Championship teams have a knack of finding a way to win the close games. For the second day in a row, IMG (19-4) proved they have what it takes by defeating Chaminade College Prep (12-4) by a score of 3-2. Chaminade jumped out to an early lead but IMG was able to come from behind with the combination of timely hitting, great pitching and clutch defensive plays.
IMG failed to capitalize in the top of the first after a two out walk to Charles Sheffield was followed by a Max Foody single to put runners at first and third with two outs. In the bottom half, Chaminade to advantage of a defensive miscue and doubled twice, scoring 2 runs to take the early lead.
IMG answered in the top of the 2nd when Kirk Dirshl lead off with a single followed by a Hutton Moyer single to left field. Luke Wall laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to put runners and second and third with only one out. Dan Kennon did his part by hitting a ground ball back up the middle to score Dirshl.
Chaminade came right back in the bottom of the second with two baserunners of their own. A leadoff double and hit by pitch put runners and first and second with no outs. IMG catcher Luke Wall was able to gun down a would be base stealer at third base for the first out of the inning. Tyler Hesselgesser recorded his second strike out of the game and Wall gunned down his second base stealer for the third out of the inning. Heading to the top of the third the score remained Chaminade 2, IMG 1.
The IMG hitters went quietly in the top of third while Chaminade continued to apply pressure offensively. A leadoff double put a runner in scoring position to start the bottom half. The next hitter singled to right field but Tanner Pollack delivered a strike to catcher Luke Wall for the outfield assist. That play would prove costly for Chaminade as they were unable to push a run across.
In the top of the 4th IMG capitalized on two Chaminade miscues to the tie the game. A two out error put runners on first and third and allowed Kirk Dirshl to score a few pitches later on a wild pitch. Heading to the bottom of the fourth, the game was tied at 2-2.
Chaminade tried to respond in the bottom half with a one out single followed by a double to put runners at second and third with one out. A base running miscue plagued Chaminade once again as the runner broke for home on a ground ball to third. Third baseman Kirk Dirschl made a heads up play and was able to cut down the run. For the second inning in a row Chaminade was unable to produce a run.
A leadoff error allowed Eric Myskowski to reach first and Tanner Pollack followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Myskowski to second base. Charles Sheffield came through in the clutch once again by driving a hanging breaking ball to the center field fence for an RBI double. For the first time in the game IMG found themselves in the lead, 3-2.
Pitching dominated the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth as each team was unable to produce a baserunner. Chaminade would threaten once again in the bottom of the sixth but the defense turned a clutch 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
In the top of the 7th, IMG was unable to push another run across after a Myskowski double and had to settle for a one run lead heading to the bottom of the 7th. Dirschl took the mound for his second inning of relief for IMG starter Tyler Hesselgesser and recorded two quick outs. The next batter doubled off the fence in left field, barely missing a game tying home run. Dirschl showed great composure and retired the next batter to notch the save for Tyler Hesselgesser's team leading 8th win of the year.
Offensively IMG was lead by Charles Sheffield and Kirk Dirschl. Sheffield finished 1-2 with a RBI double and 2 BB. Dirschl was 1-2 on the day with 2 runs scored.
Tyler Hesselgesser (8-0) picked up the win on the mound, giving up 1 earned run on 7 hits, while striking out 2. Kirk Dirschl recorded his 4th save of the year, pitching 2 innings in relief.
With the win, IMG advances to the semi final game tomorrow night against the winner of Esperanza HS and West Clovis. The game will be played at Cal State Fullerton at 7pm local time, 10pm eastern time. The game will be broadcasted live over the internet by SportsNetUSA.net. You will also be able to follow pitch-by-pitch in real time on the IMG GameChanger website. Please see the link below for both options.