ANNAPOLIS, Md.—For the fourth time in program history, the Maryland RBI advanced skills development team are Maryland AAU champions.
Maryland RBI held on in a nail-biter over AAU 19U Mid-Atlantic Wood Bat League conference rival and defending AAU fall wood bat state champion Pasadena Baseball Club (Md.)—though the final score does not reflect the close nature of the Saturday afternoon title tilt played in sweltering 93-degree heat.
RBI survived second, first-and-third, and no-out threats throughout the game while clinging to a precarious 1-0 lead and then a 1-1 tie through the top of the fifth inning. Surviving those repeated jams allowed RBI’s bats to finally explode against the Eagles bullpen, scoring nine times in the fifth inning to put away the Eagles 10-1.
A year ago this weekend in the 2016 championship, Mid-Atlantic power and No. 1 top-seed RBI struggled on the mound vs. the South River Seahawks. In one of the biggest upsets in Maryland AAU sports history, South River shocked the AAU Baseball world as RBI lost in the finals to the Seahawks, 9-5. The stunning result of the collision reverberated throughout the nation.
Like last year, its fifth trip to the finals in seven seasons, RBI entered the 2017 championship game again as the No. 1 seed and with the same pitchers, Garrett Corry and Scott Mudd available.
Corry gave RBI seven strong innings, keeping up tremendous starting pitching that helped win the championship, while go-to reliever Mudd kept warmed up and ready to come out of the bullpen at any moment to get Corry out of jams. RBI had Mudd ready to relieve in the winner-take-all game for the title but in the end he was not needed. Corry went the distance for the complete game victory and was selected by Pasadena’s players as the MVP for RBI.
RBI did not break, in large part because of Coach Chris Cummings’ unshakeable confidence in his pitching and defense—pillars of RBI’s long run in AAU Baseball in Maryland—reinforced with an avalanche of timely hitting on full display at Riva Area Park that propelled RBI to the championship.
There were several key plays. In the fourth inning when Pasadena grounded to short with a runner on third, RBI’s Jake Willis fired home to catcher Jake Fedorczyk, who applied the tag denying the Eagles the go ahead run, dodging Pasadena’s best shot in the game, and snuffing the rally.
The game was tied at one with RBI batting in the bottom of the fifth when Jimmie Gentry doubled off of Kyle Davis, driving in the go ahead run. RBI went on to secure the victory thanks to an improbable 9-run explosion in the inning.
RBI’s big inning was driven by a lead-off double by Gentry, a single by Connor Graham, a single by Fedorczyk, a 2-run double by Billy Albaugh, an error, a single by Willis, and a groundout.
Corry went the seven innings for RBI, surrendering one run, six hits, striking out nine, and walking none. Kyle Davis took the loss for the Pasadena Eagles. He pitched four innings, giving up six runs, five hits, striking out five, and walking zero.
RBI collected 11 hits. Gentry, Albaugh, and Graham each collected multiple hits for RBI. Gentry went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Maryland RBI. Graham and Albaugh each went 2-for-4 with a single and double. Willis, Graham, and Zach Gamblin each scored two runs.
The Pasadena Eagles had six hits in the game. Pat Blum and Nick Patacky each collected multiple hits for the Eagles. Catcher Jason Walls was selected by RBI’s players as the Pasadena MVP.