Four teams left with shot at National Youth title

Four teams left with shot at National Youth title

Four teams left with shot at National Youth title
MEMPHIS -- Elijah Cabell was a bit sore, but the third baseman wasn't going to let the pain stop him and the rest of the Central Florida Gators from advancing in the 2012 HotelPlanner.com National Youth Baseball Championships.

Cabell, who aggravated a groin injury earlier in Saturday's quarterfinal, scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the top of the the ninth as the NABF champions from Altamonte Springs, Fla., beat the at-large Dairy Queen Crushers (Conway, Ark.), 7-3, in the NYBC quarterfinals at Gameday Baseball's First Tennessee Fields.

"When I saw the ball get by him I took my big lead and just went home," Cabell said. "This is amazing. Nine-inning game. What a great game. All we have to do is come back tomorrow and hit a little better and we can win this tournament."

The Gators are one of four teams in position to win the 2012 NYBC championship.

Along with the Gators, USSSA champion Team Phenom (Moreno Valley, Calif.) advanced in its afternoon quarterfinal with a 7-1 win over PONY champion Sierra Valley Storm (El Dorado Hills, Calif.).

In the two evening quarterfinals, the Super Series-champion Houston Banditos Black defeated at-large Stealth Baseball (New Haven, Conn.), 6-1, and the AABC-champion So Cal Outlaws Black (Chino Hills, Calif.) blanked at-large Germantown (Tenn.), 10-0.

The Gators and Bandits play in the first semifinal game at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, while Team Phenom and the Outlaws square off at 6 p.m. Both games will be televised on CBS Sports Network with a live stream and stats available on MLB.com.

Game 1: Team Phenom 7, Sierra Valley Storm 1
As Team Phenom batters watched the first five strikes of the game get called by the umpire, manager Joe Keller implored his team to swing the bat.

In the next few innings, the players did as their coach asked, blasting two home runs in their victory over the Storm.

"They were being patient, but it was more 'fear patient,' not 'aggressive patient,'" Keller said. "I'd rather them at times be patient, but their guy was just throwing the ball for us to hit it."

Team Phenom began hitting in the second inning, when Joseph Perez led off with a solo homer over the camera 285 feet away -- and over the 16-foot wall -- in center field. Team Phenom added two more in the second, one on an RBI single by Diego Alarcon.

Michael De Oca doubled off the very top of the left-field wall in the third before Jordan Keller followed by belting one just a few feet higher for a two-run shot.

Game 2: Central Florida Gators 7, Dairy Queen Crushers 3
Central Florida's extra-inning victory came after the Crushers tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out bloop single by Parker Gavazzi, who advanced to second on an error and then scored on Cameron Tissue's single.

After two scoreless innings, Cabell hit a one-out single before successfully advancing to third on a single by Brett Wisely -- a risky baserunning decision.

"There was no doubt in my mind he was going" Gators manager Mark Roberts said. "He's so aggressive in everything he does."

"As soon as he got that base hit, I hustled and knew I had to go," Cabell said. "I saw the left fielder jog after it and I knew right away what I had to do."

Game 3: Houston Banditos Black 6, Stealth Baseball 1
The reigning-champion Banditos know good pitching is key to advancing in tournaments like the NYBC. In Saturday's quarterfinal, they received one heck of an effort from Brandon Porter.

The left-hander tossed five innings of one-hit ball and struck out 11, as his offense gave him enough support to advance the Banditos to Sunday's semifinals.

Hunter Watson and Michael Cooper each drove in two runs, while Alerick Soularie knocked out a game-high two hits.

"We made it one more step and in these tournaments you've got to be happy to get closer to the championship game," Banditos coach Ray Deleon said. "We're two more wins away from a national championship and that's what it's all about for these kids. If we hit, we'll win. We just have to hit in the clutch."

Game 4: So Cal Outlaws Black 10, Germantown Giants 0
The Outlaws scored early and often in their five-inning quarterfinal win against Stealth Baseball, and their hot offense was more than enough for right-hander Jacob Arellano.

So Cal scored three in the first and added four more in the third as Arellano allowed two hits and struck out six in five innings.

"He pitched a heck of a game," manager Adrian Banales said. "They knew the job coming in that it's win or go home, and they've been very good at that all year long."

Michael Sandoval led the way by going 4-for-4 with two RBIs, while Daniel Mendez also drove in two with two hits. Brandon Gutierrez knocked out three hits and scored twice, while Ben Petty-Hull and Sterling Hayes had two hits apiece.

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