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August 7, 2012 > NorCal Grizzlies 12U Black takes championship

NorCal Grizzlies 12U Black takes championship

Submitted By Mike Turner

The NorCal Grizzlies organization has once again brought home a championship title from Cooperstown N.Y. as 12U Champions over 103 competing teams. Many contributed to the success of this team including individual players and their families, but without question, a key component was Tom Graham's dedication to providing the highest level of training to all his players. Tom is the first to give credit to the players who are working hard on and off the field, preparing themselves for their moment, and then executing. He then gives credit to their parents, without whom, they would have no such success.

There was a strong possibility of playing 11+ games within five days in Cooperstown to claim the Championship. Tom recruited players from within the organization, currently playing on his AAA team to help; two players, a pitcher and a catcher stepped up. Just weeks before leaving for Cooperstown, the starting third baseman, was unable to make the trip due to injury. Left with 13 players to make the trip, that proved to be the magic number!

The NorCal Grizzlies were determined to live up to their title as State Champions - and they did. Throughout six games of pool play against teams from all over the country, they finished 6-0, outscoring their opponents 93-6, earning the #3 seed out of 104 teams in the single elimination tournament bracket.

In their first elimination game versus Vienna Slammers. with the score just 1-0 in the fourth inning, everyone was on the edge of their seats. The Grizzlies opened the scoring with five more runs in the fourth and added another seven in the fifth inning to finish 13-0 via the mercy rule. Primetime performers: Sam Novitske, pitching 5 innings of shutout ball; Zach Colchico-Greeley, with 2 HRs and 5 RBIs; Antonio Costa and Matt Mascio, both with a HR.

With only 16 teams left, Grizzlies lined up against the Las Vegas Slam. LV Slam took an early lead in the game, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. The Grizzlies responded and led 4-3 after two innings, winning 5-4. Primetime performers: Antonio Costa, starting pitcher; Alex Williams, closer; Sam Novitske, going 2 for 2 with a HR.

Grizzlies faced off against the Blue Springs Elks of Missouri with only eight teams left in contention. The Elks boasted a 49-13 USSSA record vs 12U, 13U and 14U teams. The Grizzlies turned to Matt Mascio, who threw five innings of shutout baseball, and was a big contributor in the 10-3 win over the Elks. Primetime performers: Alex Williams, Sam Novitske and Antonio Costa - all hit homeruns. Additionally, Justice Naraghi and Zach Colchico-Greeley with spectactular catches in the outfield.

Then there were four! Grizzlies next drew the top team from Alabama and overall #2 seed, Montgomery Dirtbags. They had dominated the tournament with a combination of great pitching, offense and remarkable defense. The offensive power of the Grizzlies, was more than equal to the task; 5 HRs by four individual players. Primetime performers: Alexander Pham, with 2 HRs; Matt Mascio, Alexander Williams and Sam Novitske with a HR each. Grizzlies ended the game early via mercy, winning 15-1 after four innings of play.

In the championship game, NorCal Grizzlies faced #1 seed Ohio Heat with phenomenal pitching and defense, only allowing 18 runs total in 10 games of play. The Grizzlies were up for the challenge as Tom Graham looked to pitcher Alex Williams to get the job done. With 11 strikeouts, and a defense second none, the Grizzlies thwarted any hopes Ohio Heat had about a victory. The Grizzlies outscored the Heat, never gave up the lead, finishing with a 6-3 victory.

Primetime performers in no particular order: Alexander Pham (C,OF,P), Sam Novitske (SS,2B,P), Alexander Williams (SS,P), Antonio Costa (3B,P), Ryan Rivera (OF), Matt Mascio (C,P,2B), Cole Coffey (1B), Zach Colchico-Greeley (OF,P), Justice Naraghi (OF,P), Christian Roche (OF,P), Zach Lockwood (C), Brandon Kinsey (P,1B).

This concluded the 12U season for the 12U Grizzlies Black, a spectacular end to its 24-game win streak. With a season record of 59-13, the 12U Grizzlies Black is looking forward to next season. However, this team, and this time, will always be a special moment and talked about for years to come.

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