MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Father McGivney Catholic came up with two runs in the top of the seventh to break a tie and take a tight and hard-fought championship game win over Edwardsville 6-4 in the final of the 26th annual USA High School Invitational tournament Saturday evening at the USA Baseball Stadium Complex in Millington, Tenn.
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In the semifinals earlier in the day, the Griffins won over CBC of St. Louis 9-8, while the Tigers defeated Pike County of Zebulon, Ga. 15-4 to advance to face each other in the final.
In the final, the Griffins scored twice in both of the first two innings to take a 4-0 lead, but the Tigers rallied with single runs in the third and fourth innings, then tied the game in the fifth with two runs to make the score 4-4. The Griffins pushed across the winning runs in the top of the seventh to take the championship.
Jacob McKee led McGivney with three hits, while Daniel Gierer had two hits and a RBI, Gabe Smith hit a two-run homer for his only hit and RBIs, Nick Franklin had a hit and Jackson Rodgers also had a RBI.
Caeleb Copeland led Edwardsville with two hits and a RBI, while Lucas Krebs came up with a pair of hits, Kayden Jennings had a hit and a RBI and Joe Chiarodo, Lucas Huebner and Riley Iffrig all had hits.
Kannon Kamp had the only three strikeouts on the mound for the Griffins, while Dane Keeven allowed only two hits and Mason Holmes picked up the win, with Ryker Keller getting the save.
Jake Holder fanned four on the mound for the Tigers, while Huebner struck out two.
Earlier in the day, in the semifinal between McGivney and CBC, Smith led the Griffins with three hits and two RBIs, while Drew Kleinheider had two hits and drove in two runs, both Rodgers and A.J. Sutberry had two hits and a RBI each, Franklin had a pair of hits, Gierer, Chase Kelley, McKee and Issac Wendler all had hits and Rodgers drove in a run.
Smith struck out six on the mound, while Keller, Kelley and Wendler all fanned one batter each.
In the Tigers' semifinal win over Pike County, the Pirates went out to a 2-0 lead in the first, with Edwardsville scoring five in their half of the first and two more in the second to go ahead 7-2. Pike County scored single runs in the third and fourth, but the Tigers plated five more runs in the third, scored once in the fourth and twice in the fifth to take the 10-run rule win.
Copeland had three hits in the game for Edwardsville, while Andrew Hendrickson had two hits, including a homer, and four RBIs, Iffrig had a pair oh home runs for his hits while driving home three runs, Krebs also had two hits and three RBIs, Cole Funkhouser hit a two-run homer for his only hit and RBIs and both Chiarodo and Jennings had a hit apiece.
Both Hunter Baugh and Alec Marchetto struck out two batters apiece while on the mound.
The Cadets are now 7-4, while the Pirates go to 9-11. The Tigers are now 8-2 and open their Southwestern Conference season with a home-and-home set against O'Fallon, playing at Blazier Field on Tuesday, then return to Tom Pile Filed Thursday, with both games starting at 4:30. Edwardsville travels to Weldon Spring, Mo. to meet Francis Howell next Friday, also starting at 4:30 p.m., then comes home for two games on Apr. 12 against Gateway Legacy Christian of Florissant, Mo., and Apr. 14 against St. John Vianney Catholic, both games also starting at 4:30 p.m.
The Griffins remain undefeated at 11-0 and play their next four games at Griffins Field, starting Tuesday against Waterloo Gibault Catholic, then host Staunton on Wednesday, Piasa Southwestern on Apr. 10 and Bunker Hill Apr. 11, then play the second half of their Gateway Metro Conference home-and-home series against the Minutemen at Bunker Hill. All games are set to begin at 4:30 p.m.
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