After an impressive start in the Hard 9 National Baseball Classic, IMG Academy finds itself playing in the semifinals tonight at 7:30 PM EST. What follows is a quick recap of IMG Academy' first two games of the tournament.
On Monday, IMG Academy sent RHP Brett Hanewich to the mound to face Cypress High School's lineup from California. Hanewich pitched a solid game to earn the win, giving up three runs and striking out three over six innings of work. Phil DiLandro and Mitchell Gallagher sparked the offense for IMG Academy as they combined for four hits and four RBIs.
The real magic came in the bottom of the 6th, however, when DiLandro broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI double to the left field corner. IMG Academy would not look back as they tacked on another run to take a 5-3 lead before heading into the top of the 7th.
Cameron Varga came on strong to close out the game by striking out two in his one inning of work for the save. IMG Academy beat Cypress HS 5-3.
On Tuesday, IMG Academy faced off with Baseball America's No. 4 ranked team in the country, Spanish Fork HS(Utah). Lefty pitcher Max Foody took the mound for IMG Academy while Hayden Nelson was on the bump for Spanish Fork.
IMG quickly took a 3-0 lead in the first inning and increased their lead to 7-1 in the bottom of the 5th. Brett Hanewich, Tyler Biggs, Mitchell Gallagher, Tyler Helphenstine, and Gus Polidor all contributed two hits on the day, with Helphenstine and Polidor driving in two runs apiece.
Spanish Fork would rally back with three runs in the 6th to make the score 7-4. In the 7th and final inning, IMG's Cameron Varga came in once again to close out the game. After two consecutive strikeouts to start the inning, Spanish Fork would string together a few hits and score one more run before IMG Academy finally shut down the rally. IMG Academy held on to beat Spanish Fork 7-5.
After the game, IMG Academy head coach, Jason Elias, shared his thoughts on the game through a MaxPreps Article posted by Kevin Askeland:
"We've had four different parts of our season and this is the last piece of the puzzle. Winning close games like this is just a testament to what these guys are made of. I don't know if nerves exist on this ball club. They just go out and play and treat the first inning like the seventh inning and vice versa. It's amazing to watch."
IMG Academy will be playing tonight at 7:30 PM EST in the semifinals game vs. El Dorado High School. As game time approaches, click the link below to follow the game through a live streaming video feed (scroll down to locate the IMG Academy match up).