Janesville 14s blank Bridgwater
GLEN ALLEN, VA.
Janesville manager Ron Kobs was not a happy man as he talked to his players immediately after their first game in the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series here Saturday.
He critiqued their base-running and their lack of offense. He sentenced them to windsprints because some of them were talking during the invocation earlier. He summed up their performance as “one of the worst games we’ve played all year.”
As the team prepared to start running, he turned to the players and said, “Oh, by the way, nice win.”
Whatever can be said about the performance, the result remained the same: a 2-0 victory against Bridgewater, N.J., in Janesville’s opening game of National Division pool play.
Credit the win to workhorse pitching from Nick Blomgren, who struck out five in going the distance, and a bend-without-breaking defense that kept Bridgewater scoreless despite the Middle Atlantic Region representatives having runners in scoring position in four of the seven innings.
The fourth inning summed up the game. Janesville held a 2-0 lead with two outs, but also with runners on first and second base. Bridgewater’s Eric Schnepf dribbled a grounder through the left side of the infield. Left fielder Charlie Platts snagged the ball and hurled it to home plate, where catcher Alex Marro pulled it down and tagged a charging Kevin McDermott with a split-second to spare.
“I didn’t really have a plan; I just threw it as hard as I could and hoped it made it,” said Platts, who also went 2-for-4 at the plate. “My catcher saved me.”
Janesville also escaped bases-loaded jams in the first and sixth innings, and Bridgewater left a runner stranded on second in the third inning.
Bridgewater finished with 12 runners left on base.
“Our guys made the big plays when they needed to,” Kobs said.
Added Blomgren: “Oh, my God, our defense was stellar today. They made good plays all day.”
Janesville got both of its runs in the second inning. Right fielder Logan Coulter’s single off the glove of the Bridgewater first baseman brought home Marro, and second baseman McCauley Cox scored when Brennan Olin singled to shallow left field.
Blomgren threw 131 pitches but showed no signs of tiring. Kobs went to the mound in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded but decided against pulling Blomgren. He repaid his manager’s trust by forcing Ian Anderson to ground out and end the inning, then wrapping up the win with a strikeout in the bottom of the seventh.
“He wasn’t going to let me take him out of the game,” Kobs said. “He was still throwing strikes, and that was the key.”
Connor Bowen also had a hit for Janesville.
Kobs attributed his team’s shaky start to nerves combined with rust—Janesville hasn’t played since winning the Ohio Valley Regional title on Aug. 3. The team struggled in its first game of that tournament, as well.
“It was definitely not our best day,” Kobs said, “but we did what we had to do to win.”
Janesville returns to action at noon (CDT) today against Southwest Region champion Brazoswood, Texas, which played host Glen Allen on Saturday night. That result was unavailable at press time.
A second win, while not guaranteeing a spot in the championship round, would go a long way. The second-place finisher in the National Division faces the third-place team in the American on Thursday, while the third-place National team plays the second-place American team. The winners face the division champions in Friday’s semifinals, with the title game that night.
JANESVILLE 2, BRIDGEWATER (N.J.) 0
Janesville (ab-r-h-rbi)—Bowen, 3b, 3-0-1-0; Olin, cf, 2-0-1-1; Blomgren, p, 3-0-0-0; Brandt, 1b, 3-0-0-0; Faust, ss, 4-0-0-0; Platts, lf, 4-0-2-0; Marro, c, 4-1-1-0; Cox, 3b, 3-1-1-1; Coulter, rf, 2-0-1-0. Totals: 28-2-7-2.
Bridgewater (ab-r-h-rbi)—Schnepf, c, 4-0-2-0; Anderson, 2b, 4-0-0-0; Izzo, 1b, 3-0-1-0; Capra, p-3b, 3-0-1-0; Spear, rf, 3-0-1-0; Bernero, lf-ph, 3-0-0-0; Albert, lf, 0-0-0-0; McDermott, ss, 3-0-1-0; Molinari, 3b, 2-0-1-0; Gokey, pr, 0-0-0-0; Graziani, p, 0-0-0-0; Baumbausch, cf, 2-0-2-0. Totals: 27-0-9-0.
Janesville 020 000 0—2
Bridgewater 000 000 0—0
E—Bridgewater 2. LOB—Janesville 11, Bridgewater 12. SAC—Molinari. DP—Janesville 1. 2B—Platts.
Janesville IP H R ER BB SO
Blomgren (W) 7 9 0 0 5 5
Capra (L) 6 7 2 2 5 3
Graziani 1 0 0 0 0 0
n Tournament results on Page 9B