Sports

Uptown takes its competition downtown at CABA World qualifier

Having already qualified for the Continental Amateur Baseball World Series (CABA) in Marietta, Ga., July 19 to 29, Uptown Autobody killed two birds with one stone at the CABA qualifying tournament in Redmond last week.

The South Kitsap-based 16U select baseball team swept its pool, which included the top three teams in the 27-team Mickey Mantle League.

Because Uptown already qualified for CABA, it treated its first two games against The System and Rudeen Racing as games counting towards the league standings.

It finished pool play against the Kirkland Merchants, a team that defeated Uptown in Port Orchard two weeks ago.

Uptown watched its 10-2 lead in the opening game against The System quickly turn into a 10-10 tie Sunday.

But Derek Abad’s two-run home run in the eighth inning proved the difference as it held off The System 13-11 in the extra-inning win.

Pat Kelly highlighted the game with a four-hit performance.

Chris Anderson had a home run, a double, and three RBI.

Cullen Hamm, Ian McClary, Aaron Cunningham, and Abad each had two hits.

Clutch defensive plays by Anderson in centerfield allowed Uptown to hold off Rudeen Racing in a 5-4 victory Tuesday.

Up 4-3 in the sixth inning, Uptown’s lead was threatened when Rudeen Racing put runners on first and third with no outs.

Rudeen Racing’s next batter hit a line drive up the middle, but Anderson made a diving catch and was able to hold the runner at third base.

The runner eventually scored on a sacrifice, but Uptown pitcher Ricky Kohlmeier induced a groundout and flyout to end the threat.

In the top of the seventh inning, Abad came through in the clutch again, smashing a solo home run to give Uptown a slim 5-4 lead.

Rudeen Racing threatened again in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Needing at least one run to force extra innings, Rudeen Racing had runners on first and third with two outs.

Cleanup hitter James Teague stepped to the plate and smacked the ball deep into centerfield.

It was then Anderson made what Uptown coach Lenie Hamm called one of the better defensive plays he has seen.

“As soon as he hit it I was like, ‘Please don’t go out,’ ” Hamm said. “The ball was drilled and forced Anderson into a 360 (degree) spin. He was right at the warning track and dove towards the fence. He was down a few seconds and we couldn’t tell if he caught the ball. But our rightfielder started shouting that he caught it. Everybody went berserk when he showed the ball.”

The momentum of that catch carried over to the revenge match against the Kirkland Merchants, which spanked Uptown 11-2 two weeks ago.

North Kitsap’s Kyle Howe pitched the first two innings but was pulled in a 3-3 tie with the bases loaded.

Kohlmeier replaced Howe and gave up a two-run double before getting out of the jam.

From there Uptown went on a scoring binge with 10 unanswered runs, including seven runs in the fourth inning.

Anderson continued to swing the hot bat with a two-run double and a solo home run.

Hamm added a two-run double and Abad had an RBI single.

Only the win against the Merchants didn’t count in the league standings since the two teams already played.

But it did eliminate the Merchants from qualifying for the CABA World Series.

Hamm said he didn’t mind eliminating teams even though it already qualified for the world series.

“The slogan at CABA reads ‘bring only the best,’ ” Hamm said. “I think we proved ourselves there. We also got to exact a little bit of revenge (on Kirkland).”

Now one of four teams remaining in the tournament, Uptown plays its semifinal game today at Hartman Field in Redmond.

The championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m.

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