The IMG Academy baseball program team defeated St. John's College HS (Washington DC) to win the Hall of Fame Classic by a score of 6-5. Both teams went 3-0 to advance to the championship game and proved every bit worthy. Each team scored runs in the first 3 innings of the contest, only to be slowed during the middle innings. Facing a 5-3 deficit, St. John's chipped away, adding a run in the 6th and 7th innings to tie the score at 5 apiece. IMG responded in the bottom half of the 7th with the decisive run to take the championship.
St. John's struck first in top half of the first inning. IMG starter, Andres Carrillo narrowly escaped a jam, but a 2 out doubled scored the first run of the game. IMG answered in the bottom half when Hutton Moyer singled with one out followed by a Charles Sheffield single. After a walk and strikeout, Moyer made a heads up steal of home plate to tie the score.
St. John's put another run on the board in the second with a combination of a single, HBP, and another timely two out hit. Find away to win the inning has been a moto this year and the IMG offense continued to find a way. Tanner Pollack led off with a single, followed by a Kirk Dirschl single. After a force out on the bases and a walk, Moyer delivered a clutch two out, 2 RBI single. Moyer proceeded to steal second base setting up Sheffield's two out RBI single. After two innings, IMG was out to a 4-2 lead.
St. John's responded as they did the previous two innings by scoring a run in the top of the 3rd inning. IMG tacked on the fifth run of the game when Dan Kennon drove home Pollack who singled earlier in the inning and advanced to third on a Dirschl double to left field, all happening with two outs in the inning.
The offense would go quiet in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings. Meanwhile, St. John's scored in the 6th to bring themselves within one run of the lead, 5-4. The next inning of baseball was something to see!
St. John's rallied in the top half of the 7th, putting the tying run at 3rd base with two outs. A ground ball up the middle forced shortstop Dan Kennon to his left where he made an unbelievable diving stab and a quick transition to his feet to deliver a strike to first base. The bang bang play at first was close and the IMG dugout poured onto the field expecting an out call only to see the safe call by the first base umpire!! TIE GAME. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. A would be on-field celebratory dog pile was halted and the inning still wasn't over. The team stayed composed and was able to get the third out with the score tied 5-5.
With the heart of the IMG order coming to the plate, the table was set for a dramatic walk off win in the bottom of the 7th. Sheffield led off the inning with a laser to left field for a double. After a strike out and walk, Joe Daru hit a high chopper to second base. A potential inning ending double play was in order, but the shortstop threw wide of the bag at first allowing pinch runner Austin Scotti to score the winning run from second base. Not the ideal walk off win that many had envisioned but a walk off win nonetheless!!
DOG PILE!!! Special thanks to Mack Meyer's dad, Paul, who provided the clip.
Colin Brown picked up the win in relief of Andrew Carrillo. Brown pitched 2 innings while not allowing an earned run. Offensively, Hutton Moyer was 2-4 with 2 RBI, 2 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. Charles Sheffield was 3-4 with a 2B, RBI, run scored, and stolen base. Tanner Pollack and Kirk Dirschl were both 2-3 with a run scored.
Hutton Moyer was named tournament MVP going 6-13 at the plate with 6 runs scored, 4 RBI, 3B, HR and 2 SB while playing an outstanding second base on defense.
Joe Daru was named Big Stick of the tournament going 5-12 at the plate with 3 runs scored, 5 RBI, and 2 HR.
Charles Sheffield was named to the All Tournament team going 7-12 at the plate with 3 runs scored, 3 RBI, 2B, and 3 SB.