Bakersfield Trims Southern Tier, But Jackson Impressive
Host team Southern Tier had its journey at this year’s Babe Ruth 16-18 World Series come to an end on Wednesday evening, as Bakersfield, California came out on top of a defensive, pitcher’s battle with a 3-0 win.
Kaidin Conrad hurled his way through all seven innings for the winners, finishing with 10 strikeouts and four walks while holding the hosts to just one hit.
“I think maybe one thing that he was successful with was being just wild enough to not be predictable,” said Southern Tier manager Jay Grann. “He went deeper into some counts and then he battled himself back. We didn’t hit him very hard all day. That’s just the way it goes, I guess.”
Starting hurler Bryce Jackson was just as strong on the hill for Southern Tier, striking out six, scattering seven hits with no walks while carrying a shutout through five innings.
A double to left center field from Andres Garza and a single from Elijah Pascual saw Bakersfield place runners in scoring position in that inning, paving the way for Jalen Smith’s two-RBI single.
While Garza scored with ease on the play, Pascual was able to make his way home after taking advantage of some confusion in the Southern Tier infield.
“Our boys manned up and that’s the baseball we know how to play. In tight situations when the pressure comes we’re able to get through it,” said Brum. “Kaidin Conrad is one of our boys. He’s a horse and he does not give in. (He’s) a very good competitor and tonight he threw one hell of a game. He came in, did his job, made his pitches and he was on. His location was phenomenal.”
While Brum knew that his team had the right stuff to put some runs on the board entering this tournament, there is no doubt that Jackson’s performance on Wednesday offered some fits for the Bakersfield manager.
“That pitcher was incredible for the kid to be only 16,” said Brum, shortly after speaking with Jackson. “He had our number the whole game. We were able to find some holes and kind of make some stuff happen, but he pitched his darn butt off. That is one heck of a ballplayer and their is nothing against that kid. (You) can’t take anything from him. He’s going to be very successful in his future.”
Brock Conn had an opportunity to pick up a run for the hosts in the second inning, starting off with a walk and then stealing second base. Sitting on third, Conn looked to take advantage of some misdirection as teammate Andrew Pumford made off for second base on an attempted steal. Bakersfield was wise to the tactic, with Conn being tossed out just before making his way home.
Southern Tier did not have the benefit of baserunning success in the loss, as Reid Tarnowski was tossed out trying to leg out a triple in the opening frame.
While the hosts were unable to push through the week’s pool play, Southern Tier will be able to look back on the tournament with fond memories of competitive games.
“It was a fun week. The kids had a fun time, coaches had a fun time,” said Grann. “Aside from that, I think we just showed that we can play with anybody from across the country, from Boston to Bakersfield and everywhere in between. We put up a fight against everybody and won a game here, so I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”