The Yankees won 7-1 win over the Nelson Baseball School 17s on Sunday afternoon during pool play of the World Wood Bat Tournament at Lassiter High School.
Rising Milton High School senior and Georgia Tech commitment Matt Phillips finished with 10 strikeouts for the Yankees while giving up no walks, one run and just three hits.
The Yankees, who are undefeated in pool play, came to his aid by quadrupling NBS’ hit total that allowed the East Cobb team to score four runs in the fourth inning.
The big inning allowed the Yankees to turn what could have been a close game into a decisive edge in their favor.
“We’ve been (very) aggressive at the plate and (put) better swings on the ball,” said Dansby Swanson, a former Marietta standout and future Vanderbilt shortstop. “We want to have fun by winning and playing (well).”
Phillips got stronger as the game progressed. The highlight of his outing was throwing eight consecutive strikeouts from the fourth through sixth innings, using a mixture of fastballs, curve balls and breaking balls. He passed the reins to reliever Will Craig in the top of the seventh, who needed just nine pitches to retire the side.
“When you get good pitching, it makes it easy,” Yankees coach James Beavers said. “I think 75 percent of his pitches were strikes, which was outstanding. He stayed ahead the whole day and worked the slider. We had good bats offensively and he did a good job on the mound.”
Recent Etowah graduate Tim Yandel, who signed with Tulane, was 3-for-3 at the plate with three singles. Rising Walton senior Stephen Wrenn was 2-for-3 and scored two runs. Cole Miller was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and Swanson was 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
Prior to the fourth inning, NBS gave the Yankees a battle.
NBS starter Mitchell Hammonds, a current pitcher for Kennesaw Mountain, gave up nine hits, but pitched well enough to keep the game within reach, especially during the first three frames. The second inning was NBS’s best offensive showing when catcher Patrick Smith, who plays for North Cobb, led off with a bloop single to left before coming home on an RBI single by Ryan Phillips. Afterwards, NBS didn’t get its next hit until the sixth inning.
The Yankees sized control of the game in the fourth, and they did all their damage with two outs in the inning. Their top of the order found ways to get on base and the heart of the order brought them home.
It started with a two-run single by Swanson that chased Hammonds out of the game. Chase Scott followed with an RBI double before Miller came through with another RBI double against the NBS bullpen.
“We had some good at-bats that inning, and they helped us a time or two with a couple of mistakes, and we were able to take advantage of it,” Beavers said. “That’s something we’ve been trying to do. If someone gives us a map, let’s try to do something with it.”
NBS went through two relievers before Kinley Craig struck out Will Craig to end the inning. Kinley Craig would go on to pitch a scoreless fifth and sixth.
The Yankees got on the board in the bottom of the first when Miller got an infield RBI hit on a grounder that bounced off the pitcher and dribbled toward third base. They added two more runs in the second inning on an error and a sacrifice grounder by Eric Knox.