By Connor Wiggins
The Cangelosi Sparks defense shined against KC Siege on Saturday morning, lighting the path toward a championship run at the 12u D1 Invite portion of the Omaha SlumpBuster.
In a 5-0 victory for the Sparks, the Siege only got two runners on base the entire game on two hits, anchored by an outstanding performance from Sparks starting pitcher Nate O’Donnell.
Surprisingly, O’Donnell did not strike a batter out over the course of the five innings he pitched, but he only gave up one hit and walked none in the game as he faced 16 batters on 56 pitches thrown. The only strikeout of the game for the Sparks came on the last out of the game from their closer, Chris Daugherty.
The Sparks’ runs came in waves in this game. They scored their first two runs in the first inning on a wild pitch from Siege starting pitcher Rex Holcomb and a sacrifice fly from Enzo Infelise.
O’Donnell retired the first eight batters he faced, but the Siege landed their first hit of the game, and the only one O’Donnell gave up, with two outs in the top of the third inning on a triple from Kyle Pearcy.
The Sparks got another run to the plate in the bottom of the third inning on the second sacrifice fly of the game from Infelise. Infelise had no hits, but led his team in RBI in the game.
Two more runs came to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning for the Sparks on RBI singles from Wyatt Wawro and Nolan Galla to extend the lead to five.
The Sparks had all the insurance they needed in the game because of the stellar pitching from O’Donnell and their perfect defensive effort. After giving up the triple to Pearcy, O’Donnell retired the last seven batters he saw.
“My curveball was really well and I was pounding the strike zone,” O’Donnell said.
The Sparks turned to Daugherty to close the game out, and on the first batter he faced, he gave up the second hit of the game, a single from Tyler Coffin. Daugherty bounced back and his defense was behind him though, as they turned a double play on the next batter he faced.
Daugherty struck Pearcy out to end the game and move his Sparks into the championship game.
Head coach of the Cangelosi Sparks, Benny Infelise, praised O’Donnell after the game.
“He has ice in his veins,” Infelise said.
“Same deal tomorrow,” Infelise added about Sunday’s championship game. “We’re going to hit the baseball. We’re a big hitting team and we’ve got all kinds of pitching left,” he said.
The Cangelosi Sparks will play a best-of-3 series starting Sunday at 9 a.m. against the same KC Siege team, which reached the final through the loser's bracket.