool game of the day with similar results. The Force shutout B45 Oklahoma 2024 6-0 behind five outstanding innings from Maloy Heaghney.
On Sunday two more pool games were on the slate for every team before the final eight teams advanced to the single elimination bracket. Minsky’s Orioles from Kansas has a 34-18 overall record and looked to present a problem to the Force on paper, but ultimately were overmatched. The Force won 11-3 and split pitching duties three ways: Jobe Smith for 3 innings, Thomas Gibbar for 1.1 IP and finally Bret Yager for .2. Their final pool opponent was Rawlings Xtreme-Gibson from Missouri. The force trounced their in-state foes 16-1 in a run rule shortened affair. Nazzan Zanetello and Dominic Sutton took the ball for the winning side.
Based on their 4-0 record and 1.25 average runs allowed metric, the Force earned the top overall seed out of 33 qualifiers. The top eight advanced to the bracket round and were placed right into the quarterfinals.
The Force squeaked out a 4-3 victory against the St. Louis Prospects in the quarters, narrowly getting by the-then 3-1 eighth seeds. In fact, the game went into extra innings and both sides had to play nine innings which taxed both team’s pitching. Brysten Nepute and Jobe Smith were exceptional, combining for all nine innings.
The Colorado Elite awaited in the semifinals having been unbeaten to that point (4-0-1) to raise its record to 29-5. The Force quickly reminded them who the top seeds were in a 16-8 blowout. The game was called after four innings – Jake McGhee went 3 on the hill.
The championship round was a showdown of two outstanding ball clubs with combined records of 31-8. Team KC (the seventh seed) put up quite a fight but ultimately fell short by one run, 9-8 to the Force. The Force’s other major title came at the Jackson Action Super NIT in Tennessee.
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