PITTSBURG, Kan. — West Texas Elite and the Southwest Nationals had themselves an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel Saturday afternoon at Al Ortolani Field on the campus of Pittsburg State University.
The arms were West Texas Elite’s Hayden Stevens and Southwest Nationals’ Robbie Schmidt.
Stevens and West Texas Elite came out on top and advanced to the final eight teams with a 1-0 win.
Stevens allowed one hit — an infield single by Rocky King leading off the bottom of the seventh — and only three Southwest Nationals runners reached all day against No. 27, including one by error and one by walk. Stevens struck out four on a day when he retired 21 on 77 pitches.
Schmidt was nearly as sharp as Stevens, allowing one run (earned) on five hits over seven innings. He struck out six and walked one, and finished with 78 pitches, just one more than Stevens.
West Texas Elite scored the game’s only run in the third and it all boiled down to execution, the fundamental difference in the contest.
West Texas Elite pieced together two of their five hits in the inning — including one by the bunt — and Caleb Heuertz, who had some big moments in the tournament, brought home the only run with a sacrifice fly scoring Easton Hernandez.
The Nationals, coached by former Seneca High stalwart Scott Elbert, won their first two championship pool games on Friday and dropped to 4-2 in the tournament overall after Saturday’s 1-0 heartbreaker.
Both Friday wins came at Wendell Redden within the Joplin Athletic Complex.
Brayden Nichols drove in a pair of runs for the Nationals in their 5-2 win Friday over Austin Wings Red, while Tyler Cotto worked three walks and scored two runs and the duo of Connor Burnett and Brady Bejarano each had two hits.
Burnett earned the win, allowing two runs (both earned) on six hits over seven innings and he struck out six and walked five, bringing his final pitch count to 117.
The Nationals scored a pair of runs in two innings and then three in the third during their 8-2 win Friday over the Dallas Patriots.
Logan Olson led the way with three hits and Connor Smith, Nichols, Cameron Porter, and Burnett each had two hits. Cotto, Nichols, and Tanner Thomason each drove in two runs. Nichols had a pair of doubles and Cotto tripled.
Cody Hobbs earned the win and he allowed two runs (both earned) on four hits over seven innings. He struck out one and walked two.
NOTE: Please see the Friday, July 27 edition of the Daily News for a feature on Scott Elbert.