West End Breezes To Easy Victory

Cam Pardoe of West End slides safely into third base in Game 21. P-J photo by Lisa Monacelli

Entering the second week of a schedule that includes time spent traveling, practicing and organizing–never mind actually playing competitive baseball–teams at the Babe Ruth World Series begin to experience fatigue at this point.

The toll exacted from that workload was one that truly concerned West End, Pa. manager Tory Shimp heading into the first day of single-elimination play on Thursday, but in the end his team looked as sharp as it has all week on the way to a dominant 11-1 win over Northern Fairfax County, Virginia at Diethrick Park.

“The hard thing is you are staying away from home. We’ve been on the road for 10 days now,” said Shimp following the win. “The kids are tired. I could see it this morning and I was concerned, but they came out and proved me wrong.”

Shimp’s observation certainly serves as a testament to how well the manager knows his team, because West End appeared to be firing on all cylinders early on in their quarterfinal win.

The Middle Atlantic Region representatives used an error, some slick baserunning from Cam Pardoe, and an RBI single from Isaac Snyder to break open the scoring in the very first inning.

Northern Fairfax County secondbasemanRyan Hodinko fields a grounder during Game 21. P-J photo by Lisa Monacelli

Northern Fairfax was unable to stop the bleeding from that early cut, as West End returned to the middle of its order in the second, taking the Southeast champions for eight runs on the back of some hot hitting and more errors.

After Ryan Jolin cracked a double, Logan Edmunds reached first on a throwing error that ended up plating Jolin for the 2-0 lead. The remaining highlights included a bases-clearing double from Quinten Brown, an RBI single by Cody Shimp, and a pair of walked-in runs as Fairfax turned to help from its bullpen.

“We’re really excited about that,” Shimp said of the inning. “We were a little sluggish this morning at practice and a little tired. I was a little concerned about our bats, but we hit some hard balls in the first couple of innings and took advantage of some of their mistakes. So that was great to get out in front and then let Isaac take over. He did a great job. The curveball was really nasty today and he really led us at the plate and on the mound.”

Snyder would throw through all five innings before play was called because of the 10-run rule, striking out nine and walking four.

When it comes to having his pitchers ready to go at the most crucial point of the tournament, Shimp knows that planning is going to be key. Quarterfinal contests like Thursday’s offer managers a dangerous option–start your best hurler and have the best chance to move on or attempt to save your best arm for the semis.

“We knew coming in when we looked at our pool play and how it laid out with our day off,” said Shimp. “We generally roll Isaac out as our number one pitcher, Trip (Breen) comes out number two and Tanner (Esposito) number three. So that fourth game what we were going to do — Logan Edmunds is fantastic –he was going to be our starter for that. But if we won the first two we knew Isaac would be available for this game, and we knew Trip would be available for Friday and then we knew we have Tanner coming back for Saturday.”

Helping Shimp’s ability to plan ahead for this stage of the game was a bevy of talented relievers that the West End manager knew would be available if and when his starters got into trouble.

Today West End will hope to upset top-ranked Charleston, Missouri at 5 p.m. to decide the winner of the American Division.

“I’ve seen them play a couple times. They’re pretty fast, pretty big, can hit, run,” said Shimp. “So we’re hoping we can stay in the game with them until the seventh inning and maybe squeak one out. I can tell you the Virginia kids, I haven’t seen a team have as much fun as they did, they had a great time. They were having a blast and I hope they have a safe trip home.”