Crushers unbeaten on first day of NYBC tourney

Crushers unbeaten on first day of NYBC tourney

Crushers unbeaten on first day of NYBC tourney
MEMPHIS -- Nine of the 12 players on the Dairy Queen Crushers have played at Gameday Baseball's First Tennessee Fields in Memphis before, winning the 10-and-under championship two years ago.

Now as 12-year-olds, they're back in Memphis and ready for a shot at another title.

The Crushers, from Conway, Ark., went 2-0 on Friday in pool play at the 2012 National Youth Baseball Championships (NYBC), one of four teams to make it out of the tournament's first day undefeated.

The event, in its fifth year, brings champions from the eight sanctioned organizations -- and four at-large selections -- to one location to crown the best of the best.

The other three undefeated teams through Friday's action all were organization champions: Team Phenom (Moreno Valley, Calif.) of USSSA, So Cal Outlaws Black (Chino Hills, Calif.) of AABC and the Houston Banditos (Tomball, Texas) of Super Series.

The Crushers, however, were the only at-large team to make it through pool play undefeated.

"Our goal was to go 1-1, at least, and make the top eight, so to go 2-0 is a good feeling," Crushers coach Scott Stroth said.

The Crushers and the rest of the undefeated teams, as well as four other 1-1 squads, advanced to Saturday's quarterfinals. Two of the four games will be televised on CBS Sports Network, while will provide live stats for all four games.

The first quarterfinal pits the Crushers against the NABF-champion Central Florida Gators (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) at 11 a.m. CT.

The second features Team Phenom against PONY champ Sierra Valley Storm (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) at 1 p.m.

The Outlaws play the at-large Germantown Giants (Germantown, Tenn.) at 3 p.m., while the last quarterfinal features the Banditos against at-large Stealth Baseball USA (North Haven, Conn.) at 5:30 p.m.

The second and fourth quarterfinal games will be televised.

The four winners advance to the semifinals at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, with the championship game at 6 p.m. on Monday.

The Banditos, last year's champion, rolled through pool play with a 14-0 victory over Babe Ruth-champion Upper Montgomery (Boyds, Md.) and an 11-7 win over Stealth.

The Outlaws came out undefeated after two close games. They beat the Gators, 7-5, in the opener, before beating the at-large Next Level Tornadoes (Plainfield, Ill.), 6-5, in the bottom of the sixth in their nightcap when Andrew Reyes doubled over the center fielder's head to score Dennis Hildebrandt, who led off with a single.

The Outlaws led early in both games before needing to hold off their competition.

"After they jumped on the teams they kind of fell back a little bit and said, 'You know, we've got this game,' but in a tournament like this they have to understand that every game can be a close one and they can come back," Outlaws manager Adrian Banales said. "Overall they did a great job doing what they do. I look forward to tomorrow where there's a win-or-go-home type of mentality."

Team Phenom defeated Dixie Youth Baseball champion Hope Mills (N.C.), 13-0, in its first game before edging Germantown, 3-1, in its final game of the night.

Two of the top individual performances came in the one of the first two games of the day when Stealth Baseball defeated Upper Montgomery, 14-0, in five innings.

Right-handers Tyler Day (three innings) and Nick Copenhaver (two) combined to no-hit Upper Montgomery, while Jake Mackenzie had a grand slam.

Along with the Outlaws' thrilling win in their nightcap, Germantown earned the lone extra-inning win Friday.

Tied at 2 with Hope Mills in the top of the seventh, Ryan Weathers singled to bring in two runs in the eventual 4-2 victory.

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.