Farmington Hills, Michigan – The iCASE Baseball Academy jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings, took their foot off the gas pedal letting lead simmer away, but were able to shift back into high gear to plate four runs in the final inning to edge the Michigan Inferno 8-7 in the USSSA Fall tournament opener. They were handcuffed by a crafty left-hander in their second game, being shutout 8-0, to finish day one with a 1-1 won-loss record.
In the morning contest, Nick Lannutti’s line drive up the middle scored Colton Gill and Brady Schnarr in the top of the first, and following second-inning singles by Jacob Babstock and Schnarr, Chris Iltshishin grounded to left to score Babstock, and Lannutti drove home Schnarr with a shot down the third baseline. The Huskies bats fell silent for the next four innings as Michigan chipped away and took a 7-4 lead heading into the final stanza. Ricardo Suarez dropped a single to centre to lead off the seventh, and Jules Herrell doubled to the right field gap to narrow the deficit to two. Following Yanik Leroux’s groundout that advanced Herrell to third, Brandon Whalen stroked a base hit up the middle to score Herrell. With two out, Gill drew a walk, and Schnarr came through with a two-strike two-run double to deep left to put iCASE ahead for good. Suarez then pitched a perfect frame to notch the save. In the second game, iCASE was held to just three hits overall, singles by Herrell and Suarez, and a double by Brody Higgs.
“We were thrilled with the come-from-behind win, and there is no question that the southpaw in game two was a quality pitcher, so I could accept him running through us the first time through our line-up,” said iCASE field manager/GM Tom Valcke.
“But baseball is a game of adjustments, and at this level of play, hitters must approach each at bat with a plan, a plan based on information you’ve gathered from your own at bat as well as from watching your teammates at the plate. Maybe that means moving up in the box and looking for an early fastball. Maybe it means being a little more aggressive and a little less picky early in the count and trying to put the ball in play to avoid falling behind and then having to guess what junk pitch he’s going to throw you. He was in love with his soft stuff, so maybe it means sitting on an off-speed pitch with the idea of driving it up the middle. There are many strategies to take once you’ve faced a pitcher like him once, and of course, you have to be prepared to alter your plan as the at bat evolves, but failing to plan is absolutely planning to fail. He should not have goose-egged this line-up.”
iCASE needed a win in Sunday morning’s game (Oct. 20) against the Michigan Arsenal in order to qualify for the semi-final round later that day. Their overall Fall season record now stands at 8-8.