EASLEY—SC District 1 (Easley) Manager Gregg Powell said his pitcher, Daniel Nations, pitched “one of the best games that has ever been pitched in this tournament.” Unfortunately for the Easley-area team, Indiana’s highly-touted William Coursen-Carr pitched a little better.
Coursen-Carr threw a two-hitter in a complete game shutout and 10 strikeouts as Indiana (the Central Region Champion) edged the Easley team 1-0, overshadowing a four-hit pitching performance by Nations, who played for Daniel High this year.
“We ran into a great pitching performance by a pitcher who is going to play Division 1 ball next year,” Powell said of Coursen-Carr, who will be pitching for Indiana University. “We were uncertain at the plate. You really have to hack early against a guy like that.”
Puerto Rico defeated the Philippines in the other night game 9-2 on Wednesday’s first game of Big League World Series at the JB “Red” Owens Recreation Complex.
US Pool Play: Indiana 1, South Carolina (Host Team) 0
Easley got the first hit of the game in the second inning when Will Hartsell singled to right field. But Coursen-Carr got the final two outs to end the inning.
Indiana threatened in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Brice Urschel on an Easley error. Nations was then called for a balk, moving Urschel to second. Grant Wilson hit a fly ball to centerfield that Easley’s Justin Allen made a diving run-saving catch to save a run and keep Urschel at second. Indiana continued to threaten in the inning, as Charles Sipe singled sending Urschel to third. Evan Vansumeren hit a fly ball to centerfield and again Allen made a diving run-saving catch. Allen was credited with all three putouts in the third inning.
“Justin made two great plays that saved some runs,” said Powell. “We knew he could play centerfield. He made two beautiful catches.”
Allen said he was able to see the ball well on both run-saving catches.
“I got a good read on the ball both times,” he said. “I had the angle on both (catches) and was able to make the play.”
Indiana scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Andre Jernigan singled and reached second on a fielder’s choice. Jernigan then stole third base. After Nations struck out Sipe, VanSumeren singled to score Jernigan and runners advanced to second and third. Nations ended the inning without further damage, striking out Jake Weber.
Easley made a run against Coursen-Carr in the sixth. Tanner Lollis opened the inning beating out an infield hit to Jernigan at shortstop. Allen reached first on another ball hit in the infield when Indian tried to get Lollis out at second. But Lollis beat the play and Easley had runners at first and second with no outs. After Trey Hayes and Ereven Roper made outs on the next two plays, Beau Strickland hit a line drive that looked like it could be a hit, but Jernigan jumped and made the catch to end the rally. Easley went down in order in the seventh inning.
“The ball was hit hard, but it was hit right at the shortstop,” Powell said.
Coursen-Carr gave up two hits and struck out 10, while Nations gave up four hits and struck out four. Both pitchers walked one.
The Easley team plays Cumberland, NJ (the East Region Champion) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, while Indiana plays the Southeast Region Champion from Clearwater, FL at 4 p.m. Thursday.
“I told the guys we could still win this with a 3-1 record,” Powell said. “We will be ready to play Friday.”
International Pool Play: Puerto Rico 9, Philippines 2
Puerto Rico, which advanced to the championship game last year and won the Big League World Series took a 2-1 lead in the first inning and added another run in the second inning to go up 3-1. But the Philippines cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the second.
Puerto Rico added five runs in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Phillip Ortiz was the winning pitcher for Puerto Rico, giving up two runs and one hit while striking out four in three innings of work. Mikael Cintron and Jonathan Morales had home runs for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico will play again at 11 a.m. Friday against Italy, the champions of the Europe/Middle East/Africa region. The Philippine team, Asia/Pacific champions, play again at 11:30 a.m. against Venezeula, which won the Latin American championship