BC Selects lose consolation final of Great Lakes 15U

 Team BC Selects 15U gather outside Wrigley Field before seeing the Chicago Cubs host the Tampa Bay Rays. Photos: Wayne Laviolette, Kumi Sugi.

Team BC Selects 15U gather outside Wrigley Field before seeing the Chicago Cubs host the Tampa Bay Rays. Photos: Wayne Laviolette, Kumi Sugi.

“Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
“Take a sad song and make it better
“Remember to let her into your heart
“Then you can start to make it better.”

The words were written by Sir Paul McCartney, were meant for his pal’s son, Julian Lennon were sung so eloquently. 

But they sort of, kinda of fit in the BC Selects dugout when they travelled to the Great Lakes Wood Bat Classic headquartered in the Evanston, Ill. area.

Hey Jude!

Jude Hall pitched a complete-game 4-2 win over the Diamond Dawgz in Game 1 of the tourney at Kerry Wood Stadium Cubs Field, a short drive from Wrigley Field. Hall needed only 74 pitches allowing two runs -- one earned -- on four hits, while striking out three. 

BC struck first as Connor McIntosh lead off the bottom of the second with a walk, stole second and third before scoring on a wild pitch. The Dawgz scored a pair in the third for a 2-1 lead. And the score was the same entering the bottom half of the sixth. Johnny McGill doubled to left, advanced on a passed ball, McGill scored on a Kenneth Sugi infield single, tying the game. Sugi advanced on a wild pitch and Logan Domanski dropped a perfect bunt down the third base line putting runners at first and third with none out. Thomas Baybay singled to right centre for a 3-2 lead. Sean Heppner hit an infield single to load the bases and Team BC would extend the lead to 4-2 on a McIntosh RBI grounder.

Hall retired the Dawgz in order in the top of the seventh to secure the win.

Hey Jude!

 Jude Hall with a line drive 

Jude Hall with a line drive 

* * *
BC Selects fell 2-1 to the Fastball USA Academy at Rockey & Bernice Miller Park on the Northwestern University campus. Fastball USA moved to 3-0, while BC levelled its record at 1-1.

Fastball USA scored in the first thanks to back-to-back singles. Conor McIntosh singled to right in the fifth, stole a base, made it to third on a Keegan Lott drag bunt. Then, Lott and Macintosh worked a double steal.

Jude Hall reached third after an error and with one out, coach Cam Frick flashed the squeeze sign.

Hey Jude!

Hall took off for the plate, the batter squared, but the pitch was in the dirt. The catcher blocked the ball and Hall was erased in a rundown.

With two out and bases loaded, the Fastball USA hitter worked a walk-off walk. Selects Braedy Euerby was outstanding on the mound allowing four hits while striking out six batters. 

* * *
The BC 15U Selects rallied to edge Force Elite 5-3 in the opener of their Day 3 doubleheader. And once again, the refrain was the same:

Hey Jude!

Coach Frick brought in Hall to pinch hit and he tripled home the winning and eventual winning run.

Force Elite, from the West side of Chicago, scored two unearned runs in the first and added a run in the second on a lead-off walk issued by starter Lott, who worked 3 2/3 innings only allowing three runs -- one earned -- while fanning six. The Force Elite starter was in full control inducing pop ups and ground ball outs.

And then came the scary sixth. With one out and BC trailing 2-0, Domanski dropped a bunt and scored on a two-out single by Baybay. After a walk put two runners aboard, Diego Colebourne-Urcuyo lined a two-strike single to right scoring Baybay and leaving the tying run on second and the lead run at first. 

That’s when Frick made the call.

Hey Jude!

Hall pinch hit, so Force Elite went to a reliever and hit the first pitch for a triple to right field, the ball kicking up chalk. The tying run scored and Colebourne-Urcuyo scored the lead run on a close play. When the ball skipped past the catcher, Hall broke for home to score too. He was mobbed by teammates sliding into home. 

Powell and McIntosh finished up on the mound.

 Left to right: Thomas Baybay, Jonathan McGill, Cody Hendricks and Braedy Euerby.

Left to right: Thomas Baybay, Jonathan McGill, Cody Hendricks and Braedy Euerby.


* * * 
And in the second game of the Day 3 double dip, the BC boyos dipped into their bag of seventh-inning tricks ... AGAIN. 

Down by three with two out in the bottom of the seventh they rallied to force extras and down by two in the eighth, they came back to win against the Illinois Indians?

Hey Jude?

We’ll see. 

Domanski started and pitched well, working six innings allowing three runs -- one earned --- on four hits and a walk, while fanning six. Max Yuen worked a scoreless seventh. 

Down to their final out, McIntosh picked up his third hit of the game with a single to left centre, Colebourne-Urcuyo did the same to right and Euerby drove a pitch fastball to the wall in right centre scoring a pair. The Selects got more when an errant throw allowed him to score on the error.

The Indians scored twice in the eighth for a 5-3 lead the 15U Selects had no intentions of rolling over. They were intent on making their third multi-run comeback of the day.

Oliver Para led off the bottom of the eighth with an infield single and McGill bunted for a base hit. Then Sugi did the same loading the bases. A wild pitch brought the first runner home and back-to-back singles by Domanski and Jude Hall gave Team BC the win.

That brought the BC record to a 3-1 in round robin play and moved the team on to the Silver championship semi final.

Hey Jude!

* * * 
Peter Caliendo, who often tours BC during the two-week spring caravan doing clinics with Mike Kelly’s band and is a fixture at the coaches convention, stopped by to see the game.

He visited with BC Baseball coaches along with Wayne Laviolette their team leader. During the game he talked to some parents about their experience in Caliendo’s home town ... Chicago.

“The teams seemed to be having a very good time, it was losing 3-0 in the sixth but came back to win and so far is 3-1 against some very good travel team programs,” Caliendo said. “I was impressed with the young men’s attitude during the game as well as their hustle on and off the field. Their shortstop made some very good plays and their pitchers did a very good job. They showed good defense for a group that has not played together that much. They were very very impressive.”

Caliendo said it was easy to tell the coaches have done a very good job in a very short time. Former Los Angeles Dodgers great Reggie Smith spent three days in training camp with the coaches and players.

“I could not of been more impressed with the whole group and it goes to show what coaches training, the caravan and all the long term development programs that BC Baseball has, does for the development of the players,” Caliendo said. “This team and group of people were a great example for all in the event on how to behave, respect the game and play hard all the time -- no matter what the score. It definitely showed because they never gave up and came from behind to win. They have represented BC Baseball and Canada with flying colors.

“So proud to be part of a great baseball organization as BC Baseball, keep up the great work especially at the grass roots level where you have shown to be the leader at this level in Canada.”

* * *
After scoring a mercy win over Woodall Academy Silver Sluggers Blue, BC headed on to the consolation final.

* * *
The No. 9 seeded Cangelosi Sparks White edged the No. 10 seeded BC team 9-8. BC Selects scored single runs in each of the first three innings as the sound was heard once again.

Hey Jude!

 Jude Hall on the mound. 

Jude Hall on the mound. 

Jude Hall started and helped himself with a run-scoring, two-out single in the first, scoring McIntosh who had doubled with two gone; a fly ball by Cody Hendriks in the second put BC up 2-0 and Hall singled to right field scoring Sugi for the third run. 

Sparks White scored in the third, then BC’s Lott hit a two-run single, Sugi doubled home Lott and McIntosh hit a two-run single for an 8-1 lead after four. Hall gave BC a great outing: one unearned run in 3 2/3 innings.

Yet, the wheels fell off in the fifth: four walks, a hit by pitch and four hits given up by the BC Selects had Cangelosi Sparks White score seven times tying the game. A double in the sixth drove home the game winner for a 9-8 decision.

* * *
Prior to the tourney, the Team BC 15U selects visited Wrigley Field to see the Cubs host the Tampa Bay Rays. They arrived early and walked around the stadium checking out all the shops before heading to the bleachers to find seats. The first 10,000 fans were given ‘’Turning Two’’ bobblehead dolls -- with Addison Reed and Javier Baez at the second base bag.

They sat in rows 2-thru-4 in the right centre made it on the big screen and saw the Cubs battle back after being down 3-0 after five innings to win 7-3. John Lackey started against Blake Snell, who worked five scoreless.

Jon Jay hit a three-run homer against Erasmo Ramirez in the sixth and Ian Happ hit a two-run single facing Adam Kolarek in the seventh. 

The Kerry Wood Cubs Field is a short drive from Wrigley in the Roscoe Village.

 Kenneth Sugi says thanks for making the trip possible

Kenneth Sugi says thanks for making the trip possible

* * *
Mr. Mike Kelly
Firstly, I would like to thank you for making this wonderful experience a reality. My trip to Chicago was magnificent for both the baseball and the city itself. I had a tremendous time. In Chicago, baseball was like a lifestyle when the other kids and I went to Wrigley to watch the Rays play the Cubs. The atmosphere was something else all the fans were so passionate the city of Chicago really opened my eyes for always staying passionate for the game. 

The day after I had a very memorable experience at the Kerry Wood ballpark where we would play 1 game against the Diamond Dawgs. This field was just like Wrigley all the field dimensions were identical. It was awesome. It felt like I was playing in the bigs it was unreal. Fourth day we had a game at Northwestern University. This was my first time seeing what a Div. I school looked like and the field was amazing and just everything around there was all baseball I loved looking into the stands I really felt like a Div. I player. Playing against the best in Chicago was fun and I really enjoyed it thank you 

Kenneth Sugi Westcoast Cardinals #3 CF