It was another June gloom day in Placentia, Calif., at the Hard 9 National Classic, but the sun did make an appearance. We caught two games at El Dorado, one winner’s bracket game and one in the consolation bracket.
The IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) was the first out of state school we saw in the Hard 9, and they did not disappoint. They attended the tournament last year, a season in which they went 10-10-1.
This year IMG has a senior heavy team and four standout players. Brandon Bonilla, Charles Sheffield III and Tanner Pollack all played in the 2010 Area Code Games last summer. Bonilla was on the hill for the win yesterday and Sheffield and Pollack came up big this morning.
IMG squared off with Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.) at El Dorado, in which IMG came out on top 3-2. It did not start well for the kids from Florida as they fell 2-0, but they eventually chipped away and came out on top.
Senior IMG hurler, Tyler Hesselgesser went five strong innings and settled down after a rocky first, when he gave up two runs. He battled back and ended with two strikeouts and pitched out of jams in the third and fouth.
Chaminade had a former Area Coder in Mathew Troupe, he played for the Brewers in 2010. Troupe, who can pitch, got the start in left field and went 2-for-4, including what could have been a big double in the seventh, that runner was stranded.
Pollack had a great throw from right field, which ended up being a big play in the game when he threw out Tanner Reibenspies at the plate. The Chaminade leadoff man thought he could score from second on the throw to right, but not chance.
Sheffield came up big at the plate late in the game. Overall he went 1-for-2, but the double he had in the fifth proved to be the game winner. With the win IMG moves onto the semis at Cal State Fullerton, tomorrow afternoon.