Monday's Schedule

Semi-Finals Preview

Plus a recap of Thrilling Thursday

A Thrilling Thursday

While Wednesday brought plenty of controversy, Thursday was all about the exciting on-field action between some very determined teams. Every game featured a comeback of some kind including two ninth-inning rallies.

Beginning at Roxbury, undefeated New Brunswick rallied for 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 4. Chicago threw out the potential winning run at home plate to force extra innings. It took until the 14th, but Marco Melgoza singled home the winning run for Chicago who now advance to the semi-finals.

Later at Roxbury, Columbus built a quick 2-0 lead over Cleveland, but the Blaze came back with to tie the game and built a lead with runs in the 7th and 9th innings. As in the earlier game, Columbus rallied for 2 in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. In the top of the 11th, Cleveland put four runs across the plate and held on to win 8-4.

Finally, at the Point Stadium in the morning, the Zanesville Junior Pioneers pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament with a 4-2 victory over defending champions New Orleans. The Boosters lead 1-0 after the first inning but Zanesville kept it close and tied the game in the fifth on Dylan McDermott's triple. In the sixth, the Juniors took their first lead with 2 runs. New Orleans answered with a single run in the bottom of the inning and continued to get men on base but could not bring anyone else home. Zanesville added on more in the 7th to set the final.

Prior to this game, Zanesville was 1-12 against New Orleans and has been outscored 26-120 in those thirteen games. The only win was back in 1957 in a 9-3 win at Point Stadium. This is the first time since 2009 that Zanesville has won 2 games in the tournament. It is also the first time since 1998 that New Orleans has lost back-to-back games in a single tournament. Under the old bracket system, Zanesville would have never even played this game since they already had two loses in the tournament. Instead, fans were treated to a very exciting nail-biter and the Junior Pioneers will finish in the Top 4 for only the 2nd time and first since 1973.

In the nightcap, Brooklyn jumped out to a 5-0 lead through three innings to quiet the hometown crowd, but Flood City's Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors rallied for 3 in the third and 5 in the fourth and 2 in the fifth to jump into the lead. With the score 13-5 in favor of the Johnstown side, Brooklyn rallied for 5 runs in the eighth to pull within 13-10, but the Carpenters got 3 back to finish the game with a 16-10 win. Brooklyn had only 8 hits and Johnstown had 14, but both teams committed 5 errors during the game.

Chicago versus Zanesville

Chicago-Metropolitan and Zanesville have only played one prior game against each other. The Windy Citys won that one 14-9 at Point Stadium on August 15th,1989 during the expanded brackets of the Flood Anniversary tournament. Chicago has scored 21 runs and allowed 15 in this year's tournament. They are 3-1 with wins over Buffalo, Altoona, and New Brunswick and a loss to New Orleans. Zanesville has scored 14 runs and allowed 13 in this year's tournament. They are 2-2 with wins over Livonia and New Orleans but loses to New Brunswick and New York.

Chicago has finished in the Top 4 four previous times, with two trips to the finals, and one national championship. In 2006, the Glen Ellyn Jam lost opening night against Johnstown, but rallied off 5 consecutive wins including an upset of Baltimore on Saturday morning to reach the finals. Baltimore won the championship 5-3, however, which was their fourth championship in a row. They are represented this year by the Illinois Indians who are making their first appearance in Johnstown. They finished their Metro Collegiate League season in first place of the East Division with a 23-6 record.

Zanesville's only other Top Four finish was in 1973. They have won 3 games in the tournament only 4 times, most recently in 2008, and last won back-to-back tournament games in 2009. Dave Balo is in his second year coaching the team after long-time manager Doug Pollock retired in 2014. The Pioneers failed to advance past regionals last year. This year, the finished their regular season with a 28-6 record.

Flood City versus Cleveland

Cleveland and Flood City have never played against each other. (For the uninitiated, Flood City is the nickname we use for Johnstown's runner-up entry in the tournament because it's shorter to write and provides some consistency from year to year.) If you look at Johnstown teams overall, then Johnstown has won 4 of 6 against Cleveland. The last game was when Johnstown's Delweld eliminated the Chardon Blizzard in 2013. Cleveland's wins came in 1982 and 2011. This year, Cleveland has scored 23 runs and allowed 13 to earn a 3-1 record. They have wins against Johnstown (Martella's Pharmacy), Baltimore, and Columbus. Their only loss this year was to Brooklyn on Monday. Flood City has a 3-1 record, as well, with 28 runs scored and 17 runs against. They beat Philadelphia, Youngstown, and Brooklyn with a loss to Columbus.

Blaze Baseball is the Cleveland representative for the second consecutive year. They unofficially had a 17-4 record coming into the tournament. Prior to them, the Chardon Blizzard had three years finishing in the Top 4, including a runner-up effort in 2012. That year, the Blizzard upset Baltimore to remain undefeated at 5-0 but lost a double-header to champions New Brunswick. The Ohio franchise was 25-38 coming into this year's tournament.

Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors are the runner-up entry for Johnstown this year after losing to Martella's Pharmacy in the playoffs. PCCA had placed third in the Johnstown Junior League with a 16-16 record before upsetting Laurel Auto Group in the semi-finals. This club had previously played in the national tournament under the name Berkley Hills Renegades but were eliminated in only two games. This is their second trip to the national tournament. The Flood City entry is 11-16 coming into this year. Their best finish was Delweld's 5th place in 2011. Overall, Johnstown entries are 145-158 including this year with 6 national runner-ups but still no tournament championships.

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