October 15 - Chad Yates threw five dominant innings and was offensively responsible for six runs to power the Loudoun South Eagles over the Mt. Vernon Patriots Maroon, 11-4, in seven innings to clinch the 12u Columbus Day Tournament championship yesterday at South Run Park.
Yates did not allow a run until the fourth inning and surrendered just three hits while striking out five. He was pulled in the sixth after reaching the 85-pitch maximum for Griffin Burkholder, who closed out the game in the seventh.
“[Yates] was a dominating force on the mound,” Eagles’ coach Sean Lizama said. “We had him at the max pitches and he pitched well. He located his pitches very well. He is good ball player.”
The lefty then delivered the biggest hit of the game with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, driving a ball over the center fielder’s head over 270 feet away for his third hit of the game. All three runners scored for the Eagles, as well as Yates, who scored after an errant throw from the outfield.
“I was thinking at least triple and then just listened to my third base coach telling me what to do,” Yates said. “Lately I have being trying to go [the opposite way] because I think I have been opening my front shoulder. And just focusing on hitting line drives.”
Burkholder and Yates jump started the offense in the first as they both scored after each hitting triples. The Eagles took a 3-0 lead in the second after Ryan Pugh came around to score. Pugh finished the game 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored for the Eagles.
The Patriots clawed back into the game in the fourth, drawing back-to-back walks off Yates to start the inning, and eventually scoring a run on a pass ball and a RBI from Peyton Battalini. With two runners in scoring position, Burkholder ended the inning with a spectacular diving catch in shallow right field that saved two more runs from scoring.
“Yates is arguably the best 12-year-old pitcher in the area,” Patriots’ coach Greg Grahwick. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way they battled and that’s what I told them after the game.”
Patriots’ starter Jake Heller set down the Eagles in order in the third after allowing runs in his two previous innings. The Patriots then got three strong innings from Nicholas Griffin, who allowed just one run on four hits.
“Jake does a good job changing speeds and he keeps us in a lot of games,” Grahwick said. “We are really proud of the way our guys pitched today.”
The Patriots were able to rally again to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. With runners in scoring position, the Patriots scored a run on a balk and another run-scoring single from Battalini. Battalini and Alex Grahwick were the only Patriots to get multiple hits.
In the extra frame, the Eagles offense broke out as all 10 batters in the lineup came to the plate to score seven runs on four hits, highlighted by Yates’ bases-clearing hit. Burkholder then shut down the Patriots in the bottom-half of the inning to win the championship for the Eagles.
“These guys have played in a lot of big games over the years and they tend to respond,” Lizama said. “I was proud of the way they battled back after giving up the lead and put some runs on the board and then shut them down in the bottom of the seventh. It was a good team effort.”
Left: Chad Yates; Photos by Josh Belanger