Below is the article from Perfect Game located at www.perfectgame.org
In the 18U championship matchup, North East Baseball and FTB Tucci Jax 2018 rolled through pool play unbeaten and had to survive tight semifinal matchups in order to play for the title.
North East scored five first innings runs and held off Sharks Elite 2018 7-5 to advance to the final, and FTB used a steal of home to take down another of the FTB branch in FTB55 Tucci to win 3-2 in walk-off fashion to set up the final.
Thanks to a strong pitching effort from Jordan Schulefand and another big first inning, North East Baseball took down FTB 9-1 in six innings to take the title.
In the top of the first, North East Baseball had an early threat, after an error at shortstop, a hit batter and a wild pitch set up second and third for Derek Ripp (2017) bounced a grounder just inside the bag at first and drove in two runs with a triple to make it 2-0.
Ripp was nailed at home by FTB SS Kaeber Rog on a fielder’s choice, but a single by Ryan Ayrey and two more fielding errors made it a four-run first inning for North East.
Brandon Stone added to the North East lead in the second, with a two-out single to center, bringing in Esteban Cardoza to make it 5-0.
Ripp drove in his third run of the game with another extra base hit, doubling into the right field corner to make it 6-0.
North East kept the onslaught going in the third with three runs, including a Jared Pearson broken bat RBI single to center and a sacrifice fly by Evan Blum.
Rog put FTB on the board in the bottom half of the third, lining a two-out RBI single to center, bringing in Zach Miller.
Schulefand, signed to pitch at Richmond next season, had an impressive outing for North East, striking out 12 in the complete game effort.
He took home top pitcher honors for the event for North East, while Ripp was named top hitter.
North East, which is based out of New England, gathered a collection of kids from Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Kansas and Texas that hardly knew each other heading into the event, and head coach Jeff Sullivan feels like this type of atmosphere is one that these soon to be college freshman will be accustomed to when they hit their campuses in the fall.
“Something like this, they’ll remember down the line and stay connected with each other as they go off to college,” Sullivan said.
“We just mix and match kids that are done with high school ball, meet new people and just let them have fun playing ball.”
Sullivan noted that this particular group was one his favorites he has been around since he has been around the organization, and hopes that experiences like these will better prepare his players for what is next to come in their lives.
“That’s the best part of this whole deal, these kids will have to learn how to adapt to new teammates on the fly and come together. It really is a lot of fun for all of us.”