The following was written by USA Baseball on June 21, 2021.
PHOENIX — Top-seeded TB SoCal Easton claimed gold at the 16U National Team Championships Arizona with a 7-5 win against fifth-seeded MBA Navy 2023 on Monday morning at Peoria Sports Complex.
The gold medal marks the third as a program for TB SoCal and the first at the 16U level. TB SoCal won championships at both the 14U and 17U levels in 2017.
Jackson Freeman stole the show with a standout performance at the plate and on the mound for TB SoCal. Freeman collected three hits, including a two-run triple in the second, and tossed four innings of one-run ball to earn the win.
The 6-foot right-hander posted at least one hit in seven of TB SoCal’s nine games at the National Team Championships Arizona and logged a 1.101 OPS throughout the tournament.
MBA Navy opened scoring in the first inning after Kaden Hodson produced a sacrifice fly to plate Ryder Robinson. However, TB SoCal responded in quick fashion with two runs apiece in the first, second and third, and another run in the fourth. Dean Carpentier delivered a two-RBI single through the left side to five TB SoCal its first lead of the game and Freeman’s two-run triple to right extended the lead to 4-1 at the time.
Carpentier tacked on a sacrifice fly in the fourth to give TB SoCal its largest lead of the game at 7-1.
MBA Navy, who erased deficits in five of their previous eight games games at the National Team Championships, failed to go down without a fight, however. The Utah-based organization put a pair of runs on the board in the fifth thanks to Mason Thompson’s bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly courtesy of Jake Olsen.
MBA Navy cut the deficit to just two runs when Chett Wilson ripped a two-run double off the wall in left to make it a 7-5 game.
After Tahj Henrie picked off a pair of batters and put up a zero in the bottom half of the inning, MBA Navy brought the potential tying run to the plate when Crew Schenk delivered a two-out single. However, TB SoCal right-hander Matthew Hart sealed the win with a soft fly to right caught by Freeman.
TB SoCal Easton finished the 2021 16U National Team Championships with an undefeated 9-0 mark and outscored its opponents by a 69-21 margin.
MBA Navy 2023 concluded its time at the event with a record of 8-1.
Second-seeded Canes Arizona (7-2) captured the bronze medal.
- Kaden Hodson (MBA Navy 2023) opened scoring with a sacrifice fly to score Ryder Robinson in the top of the first inning.
- Dean Carpentier (TB SoCal Easton) plated a pair of runs with a single through the left side in the bottom half of the first frame.
- TB SoCal Easton extended its lead to 4-1 when Jackson Freeman delivered a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the second.
- Dean Carpentier’s sacrifice fly gave TB SoCal Easton its largest lead of the game at 7-1 in the fourth.
- MBA Navy remained within striking distance after Mason Thompson recorded a bases-loaded walk and Jake Olsen produced a sacrifice fly to make it 7-3 in the fifth.
- Chett Wilson (MBA Navy) sent a two-run double off the wall in left to bring MBA Navy within a pair of runs in the sixth.
- Matthew Hart (TB SoCal Easton) sealed the gold medal after he induced a soft fly ball caught by Jackson Freeman to end the game with the potential tying run at the palte.
- “It’s an awesome feeling to win a great tournament like this. Everybody on this team worked super-hard to get here, so it’s a great feeling to see the work pay off.” — TB SoCal Easton right-hander Jackson Freeman
- “We got challenged the entire tournament and we had to play our best to be here. It showed on the field.” — TB SoCal Easton right-hander Jackson Freeman
- “It takes everybody. It’s fun to watch the kids grow up right in front of your eyes and see kids you maybe weren’t expecting to stand up. We had to deal with some adversity today and these kids just didn’t miss a beat. We came out and were supposed to win this (tournament) and we did. That’s the way we look at it. We found a way to finish it the right way and find that mountaintop.” — TB SoCal Easton head coach Benny Bonilla
- “Jackson (Freeman) didn’t even know he was going to pitch today. We kept going back and forth and have a couple guys who are a little dinged up. He got us what we needed. The kid had a great week.” — TB SoCal Easton head coach Benny Bonilla
- The 2021 17U National Team Championships Arizona kick off with testing day Tuesday at Peoria Sports Complex. The first day of pool play is set for Wednesday.
- Stay tuned to @USABChamps_AZ on Twitter for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Championships Arizona.